Examinations FAQ

Take a look below to find the answers to the most common Examinations questions.



How does Arbor manage my basedata?

Arbor downloads exam data from the Ofqual database every night and automatically loads most exam board basedata into your MIS. This means that you can add any qualification or unit recognised in the UK with a QAN (Qualification Accreditation Number).

Why? We do this so that we can offer a common set of data; all exam dates, entry codes, Award/Unit structures, cache in codes and accreditation data is managed by Arbor. We let Arbor do all the hard work with basedata, so there is no need to import old basedata and manipulate it.

EXCEPTION: If your qualification is a Pearson BTEC, we can't automatically scrape this data. Instead, you'll need to send us your centre-specific data to myteam@arbor-education.com

Why can't I find the qualification or unit to add?

When you add the qualification or unit to your Qualification Offering, make sure you search in the box for the QAN code or the name. You won't be able to search using the short code.

Why isn’t my qualification listed in Arbor?

It’s very rare that we don’t have a qualification listed in Arbor. If the qualification isn’t in the Ofqual database, then it’s likely non-accredited qualification. 

How do Key Skills qualifications work in Arbor?

As long as the qualification is listed in the Ofqual database, we can support it. Key Skills qualifications can often be re-sat multiple times throughout the year. We support this as long as the exam board’s basedata allows for this.

If you're having difficulty adding your Key Skills qualifications, please contact the Customer Success Team.  

The Series is missing from this qualification, what should I do?

In most cases, this is because the exam board hasn’t released the exam date yet. Exam boards often release basedata in parts so you may have to wait for the data to become available. 

What is a non-EDI qualification?

This is a qualification that doesn’t use EDI files for basedata and entries. Non-EDI qualifications only exist in the Ofqual database. Most (but not all) non-EDI qualifications are vocational. 

Do I need to load qualification offerings into Arbor?

Yes, this can be done through the ‘Qualification Offering’ page

Why are the awards/units greyed out when you go into qualification offering?

This happens when there are students provisionally entered into the award or unit. To unsubscribe to the award/unit, please ensure that all students have been withdrawn from the award/unit.

What happens if students are only entered into the units and not the award?

If students aren't entered into an Award, they won’t get their qualification at the end of the academic year. Sometimes students are entered into units over a number of years, with the award entry coming at the end of their time in school. Please make sure you enter students into the award as well as the units.

Why should I enter students into an award and unit?

The award is the over-arching qualification. The grade students achieve in each unit contributes to their overall Award grade. As the units contain the information for the exams and when they take place, you need to enter students into both the units (so they are entered for the exams) and the award (so they are entered into the award itself in order to be awarded the qualification).

How do I create an entry file?

An entries file is an EDI file that is generated by the user. It is then uploaded to the Awarding Organisation’s website to confirm the entries.

Why didn’t my entry file get submitted to the Awarding Organisation after I created it?

Entry files must be manually uploaded to the awarding organisation through their secure portal. Once the file has been uploaded, it should be ‘confirmed’ in Arbor.

Why would I link a course to the Qualification Offering?

Linking courses allows you to create printable entry sheets to enable teachers / Heads of Departments to check that entries are correct. 

I’ve downloaded my entry file, where is it?

This is often found in your operating system’s ‘Downloads’ folder, or on your desktop.

Why is my entry file being rejected by the Awarding Organisation? 

Please check the filename of the entries file.
Check the file name looks something like this: E0000010.X01
If the filename has ‘(1)’ at the end, it’s likely because the file was downloaded twice. In this case, please rename the file, or check to see if another version of the file has been downloaded.

Why is there no exam details listed for a Qualification? 

If the exam is listed on the Qualification Offering page, but there are no further details, then it’s likely that not all of the basedata hasn’t been released.

If the qualification or unit isn’t listed on the Qualification Offering page: try searching the Ofqual database by QAN code.

Do I have to create Qualification Offerings each year?

Yes because many qualifications change year on year so it isn’t possible to copy qualifications from one academic year to another.

My learning units/components have not appeared after subscribing to the qualification?

Occasionally, the basedata we receive from awarding organisations is formatted in such a way that some learning units/components do not appear after you have subscribed to the qualification on your qualification catalogue. This often affects WJEC and Pearson qualifications. Examples include: 4300 Home econ (food and nutrition) and linked units 4301 and 4302; 4730LA Mathematics Linear and linked unit 4731 and 4732; and 4170 English Language and linked units 4171 and 4172.

To resolve this, enrol students into each unit/component individually, as if it were a standalone unit.


Exam Administration

How do I remove/withdraw a candidate?

Navigate to Qualifications > EDI (or non-EDI) > select the Award or Unit > use the bulk actions to remove/withdraw a candidate.

Please note that if a qualification is an EDI qualification and the candidate has already been entered with the Exam Board, an Amendments file must be produced and sent to the Awarding Organisation.

How do I add an external candidate? 

External candidates (candidates from another centre) must be added as a student in Arbor with no enrolment information.

Do I need to add access arrangements for every exam?

No, once set, they are set universally.

Can I choose a different candidate number based on the year of entry?

When assigning candidate numbers (Students > Examinations > Candidates > Internal Candidates > Assign Candidate Numbers bulk action), you can choose the Next available number (number to start numbering from).

Can I choose the size of candidate doc labels?

When printing candidate labels, the paper size can be set.


Scheduling and seating

Does Arbor mark a room as unavailable if an exam is assigned to it?

Arbor does not automatically mark the room as unavailable if an exam has been assigned to it. To make sure there aren't any clashes, you'll need to manually mark the room as unavailable then move any classes to a new room. To do this follow these instructions.

Can I edit the exam room size under examination room setup? 

Yes. This can be done through Scheduling > Setup Examination Rooms.
Once the room has been used to seat candidates for forthcoming exams, the room size cannot be changed. Please contact the Customer Success Team to have this manually adjusted.

How do I create an exam seating plan?

Create the room layout: Setup > Setup Examination Rooms, then assign student seats  Scheduling > Assign Seats.

How do I change the order in which candidates are seated?

This can be done through Scheduling > Assign Seats > The Auto-assign Seats button. The ‘Seating arrangement’ and ‘Order by’ options allow a greater flexibility of seating.

Can I exclude seats from the layout?

Yes, this can be done when setting up exam rooms (Setup > Setup Examination Rooms).  Click on an exam room, and click the ‘Edit Room Layout’ button.

Why is it showing TBC for the date and time on student timetables?

Timetables will show TBC for the date and time until the exam has been allocated to a room and the student has been allocated to a seat.


Results day

Do I have to set the embargo for every set of results?

Yes. The embargo date must be set for each set of results.

I’ve got a results file for exams I didn’t enter on Arbor, can I upload it?

Results files for qualifications that haven’t been subscribed to can still be uploaded into Arbor.

Is it possible to import results for Non-EDI exams using a spreadsheet?

No, it is currently only possible to input results manually.

Why isn't my Qualification appearing on the Results > Manual Entry page?

In this case, it is most likely that you haven’t subscribed or created this qualification via your qualification catalogue. Add this qualification by going to Qualifications > Qualification Offering.

Why can't I see my student to add results for in Manual Results? 

If you can’t find a student to add, it’s likely they don’t have a UCI and candidate number assigned to them. Register students as candidates, with candidate numbers and UCIs, using the Candidates section. Once you have added candidates, you can then assign results to each one.

What analysis of exam results do you have?

We support exports to SISRA and 4Matrix via the Results > By Subject page.


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