Exam Rules

Exam Rules

UNSW can impose heavy penalties if you breach exam rules.

Read the UNSW Assessment Policy and the on campus and online exam rules below before sitting a formal exam.

Rules for exams

Important Exam Update: In our efforts to support UNSW’s sustainability strategy ‘Go Plastic Free’, we are rethinking the use of clear resealable plastic bags during exams. See the full notice here.

It is your responsibility to be familiar with the rules governing the conduct of exams on campus and online.

Read below for more information on the UNSW exam rules.

On Campus Exam Rules

You must:

  • follow all instructions given by exam supervisors.
  • be in your place in the exam room not less than 15 minutes before the time the exam commences.
  • display your current UNSW student identification card on your examination desk for the duration of the exam. Students without an ID card will be required to provide other official photo identification such as a driver's licence or passport at the time of the exam, electronic versions of identification are not permitted. Students without any photo identification will be required to present themselves to the Exams Team with appropriate photo identification before the end of the exam period.
  • switch off all mobile telephones and/or any other communication equipment, including music players, before the exam commences.
  • place your wrist and/or handheld watch under your desk, either in a clear resealable bag, or on the floor before the exam commences. Due to an increase in technologically advanced smart watches and analogue watches, students are no longer permitted to have watches on their wrist or desk.
  • place all valuables under your desk, either in a clear resealable plastic bag, or on the floor before the exam commences. Laptop computers are permitted, but they must be switched off and placed under your desk if they do not fit in your resealable bag.
  • answer all questions in English unless otherwise stated.
  • turn off your mobile phone, so that it does not ring or make any sounds during the exam.


You must not:

  • be admitted to an exam after 30 minutes from the time the exam commences.
  • leave the exam room before 30 minutes from the time the exam commences.
  • be re-admitted to the exam room after you have left it unless, during the full period of your absence, you have been under approved supervision.
  • leave the exam room during the final 10 minutes of the exam.
  • sit your exam in the wrong venue.
  • seek to gain an unfair advantage during an examination.
  • obtain assistance or endeavour to obtain assistance in your work, give or endeavour to give assistance to any other candidate, or commit any breach of good order.
  • write during reading time or after the exam finishes.
  • remove an examination paper from an examination room where it is specified that the paper is not to be retained by the student.
  • take an examination answer booklet from the exam room.
  • eat during an exam. If you have a medical condition that requires you to eat during an exam, you need to register with Disability Services prior to your exam.
  • bring into the exam room a bag, writing paper (or any other paper), manuscript, book, electronic diary, pencil case, food, medication or any material other than specified exam materials. All valuables must be placed under your desk, either in a clear resealable plastic bag, or on the floor. The clear resealable plastic bag must be sealed and placed on the floor under your desk for the duration of the exam. Unsealed bags, plastic sleeves and similar are not permitted.
  • bring valuables to your exam. UNSW cannot guarantee the safekeeping of valuables either inside or outside the exam room.  Please do not leave anything valuable in your bag as your bag has to be left adjacent to the exam room. If you are concerned about the security of your valuable possessions, please make alternative arrangements for their care whilst you undertake your exam.
  • wear hats or other head coverings. Hats, helmets, baseball caps or any other headwear are not permitted to be worn in an exam.  The exception to this is a religious head covering*.

*If you have any questions on what head covering is permitted, please contact the examinations team at exams@unsw.edu.au to seek clarification before your exam.

At the end of your exam, please be considerate of others who are still sitting their exam and move quickly and quietly out of the exam room.

Online Exam Rules

When completing an online assessment/exam, you are declaring that:

    • All of your answers are entirely your own work unless acknowledged or otherwise permitted
    • Should any form of academic misconduct be detected, breaching the Student Code, the University may take disciplinary action under the Student Misconduct Procedure

Online Exam Checklist

To ensure that you are as prepared for your online exam as you can be, make sure you check each of the below before your exam.

Day(s) before Online Exam:

  • Double check the date and time of your exam. If you are overseas, ensure that you have factored in any time zone differences. 
  • Decide where you will complete your assessment - preferably a quiet space with minimal distractions. If you live with other people, let them know when you will be completing your exam to avoid interruptions.
  • Make sure that any system/operating/software updates are completed and up to date on your device, so that automatic updates do not interrupt your exam.
  • Make sure you can login to the required site and gain access.
  • Check your internet connection is stable and a decent speed can be achieved. Speed tests can be done via https://www.speedtest.net/
  • You may wish to connect to your router via ethernet cable to increase your speed
  • If possible, we recommend you have a spare secondary connection device (e.g. a mobile that can be used as a “personal hotspot” should your initial connection go down).

More information regarding this can be found at: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204023 for Apple Devices and at: https://support.google.com/android/answer/9059108 for Android Devices

Day of Online Exam

  • Make sure you have logged on at your computer and you are ready to start, approximately 15-20 minutes before the exam commences.
  • Ensure your device has power, and the charger is plugged in.
  • If applicable, gather any permitted materials you may need for the exam (books, notes, writing implements, spare calculator, etc.).

If applicable, remind the people who share your house that you will be completing your exam, to avoid interruptions.


Exam Issues and
Special Consideration

If you don’t have a quiet space at home where you can complete your exam, then the UNSW Main, Law and Paddington Libraries have opened up a small number of socially distant study spaces which you are currently able to book. The Libraries are also offering students completing exams, the opportunity to reserve either a fixed pc or a laptop for the duration of the exam.

Please note that spaces and hardware are limited, so it will be important to book in advance. Further information on how to book a study session, as well as opening times can be found here: UNSW Library website.


Technical Issues

If you experience a technical issue which impacts your ability to complete your exam, then you should submit a special consideration application (immediately, at the conclusion of your exam) and upload evidence of the issue you experienced.


How do I provide evidence?

If you experience technical difficulties, you should take screenshots of as many of the following as possible:  

  • error messages
  • screen not loading 
  • timestamped speed tests  
  • power outage maps 
  • messages or information from your internet provider regarding the issues experienced

All screenshots must include the date and time the issue occurred.

  • You must contact the Course Coordinator or Tutor via email, Moodle or chat to advise that you are experiencing a technical issue, as soon as possible.
  • Submit a Special Consideration application immediately at the conclusion of your assessment and upload your screenshots.

Your special consideration application will be reviewed, and an outcome updated within 3-5 working days.


Fit to Sit

By sitting or submitting an assessment on the scheduled assessment date, you are declaring that you are fit to do so and cannot later apply for Special Consideration.

If, during an online exam you feel unwell to the point that you cannot continue with the exam, you should take the following steps:

  • Stop working on the exam and take note of the time
  • You must contact your Course Coordinator or Tutor immediatly via email, Moodle or chat and advise them that you are unwell.
  • Immediately submit a Special Consideration application saying that you felt ill during the exam and were unable to continue
  • You must provide a medical certificate dated within 24 hours of the exam, along with screenshots of the conversation you have had with your Course Coordinator or Tutor.