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Digital Answer Booklets

SQA provide Digital Answer Booklets (DABs) in either PDF or Microsoft Word format. You can download the DABs from SQA's web site.

Don't bother with the Word versions because they don't open correctly in Word or Pages on the iPad - the layout of the front page of the booklets typically gets all jumbled up. This is due to the design of the papers themselves and there is nothing you can do about it.

You don't have to use the SQA DABs if they are not accessible or suitable for the candidate - you can just use your usual text editor or word processor. Just create your own DAB with the relevant information (paper, candidate number etc).

The PDF DABs are very simple to use, but the number of lines that can fit on one page of a PDF DAB is limited and text does not 'flow' from one page to another, and the options for formatting and changing fonts etc are restricted.

At this point in time, we suggest reading the paper with your preferred PDF reader and typing your answers with your usual word processor rather than using the SQA DABs.

PDF Digital Answer Booklets

SQA provide PDF DABs with and without spellcheck enabled: it makes no difference which one you open because the iPad spellchecker works in both. For candidates who do not have permission to use a spellchecker, you have to turn the iPad spellchecker off in Settings (see Setting up the iPads).

Visually impaired students should find that the 'Follow Focus' feature in the iPad Zoom works with the PDF DABs.

Word Digital Answer Booklets

As we noted above, the Word DABs don't work very well in Pages or Word, so if you want to use a word processor to type up your answers, create a front page with the required information and just use the app in the way you wish. Or, download and use this example of a Generic Answer Booklet. It's similar to the SQA DAB but doesn't have the same problems with the layout.

If you have iOS9 or later and an iPad Air 2 or later, you can use Split View.

Candidates with Visual Impairment

Neither PDF not Word DABs are very well suited to the needs of candidates who require high levels of zoom, or who use VoiceOver, mainly because the apps themselves are quite complex to navigate. We suggest that candidates with visual impairment should:

  • Use a hardware keyboard, so that there is more space on screen for text, and it's easier to touch type.
  • Use the updated Notes app, provided with the iPad, for typing answers. Notes has a simple design, so it is easy to navigate; works well with the Zoom Follow Focus so the cursor follows the text as you type; and works well with VoiceOver.