How Hired Air Con Can Help Create Perfect Exam Hall Conditions

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Published: 11th July 2012
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For most people, taking exams can be stressful. In 2011, unprecedented numbers of A-level students sought medical or psychological help to cope with exam stress. Doctors, psychotherapists and head teachers said that fierce competition for university places made 16-to-18-year-olds across Britain more anxious than ever. And with the critical summer exam ‘season’ now upon us again, teenagers look set to put even more pressure upon themselves to succeed, according to The Guardian website.

Creating a Comfortable Environment is Essential

Hundreds of thousands of people sit exams in Britain each year. In Scotland alone (in 2011) some 733,500 exams were sat between May and June at nearly 550 schools and colleges, according to BBC News.

Wherever an exam takes place, schools, colleges and universities strive to create ideal exam conditions, so that students can concentrate and not feel fatigued or experience dizziness. This entails making sure there is adequate light and ventilation in the exam hall, enough space for chairs and tables to be properly laid out so that students do not have to sit cheek by jowl, and ensuring the environment has a comfortable temperature.

About Regulations and Guidelines

At present, there is no prescribed maximum temperature for educational establishments except for The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992, which require employers to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a comfortable temperature is maintained. However, the NASUWT teachers' union wants an agreed limit of 24°C as the cut-off point for lowering room temperature in classrooms and exam halls.

With most exams taking place during the hottest time of the year, keeping students cool under pressure can often be a challenge, particularly as not all schools, colleges and universities across the country have built-in air conditioning. Or, if they do, the system may be unreliable or simply does not have the capacity to cope with soaring summer temperatures.

Who Takes Exams?

GCSEs and A-levels are the main sets of exams taken each summer, but now even 7 and 11-year-olds in England and Wales sit SATs and the 11+. Sixth-formers also sit AS exams in the lower sixth. University students may have exams in all three years (not just finals), and thousands of adult learners who have returned to part-time education will find themselves in an exam hall at the end of the academic year, where memories of school days gone by are sure to suddenly come flooding back.

How Success Breeds Success

It is not only the students’ futures at stake on exam day, but also that of their school, college or university. For almost all educational bodies, their organisation's success will depend upon its performance – be that either getting pupils into the next school, helping students to get a grant or a scholarship, assisting people into the workplace… In turn, this success will breed success, as more people will want to attend that establishment or enrol their children there. Good teachers will want to work there, and the ablest students in the region may prioritise it in their list of ‘possibles’ for the next academic year.

Excellent exam results, then, are essential when it comes to achieving high league table positions. And whilst academic preparation is vital for students, it is important to consider the best possible exam conditions for students too.

The good news is that hiring air con for exam halls is quick, easy and affordable. The most suitable mobile units can be supplied, positioned and made operational by an air con rental specialist on the morning of exam day(s) i.e. before the students arrive, or they can be quickly delivered and made up-and-running sometimes within the hour in the event of a fixed air con system breakdown at the hall.

Rented Air Con: the Cost-Effective Option

Leasing air con can often be a more cost-effective option for educational establishments (over investing in a full, fixed system), and offers numerous other benefits:

- Schools, colleges and universities can always receive the newest models available (a bought unit could date quickly or not be the most efficient one on the market)

- Units will always be serviced before being released to them. This means the units will then work to maximum efficiencies and be less likely to breakdown

- The units will be mobile and so can be easily moved around, as required

- There are no long-term storage issues (units can be hired as and when needed, with the hire specialist collecting and returning them to their depot once the final exam is over)

- Experienced air con hire personnel will know which unit will best serve each particular application (and which ancillary equipment may be required)

- There is no capital expenditure involved

Finally, educational establishments that have wisely taken the precaution of formulating a contingency plan (with the help of a specialist in air conditioning hire) can enjoy peace of mind knowing that, should they ever require hired air con in a hurry at exam time in the academic year, the specialist will respond immediately to their urgent call.

Article submitted by Steve Reeve, Sales Director at Andrews Sykes.
Andrews Sykes is the UK's largest specialist air conditioning rental company, with over 25 years’ experience. Andrews Sykes serves schools, colleges and universities using machinery sourced from the world’s top manufacturers, to ensure exam conditions remain optimal at all times.
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