Exam Rules

Exam Rules

UNSW can impose heavy penalties if you breach exam rules. You will have breached exam rules if you:

  • seek to gain an unfair advantage during an examination
  • sit your exam in the wrong venue
  • write during reading time or after the exam finishes
  • don't turn off your mobile phone, and it rings, or makes any other sound, during an exam
  • 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 an exam room.

Students are expected to have read the UNSW Assessment Policy and the following rules 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 these rules governing the conduct of exams.

Some exams such as fully online invigilated exams may require additional or different rules. Please consult your course outline for specific information about these.

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.


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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


See also