This blog has been updated since last published in 2022
Gail White, Customer Support Manager for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Warwickshire and the West Midlands
In most cases you’ll receive secure question paper materials in one of our standard despatches at least five days before the exam is timetabled, but what happens if you haven’t got a question paper on exam day? Or what happens if you need a PDF version?
There are a few reasons why you may need to access electronic versions of secure materials, such as:
Our Digital File Despatch (DFD) service was introduced a few years ago to improve the question paper materials service and enable you to access the materials at a scheduled time. I thought it would be useful to provide some guidance on DFD and how we make our non-interactive PDF question papers available for general qualifications, Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals.
You don’t need to request electronic question papers for the qualifications where you’ve made entries. You can access standard non-interactive PDF question papers on demand using our Digital File Despatch (DFD) service. This means you no longer need to request PDF question papers via the ‘Order Modified Paper’ section of Access Arrangements Online.
If you need a non-interactive PDF of a modified enlarged paper, please order the hardcopy version by the modified paper deadline in Access Arrangements Online – a PDF version is automatically made available on DFD.
If you need a modified question paper but haven't ordered this by the deadline, please email us at email@example.com – we may be able to provide one if a modified version has already been prepared.
To enable the host centre to receive question paper materials, both the entering centre and host centre must complete the transferred candidates form on the JCQ Centre Admin Portal by the relevant deadline. You don’t need to request question papers in addition to this. Please note that we only provide electronic question paper materials for transferred candidates. For more details see our transfer candidates page.
As soon as you realise you haven’t got the question papers you need, please call our Customer Support Centre on 01223 553998. If this is before the exam day and there’s time, we’ll arrange for the hard copy question paper to be sent out to you. If it’s on the exam day or there’s no time to post materials to you, you’ll be able to access electronic question papers from DFD for the qualifications where you’ve made entries. If you haven’t made any entries for the exam, we’ll arrange for you to download electronic question paper materials.
If you’ve not used Digital File Despatch before we’ll create an account for you.
You’ll then receive two emails: one containing a PIN and another with a link you’ll need to click to activate your account and create your password. The link is active for 24 hours.
If the link is no longer active, there's no need to contact us. To receive a new link, just follow the same process as if you'd forgotten your password – see below.
Once you’ve created your password, you’ll be able to log into your account at digitalfiledespatch.ocr.org.uk with your email address (see below) and password.
When setting up your DFD account, we use the email address we hold for your centre on the National Centre Number Register (NCN). More information about the NCN, including how to update your details is available on our website. If you need us to use a different email address than that on the NCN, please let us know.
If you have a DFD account, go to digitalfiledespatch.ocr.org.uk, click on the ‘Forgotten your password?’ link and enter the account email address.
You’ll receive two emails: one containing your PIN and another with a link you’ll need to click to reset your password and enter your PIN.
Once the question paper materials have been prepared, your files will be available to view as scheduled on the DFD home page. Approximately 10 days before the start of the exam series, you can log in to DFD to view a list of your materials and when they’ll be made available.
If any of your requested papers are missing or you have any queries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As soon as the question paper materials are available to download, for each exam session, you'll receive an automatically generated email letting you know they are live. From DFD, you can then access the standard PDF question papers for all qualifications you’ve made entries for, and any modified enlarged question papers which have been produced for the session.
The question paper materials will be available to download 90 minutes before the published starting time for the exam – at 7.30am for morning exam sessions and at noon for afternoon exam sessions. The materials are available for a limited time of 3 hours (7.30–10.30am or 12.00–3.00pm).
Materials are made available based on the published start times for the morning and afternoon sessions and are available for a limited time (7.30–10.30am or 12.00–3.00pm). As the regulations allow you to move exams to a different session on the day without letting the awarding body know, please email us at OCR.email@example.com if you have a timetable variation, so we can make the materials available at the time you need them.
Question paper materials are published in a non-interactive PDF format. These can be read on-screen but cannot be typed into.
We make question paper materials available on DFD for all qualifications you've made entries for. Where a modified enlarged paper has been requested, the PDF version of this is also made available for you on DFD.
As well as the question papers, you’ll be able to download any materials that would be issued with that paper such as inserts and 12-page generic answer booklets.
For any question papers requested, if an erratum is published, we’ll also make this available.
We use the following abbreviations/words to label the materials:
Tip: Where you’re printing PDFs, please check all the pages have printed correctly and staple the sheets together before giving them to your candidate.
Please note, for transferred candidates, we'll email the attendance register and script return labels to the host centre before the exam series. For all other candidates, attendance registers and script return labels are not available in DFD – these are sent in an ‘admin pack’ with your hard copy question paper despatch.
You can request an emergency replacement script return label for general qualifications and Cambridge Nationals from Interchange – see our website.
We’re here to support you, so if you have any queries about digital question papers, please contact us on 01223 553998 or email us as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gail White – Customer Support Manager supporting centres in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Warwickshire and the West Midlands
Gail became a Customer Support Manager in 2007 but has been supporting exams officers in various roles with OCR since 2002. She understands how challenging and rewarding exams administration can be and her experience means she is well placed to support centres with all aspects of exam management and delivery.