Suitable pen for exam?

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ayesha.a_1202
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#1
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#1
Having my first proper exam in such a long time and I'm just wondering if my zebra sarasa pens are suitable for them. They are gel ink I think, but they dry almost instantly and don't bleed through pages that much (on very thin paper it's quite visible, e.g. 60gsm). They are black so I didn't think that's a problem and I've used them for all mocks and assessments without anyone stopping/commenting on it. Thoughts?
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Talkative Toad
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Gel pens are not allowed I think in the real exam, use a black ball point pen Muttley79
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Muttley79
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#3
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No do not use a gel pen - they are not allowed.

Get a ballpoint today - real papers are scanned.
(Original post by ayesha.a_1202)
Having my first proper exam in such a long time and I'm just wondering if my zebra sarasa pens are suitable for them. They are gel ink I think, but they dry almost instantly and don't bleed through pages that much (on very thin paper it's quite visible, e.g. 60gsm). They are black so I didn't think that's a problem and I've used them for all mocks and assessments without anyone stopping/commenting on it. Thoughts?
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thirtyfour
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#4
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(Original post by Muttley79)
No do not use a gel pen - they are not allowed.

Get a ballpoint today - real papers are scanned.
Hi would a matador pen be allowed?
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Muttley79
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#5
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What sort of ink does it have? Some matadors seem to have gel ink
(Original post by thirtyfour)
Hi would a matador pen be allowed?
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thirtyfour
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#6
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(Original post by Muttley79)
What sort of ink does it have? Some matadors seem to have gel ink
It just said ballpoint gel ink
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Muttley79
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#7
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(Original post by thirtyfour)
It just said ballpoint gel ink
'gel' ... so no. It needs to be non-gel ink.
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Dontlookdown
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#8
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I have never had an issue with gel pens, the specific ones I use are the Papermate Ink Joy pens which are 0.7mm.
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thirtyfour
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#9
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(Original post by Muttley79)
'gel' ... so no. It needs to be non-gel ink.
What pens would you recommend
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Talkative Toad
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#10
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(Original post by thirtyfour)
What pens would you recommend
Your standard black ballpoint non-gel pen:
BIC Cristal Original Smudge Free Ballpoint Pens, Ideal for School, Black, Medium Point (1.0mm), Pack of 50 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000I5ZK...ing=UTF8&psc=1
BIC Cristal Large Ballpoint Pens, Every-Day Biro Pens with Wide Point (1.6 mm), Ideal for School, Black Ink, Pack of 50 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001O3K5...3R6EK64R0PT7QJ
Paper-mate and Zebra are also the stuff (non-gel of course).
Last edited by Talkative Toad; 1 month ago
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Talkative Toad
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#11
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#11
I like the thick one's better it seems but everyone has a preference.
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ceph042_
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#12
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#12
Would a Uniball Eye Fine Rollerball be ok?
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Scienceisgood
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#13
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#13
Basic idea, any ball point black pen will do.
Can be a £10 parker pen or one of a pack of 10 from Poundland.

I don’t think uni minds which colour you use personally but I know exams from exam boards are different. Just because black scans into the system easier than blue and pencil just won’t full stop.
Last edited by Scienceisgood; 1 month ago
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Muttley79
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#14
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#14
(Original post by jamesh234)
Use the zebra sarasa pens as you are comfortable with them. When they say no gel pens allowed, they generally mean sparkly and coloured pens, not the type that you are mentioning here which, to be honest, are not really gen pens (I know it's gel ink but it is quick-drying, doesn't smudge and is not sparkly). As long as they don't smudge, it will be fine. Even in the worst case scenario, if they can't see it once scanned, the examiner will say this and your physical copy will be sent to a senior examiner to be marked - you won't just receive a 0. It is better to have a pen that you are comfortable and, especially in essay writing, write fast with.
Any gel ink is not allowed - please don't give wrong advice
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Talkative Toad
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#15
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(Original post by jamesh234)
Use the zebra sarasa pens as you are comfortable with them. When they say no gel pens allowed, they generally mean sparkly and coloured pens, not the type that you are mentioning here which, to be honest, are not really gen pens (I know it's gel ink but it is quick-drying, doesn't smudge and is not sparkly). As long as they don't smudge, it will be fine. Even in the worst case scenario, if they can't see it once scanned, the examiner will say this and your physical copy will be sent to a senior examiner to be marked - you won't just receive a 0. It is better to have a pen that you are comfortable and, especially in essay writing, write fast with.
The guidance does not agree with you:
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OP ignore advice in the post that I've quoted (it's wrong as Muttley is saying) and get the non-gel black pen ASAP. Don't use a gel pen under any circumstances as exams are actually going ahead/will be done properly this year. Non-gel standard ballpoint pen is the way.
Last edited by Talkative Toad; 1 month ago
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Muttley79
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#16
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#16
(Original post by jamesh234)
I understand that the official guidance states this w
Why are you encoraging people to break rules - please just stop.

It's not just about smudging its about problems with scanning ... use the right ink
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ayesha.a_1202
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#17
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#17
(Original post by jamesh234)
Hi, I am not encouraging - if you don't feel comfortable do not do it and, if in doubt, follow the exam board guidance. I know about the scanning problems and that was what I was referring to (I had trialled the pen I eventually used repeatedly with scanners to make sure it came up correctly and ask the school examination officer about it). I would not recommend using gel pens if you are totally comfortable with biro but, as I know that people, including many of my friends, swear by these for exams, I would rather be realistic and tell people that, if they are going to do it, to do it carefully selecting the pens to make sure that they reduce the likelihood of this being a problem. Also, it is worth letting people know that you don't immediately get a 0 if you have done this.
I think I'll just ask my invigilator if its OK to use (I hope so cuz I struggle to write legibly otherwise), if they say no, I'll just use my non gel ones and hope the person marking it can read jt
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Callicious
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#18
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#18
I used a fountain pen for my exams. Made sure to use BBM ink from Noodlers (basically untarnishable- you can't smudge it/etc) and had no issues.

The rules specify using a standard black biro but I've never done so and had no issues- they're awful to work with and hurt my wrists after a while. All the paper-markers (inc some ex folk who worked on producing Qs for AQA) told me that it was fine. That's just anecdotal and was about 5-6 years ago now, though.

Recommend following the advice to use a black biro, though.

(Funnily enough I did actually do an entire paper in pencil too- I think it was the 2nd Edexcel one? I can't remember. Had no problems with that either. Not sure what the scanning issue is but I would recommend caution if it really is that big a problem.)
Last edited by Callicious; 1 month ago
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Reality Check
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#19
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#19
(Original post by jamesh234)
Yes, that's a good idea - obviously don't contradict the invigilator if they say no. It also might be worth showing them the pen that you hope to use (as if you say gel pen they may think your talking about something else) and if they see it is a pen which isn't sparkly or glittering with non-smudgey ink, they may be fine with it. I do understand the struggle though as I cannot write anywhere near as quickly with biros!
The invigilators are not there to pass judgement on the suitability of your pen.

I really don't understand why this thread is 23 posts long, and you're still arguing about it. Don't use gel pens. End of.
Last edited by Reality Check; 1 month ago
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Talkative Toad
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#20
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(Original post by jamesh234)
I understand that the official guidance states this widely but many people vastly prefer using gel ink pens and would be willing to take the risk (as it vastly improves their handwriting and writing speed). I understand your trying to give the specific exam board advice for this but, quite simply, the reason that they ban "gel ink" does not apply to these pens. There is nothing that makes these specific gel ink pens (for other types there is a reason) less readable by a scanner (I had asked the exams officer when I did exams and they said it was generally ok) . Equally, I wanted to give reasurrance to people that have used gel ink pens in exams that they would not be disqualified as I have seen many people on the forum (not you guys) who have said this. But I do understand your reasoning with this and would not necessarily encourage people who do not usually use them to start to use them in exams and perhaps they are now more stringent about this.
What people "prefer" (be my school who can't run exams properly for the life of them so I'm having to pull them to a corner and correct them or students is irrelevant), the guidance is the guidance and it must be followed at all times.
My school wants to start a physics exam at 12:30 are they allowed? No it goes against the guidance
They wanted to not let me have a reading pen in my A-level MFL, is that ok? Nope also breaks the guidance so I corrected them thanks to the help or TSR and me staying on top of the guidance
They didn't seem to know whether my practical endorsement could be carried over or not so I showed them the JCQ ICE document to prove to them that I can have it carried over.

In all those instances I didn't care what the school "preferred" I stepped in and corrected their mishaps because they weren't following the guidance.

The guidance states very clearly that gel pen must not be used therefore you don't use em.

Sorry if I'm sounding rude/harsh as a Forum
Helper but please don't spread misinformation when it comes to exams. The JCQ ICE document is what you need to be looking at if you're in Northern Ireland, Wales and England when it comes to L2 and L3 qualifications. School's/student's opinion on the matter is irrelevant in my opinion.


Note: I don't work in education but I read the guidance/get clarity from TSR when needed. I make sure that my school isn't getting stuff wrong essentially as I can't trust them when it comes to exams.
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