It's no secret that people are willing to be big fat cheats whenever the opportunity arises, which is why things like smartphone and smartwatches are banned from exam rooms. Now, though, regular old watches are being added to the no-no list.
The rule is being implemented to tackle the problem of smartwatches that are designed to look like regular watches, seeing as how companies have realised wearing a rectangle on your wrist isn't a particularly good look. It's also to try and stop sneaky cheats from hiding notes under the watch face, because people are the worst and the reason why we can't have nice things. The rules specifically say that watches have to be left on the desk, and off your wrist, but invigilators can demand they be handed in beforehand - much like phones.
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) actually published these new regulations last July, but they weren't noticed until now - right before summer exam season is due to start. Watch bans have already been put in place by some universities and exam centres, but now the JCQ's got involved means students in schools are now affected by the rules. But only in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Students in Scotland don't have to follow the same rules when they take their Highers.
As the BBC notes there are multiple online stores, including Amazon, that advertise watches that are specifically designed to help people cheat in exams, using watch-like displays that hide screens showing off notes, or even hidden earpieces that feed off answers. With cheaters getting sneakier, and using tech to their advantage, it makes sense that the rules are going to change to compensate. Most exam rooms have clocks anyway, or at least they should, so it's not like you'll never be able to lose track of time. [BBC News]