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Formal Exam Process and requirements

Early each year, examiners and departments are sent information relating to the deadlines (see the Bulletin) by which examination schedules and later, exam papers themselves, should be submitted to the Examinations Office for the June and November examinations.

Step 1 - Requesting an Exam

The schedules are forms which generate a timetabled examination in the formal two week exam period at the end of each semester only (June and November as appropriate). Forms may be sent in a variety of ways:

Online submission (preferred) – see note below
Soft copy returned via email to the
Hard copy submitted via internal mail (Exams Office, JFR Building – G02)
Faxed to x78280

Examiners should enter exam schedule data on the web form which mirrors the hard copy version. This information is then checked by Examinations Office staff, who will allocate a Paper Code before uploading the information into FlexSIS.

A schedule needs to be completed for all examinations to be held in June and November, so that the examinations office can avoid the occurrence of clashes for students and so that limited accommodation resources can be utilised most effectively. See the Guidelines for completing the exam schedule form.

Step 2 - Exam Papers and Printing

From the information provided on the schedule, an Exam Specification Sheet (Spec Sheet) is generated for each exam paper and sent to the Examiner/ relevant teaching department.
This sheet provides the Exams Office with details important with the running of the examination and should be returned with the exam paper (where appropriate; see below).

There are at this point four options for an Examiner:

  1. Held and Printed by Examinations Office
    Examiner needs to:
    fill in Spec Sheet and hand deliver with the exam paper to Examinations Office by deadline for delivery date for printing arrangements by Exams Office.
  2. Held in Department BUT printed by Examinations Office
    Examiner needs to:
    a) fill in Spec Sheet and hand deliver with the exam paper to Examinations Office by deadline for delivery date for printing arrangements by Exams Office.
    b) Collect the printed exams at least 1 day prior to the date of the exam (please notify the exams office and bring staff ID to collect).
  3. Held and Printed In Department
    Examiner needs to:
    a) rule a line across the Spec Sheet and write "Paper Held and Printed IN DEPT"
    b) return the Spec Sheet to the Examinations Office
  4. Printed In Department BUT held by the Examinations Office
    Examiner needs to:
    a) fill in the Spec Sheet
    b) clearly write on Spec Sheet: "Paper Printed IN DEPT"
    c) return the Spec Sheet to the Examinations Office by due date
    d) hand deliver the printed exam papers to Examinations Office by the deadline for delivery of printed examination papers date (in accordance with instructions you will receive from the Exams Office).
Electronic exam paper submission

The Examinations Office is receiving an increasing number of examinations for printing via email. Examiners may elect to submit papers via email, but should be aware that email does not provide encryption to ensure confidential delivery. We therefore cannot guarantee the security of our email system. For this reason we have always recommended hand delivery of scripts to our office on level 3 of the Jane Foss Russell Building.

If physical delivery is for whatever reason not possible, we strongly recommend that papers be emailed to us in pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format, which:

  • ensures that the original exam formatting is preserved
  • permits encryption to enhance exam security

Please do not send exam papers in Microsoft Word format. Exams in Word cannot be encrypted and they are prone to formatting errors in transfers between systems.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, you can download it from the ICT website: http://staff.ask.sydney.edu.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/246 Consult your ICT Relationship Manager if you have any issues.

You can still create and work on exams in Word, but with Adobe Acrobat installed you can save a copy of completed scripts in an encrypted format. This process requires you to create a password. In Adobe Acrobat, open the new .pdf file. From the Menu bar, go to the Advanced menu, choose Security from the pull-down, and click on Encrypt with Password. Select the checkbox for “Require a password to open the document”.

Please choose a strong password using two words, with mixed upper & lowercase, separated by punctuation characters with a number.
For example: Caesar$Roman42 or BlueCo4t!TimeLine (do not use these examples).

Once this is done, exam papers should be attached to an email to (please send to this address only). After sending the email, you will need to phone the office (Alan Wright on 8627 8218 or Glenn Condell on 8627 8215), to provide us with the password verbally. Do not email the password as this would enable system intruders to open the exam.

Step 3 - Exam Timetable and Locations

Timetable information is released first in Draft form and examiners have an opportunity to check the dates scheduled for their units and request any changes if necessary. All change requests will be considered but may not be accommodated for various reasons, among which size of candidature and avoidance of large numbers of clashes are paramount. No change requests will be accepted 1 week after the release of the Draft timetable. The draft timetable will be become final 2 weeks after its initial release.

Exam locations and Seat Numbers are released approximately 1 week after the Final Timetable. For examiners, this will be a downloadable document on this website which will be active once the locations are finalised. Students are issued with a seat number for each exam they are enrolled in (with the exception of some practicals and some smaller in-dept exams). They access this information by logging into the MyUni - MyAdmin page.

Step 4 - Exam Clash Information and Students with a disability

Examination Clash Information
Students with 2 or more exams scheduled for the same date and time during day-time examinations will be accommodated by the Exams Office. Detailed information can be found on the students’ information page.
Students are notified of the arrangements by email at least 1 week prior to the exam date. Examiners will receive a copy of this email to ensure they are informed that the student will not be sitting in the main exam room for that particular exam. Note that delivery of these papers will be at least 24 hours later than the main exam and in separate packaging.

Students with a disability
Students with a disability who have registered for exam adjustments through the Disability Services are accommodated by the Exams Office during the formal end of semester exams. This disability can be temporary (e.g. pregnancy, broken finger/ arm, etc.) or permanent (e.g. diabetics, students with learning difficulties; etc).

Students are notified of the arrangements by email at least 1 week prior to the exam date. Examiners will receive a copy of this email to ensure they are informed that the student will not be sitting in the main exam room for that particular exam. Note that delivery of these papers will be at least 24 hours later than the main exam and in separate packaging.

Examiners of ‘In Department’ exams who have students registered with a clash/ disability arrangement will need to provide the Exams Office with copies of the exam paper if it was printed in the department.

Please note that the Examinations Office does not handle clash or disability arrangements for students with evening exams. Students will be directed to the department (either the examiner or local admin staff) for arrangements to be made.


Conducting ‘In Department’ exams

This section is designed to be a central repository of information and guidelines for staff who are obliged to run their own exam(s). Examinations should be conducted in accordance with the University’s policy and procedures relating to assessment and examination. Examiners should familiarize themselves with the Rules to be observed by candidates in examinations. In addition, the Manual for Examination Supervisors may also be consulted, but please note that these documents have been constructed to deal primarily with formally invigilated final examinations in the June and November periods each year and much of the administrative detail may be inappropriate or unnecessary for the conduct of smaller, locally based examinations.

There are two types of departmental examinations;

1. Outside of the June and November periods

Examinations which are held outside of the two main periods, such as replacement or ‘make-up’ final exams, mid-semester exams, and Summer/Winter School exams are In Department examinations. Departmental staff, normally Principal Examiners and/or Unit Co-ordinators, are therefore responsible for administering and ensuring the integrity of the examining process for these examinations. Unlike in department examinations held during the main end-of-semester exam periods, the Examinations Office does not print papers or provide accommodation. Examiners are therefore responsible for:

  • writing the examination and keeping it secure
  • setting the date/time (taking any potential clashes into consideration)
  • booking an appropriate venue
  • alerting students in good time to the above arrangements
  • printing the required number of copies of the paper and ensuring their security at all times
  • providing materials required by candidates
  • invigilation of students including recording attendance and arranging delivery and collection of exams and related materials such as booklets and answer sheets.
Arranging your exam

The exam
Examiners should prepare their paper in good time, and preferably should not arrange printing until an appropriately qualified colleague has proofread it. They must take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of the exam during its construction, through the printing process and examination itself, and ensure secure delivery and storage of the worked scripts after the exam. Examiners are encouraged to state clearly on the front page of the exam any instructions invigilators require in order to administer it, along with basic details such as unit code, year and semester, duration and reading time, weighting of marks per question where appropriate, allowable materials that students may use during the exam, whether it may be removed from the room, etc. There is a downloadable generic version of a basic front page below, along with a version of the Supervisor Instruction Sheet used by the Examinations Office; this will be especially useful to examiners who have arranged for other staff to conduct their exam. It is very important that any examination which is held in more than one room is conducted according to precisely the same instructions and under the same conditions.

Setting time/date
The Assessment Policy recommends that replacement final examinations for students who have successfully applied for special consideration should if possible be set three weeks after the original formal examination was held (and certainly within six weeks). This replication of the original timetable helps to ensure that students who have more than one replacement exam do not have clashes (please call the Examinations Office on 8627 8215 for guidance if necessary) In-class, mid-semester and Summer/Winter School exams typically occur in the normal lecture time, but in any event students should be informed of dates and times for all exams in a timely manner.

Arranging a venue
Most in-class, mid-semester and Summer/Winter School exams will be held in the same venue as lectures, as will many replacement examinations. If the department does not have a suitable venue available for an in department examination, the University Venues website should be consulted. Again, students should be given clear and timely venue information.

Printing
As most in department exams are for relatively small groups, printing (or copying) is normally handled by departmental staff. Care should be taken to protect the security and confidentiality of the exam, especially where ancillary staff are involved. Very long exams (such as many multiple choice papers for example), particularly for large mid-semester groups, may however need to be printed professionally. Departments should in these circumstances to contact the University Publishing Service (phone x12004)

Examination papers that may NOT be subsequently released to the Library should be printed on buff or yellow paper where possible; all other exams should be printed on white paper. Exam papers that candidates may not remove from the room should have the word ‘Confidential’ prominently displayed on the front page, with spaces provided for candidates to write their name and Student Identification number (so that any missing papers can be more easily located).

Exam materials
‘In Department’ answer booklets are available from the University Publishing Service. Two sizes are available - 4 pages and 10 pages. Chemistry (x14411) can provide computer answer sheets (for 50 or 150 five-option answers) and the subsequent scanning of sheets, for a reasonable fee. Examiners (or staff they have delegated to supervise their exam) may download from the menu below generic versions of the Attendance Form, Supervisor Instruction Sheet and the Incident Report Form which can be used to document instances of alleged academic misconduct. Unit Co-ordinators and senior departmental administrative staff can if they wish print class lists from the FlexSIS Student System.

Emergencies
The Assessment Procedures has clear procedures for emergencies which may require the evacuation of examination venues. Examiners should take the time to read these procedures and ensure any other supervisory staff are aware of them. Knowledge of the nearest fire exits and evacuation gathering points are particularly recommended prior to the commencement of the exam.

Delivery/collection
Generally examiners conducting their own exam need make no special arrangements, but where other staff are involved there should be clear arrangements for access to the papers for delivery to the venue, as well collection of examinations and worked scripts from venues, or delivery by supervisory staff back to the examiner or departmental office, where they should be securely stored to await marking.

Supervising (invigilating) your exam

Examiners, whether or not they perform the supervision, are responsible for the conduct of their examination. If examiners delegate supervision to other staff, they must ensure that they leave contact details for the duration of the examination, so that any academic or administrative queries that arise can be dealt with expeditiously. Outside of the formal end of semester exam periods, the Exams Office may be able to recommend experienced invigilators to examiners or departments who are having trouble locating sufficient supervisory staff, however the cost must be borne by the department. Forms such as contracts, claims and pay rate sheets for supervisors are linked below.

Exam groups which exceed 25 students should have more than one invigilator. Ideally all exam groups should have more than one invigilator to facilitate escorted toilet visits for candidates, but this may not always be possible. For larger exam groups, as far as possible, a staff to student ratio of 1:40 should not be exceeded. Keep in mind that a venue’s capacity for lectures (especially sloped rooms) should be halved in examination mode to allow sufficient distance between students in order to help prevent academic misconduct.

In the room:

  • Never leave exam papers or worked scripts unattended in a room unless an evacuation is required
  • If exam papers have been distributed when students arrive care should be taken permitting students to leave the room before the examination commences so that the examination papers remain secure
  • Instruct students to place valuables under their desk during exam, with mobile phones switched off, and to put ID on top right hand corner of desk
  • Late-coming students may be permitted to start an exam in the first 30 minutes of writing time (granting of lost time is at examiner discretion); no student, having seen an exam paper, may leave the room in the first 30 minutes of writing time
  • Late arrivals, early departures, unusually long and/or frequent toilet visits, students reporting illness and any disruption to an examination should all be noted by invigilators in case of subsequent applications for Special Consideration
  • Worked scripts should be collected and accounted for prior to the release of students.

Duties of invigilators include:

  • Secure delivery of examination papers and materials to the room
  • Ensuring room is ready for exam (seating, lighting, clock, etc) and setting out any materials that should be supplied to candidates (such as booklets, graph paper or formula sheets)
  • Recording attendance and checking student ID (student card or other photo ID required)
  • Making introductory and post-exam announcements (see suggestions below)
  • Accurate timekeeping (includes a warning to students ten minutes prior to the end of writing time)
  • Patrolling the room and observing candidates to detect and prevent academic misconduct (e.g. looking at notes or other students’ work, using unauthorized aids, etc)
  • Recording incidents such as alleged instances of academic misconduct in writing, with any students involved being given the opportunity to view and comment upon the allegation (see Incident Report below)
  • Where staff numbers permit, escorting students using the toilet and ensuring as far as practicable that they have no unauthorized materials or communication devices on their person
  • Where necessary, evacuate students in emergency situations, according to procedure set out in the Assessment Procedures.

Should any student report ill before or during the exam and cannot continue, they should be advised to see a medical practitioner and complete a Special Consideration Form at the Faculty Office or website as soon as possible.
Please note that non English-speaking background students may use a linguistic dictionary in all exams; these should have an approval stamp from the Examinations Office

Suggested pre- and post-exam announcements

Pre-exam: May I have your attention please? This is an examination for (unitcode, semester) which has a (x) reading time and a (xx) duration. Please turn your mobile phones off and place them with any other valuables under your seat. The materials you are permitted to use in this examination are (any permissible books, calculators or other aids). Please ensure you have not inadvertently brought unauthorized materials with you; if you have done so, please raise your hand. You (may/may not) remove the examination from the room upon completion. (If applicable) Please complete the attendance slip (or front of booklet). You may read through the paper for the next 10 (or alternative reading time) minutes.

After the end of reading time: It is now (time). This examination will stop at (time) I will tell you when you have 10 minutes remaining. You may now commence writing.

10 minutes before end: You have 10 minutes remaining. Please ensure you have completed your details on (attendance form, exam booklet, answer sheet, as appropriate) – you will not be permitted to do this when time has expired.

At end of exam: Please stop all writing now. No candidate may leave their seat until I ask you to do so. (After collection of exams/worked scripts) Please ensure you collect your personal belongings. You may now leave the room.

Downloadable files for "In Department" examiners
HR requirements when employing an invigilator
  • Supervisor Duty Statement
  • Supervisor contract letter
  • Supervisor claim form
  • Supervisor payment rates
Manuals

2. During the June and November periods

An In Department examination is one that a Department conducts, partially or fully independent of assistance from the Examinations Office.

Departments may hold these examinations for any number of students during the end-of-semester examination period, however, papers with 25 or fewer candidates must be supervised (and have materials provided) by the Department. Also, all evening exams (after 5pm) are In Department, as are practical exams and any other exams which do not require seating/ accommodation and the supervision of written work.

Please note that the Exams Office DOES NOT provide materials such as MCQ answer sheets, booklets or any other materials required for In Department exams. Please check with local administrative staff for materials as departments should maintain their own stock. Special In Department answer booklets are available from the University Publishing Service, G12 (Phone: x12004 or fax orders to x17757) Two sizes are available - 4 pages and 10 pages. Please make sure that you have sufficient supplies before the examination period commences.

Exams Office provides the date and time of your exam for the timetable. We also provide accommodation for the exam unless otherwise advised by the examiner/ department:

Accommodation provided: Where the Examinations Office has provided accommodation, students will be informed of the venue (and seat number for exams where these have been allocated) on their exam seating page in MyUni/MyAdmin module.

Accommodation not provided: If accommodation is not required to be arranged through the Exams Office, the message IN DEPARTMENT will be shown on the Final Timetable and on the web advice for seat numbers on MyUni. The location is generally added to Student's Notes on the Final Timetable, but any queries about these exams should be directed to the department.

Exams Office will print and package your exam paper if we receive it by the due date (see annual bulletin for dates per semester). The examiner (or other authorized member of the department) is responsible for collecting the exam paper packages at least 24 hours prior to the examination being held. Photo ID is required.

Supervision is NOT provided by the exams office, departments are responsible for invigilating In Department exams. The University’s Examination Supervisor Manual is available to assist examiners in conducting these exams.

If you are advised that you have students sitting your In Department examination in the Clash Room, or the Disability Examination Room, and you have not submitted your paper for printing through the Exams Office, you will be required to provide a small number of copies of the exam for these students.

Evening exam clashes and disability arrangements are arranged by the department/ examiner concerned. Students are advised of this when they report an evening clash to the Student Centre or when they register with Disability Services for exams.

If an examiner wishes an In Department exam (which has not been printed through the Exams Office) to be sent to the Library early the following year, a copy of the exam (on paper or CD) should be delivered to the Office before the end of the relevant period.

“CONSULT DEPARTMENT” Examinations

A Consult Department examination is one that a Department runs fully independent of the assistance available from the Examinations Section. We make an entry on the timetable (with no time or place) that shows the unit of study and instructs students to “Consult department for further information”.


Expressions of interest in applying to work as an invigilator

The University employs over 300 supervisors (or invigilators) each examination period on a casual basis. We cannot guarantee work in each session, as both the number of existing supervisors and the amount of supervision required varies. Two examination periods each of two weeks duration are conducted each year, in Semester 1 (June) and in Semester 2 (November).

A person seeking employment as an examination supervisor is required to submit a CV, complete an application form and meet certain criteria specified by the University before being considered eligible for work allocation. Supervisors must be energetic and fit, with good mobility, sight and hearing and be able to carry reasonable weights of examination booklets and materials.

Examinations are conducted in large and small examination rooms, and are also held in special rooms for students with disabilities requiring special conditions. Supervisors are assessed by Presiding Supervisors for suitability and may from time to time be promoted as vacancies arise. Qualities valued by the University include reliability, punctuality, attention to detail and a capacity to remain observant for long periods and importantly, the ability to relate easily to both students and other staff. The maintenance of a calm and cheerful demeanour in any situation characterises the best supervisory staff.

Please complete the Examination Supervisor Application Form and return it to the Examinations Office, Student Centre, Level 3, JFR Bldg G02, University of Sydney 2006, or by fax to 8627 8280. If you are selected, we will be in contact (usually in April and September for semesters one and two respectively) to ask you to attend a training session, which normally occurs in May or October, before the June and November exam periods. Applicants who indicate that they will attend the training session will be sent the Examination Supervisor Manual which they should read before the session, along with various administrative forms related to their employment at the University. Examinations staff will conduct the session, which covers the duties of supervisors and the terms of their employment, with the opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

Applicants are required to attend a training session before any work can be allocated to them.


List of files for downloading


University policies and procedures relating to examination of coursework

Staff who are responsible for the examination of coursework should be familiar with the following documents:


Entering your examination schedule information online (June and November exam periods only)

Please ensure that you have the following details before logging in: Your Unikey login and password; the exam's UoS code(s); the UoS codes of any concurrent examinations; some idea of the approximate number of enrolled students; the duration and reading time of the exam; whether the exam is compulsory or optional; your staff ID number; and whether the exam requires seating. There is a field for additional details at the end of the page.

Simply go to http://web.timetable.usyd.edu.au/exams/examSchedule.jsp, use your Unikey details to login, and enter your exam information. You should read the notes associated with each query and if necessary consult the Guidelines for arranging a timetabled examination. Your information will be reviewed by Examinations Office staff before being allocated a paper code and uploaded to FlexSIS.

Please contact the Examinations Office if you have any questions or problems.


Feedback - Contact the Exams Office

in the Student Centre, Level 3 of the Jane Foss Russell Building.

Phone: +61 2 8627 8217/8218/8216/8615
Fax: +61 2 8627 8280
Email: .