Using Dictionaries In Examinations

Exam Calculators and DictionariesUniversity examination regulations permit the use of translation dictionaries in examinations if your first language is not English. Translation dictionaries must be from your native language to English, or from English to your native language.

Only simple, generic translation dictionaries will be approved. Subject-specific, technical dictionaries and encyclopedias will not be approved. Library copies of dictionaries will not be approved. Before purchasing, please bear in mind that dictionaries should not include the following material:

  • Thesauruses
  • Synonyms
  • Images, Graphs or Charts
  • Maps
  • Measurements
  • Technical Data

You may have more than one dictionary approved, but you may only take one into an examination. If a dictionary is published in two separate volumes, you may take both. For example, if your dictionary has one volume Greek/English and the other English/Greek by the same publisher, these two volumes would be permitted.

Approved Dictionaries

All dictionaries will be approved on an individual basis, but the following are usually permitted

  • Collins Essential
  • Collins Essential - Gem editions
  • Oxford Mini
  • Oxford Compact
  • Pocket Oxford Chinese
  • Bilingual Dictionaries Inc. - Word to Word

Prohibited Dictionaries

"Advanced Learners" dictionaries (such as those published by Longmans, Collins or Oxford University Press) are not permitted for use in examinations.

Checking your dictionary

Approval for dictionaries is obtained from the Student Services Information Desk (SSiD) in the Students' Union Building. A sticker will be added to any dictionary that is permitted for use in examinations.

You must ensure that the approved dictionary does not contain any hand-written notes, book marks or additional pieces of paper. All approved dictionaries must be presented to an invigilator for checking before the start of every examination.  Do not use borrowed dictionaries in examinations as you will be held responsible if the material is confiscated under the regulations.

SSiD is responsible for issuing approval stickers and authorising dictionaries for use in examinations.  SSiD is NOT responsible for the unauthorised use of approved material.  If you introduce a dictionary to an exam and it is confiscated under University regulations, you will be held fully responsible. 

Extract from the University Examination Regulations

5.   A candidate whose first language is not English may use a dictionary during examinations, provided that:

  1. the candidate presents the dictionary, together with the written authority for inspection of the Chief Invigilator at the beginning of each examination in which the dictionary is to be used.
  2. electronic dictionaries may not be used in invigilated examinations.