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Make sure you're aware of exam dates and procedures

Give yourself the best chance to succeed by getting familiar with the instructions, processes and expectations governing end-of-semester exams.

Most examinations take place directly after StuVac (study vacation week), but not all. Some lecturers run exams during semester, or they issue a take-home or online paper. Read your unit of study guide thoroughly at the start of semester to ensure you’re aware of when you need to be ready.

Keep a close eye on your university email and learning management systems such as Blackboard for important announcements leading up to the end of semester.

Make sure you understand what will be expected of you during the exam. Talk to your lecturers or tutors, read your course notes, and consider organising a group study session with classmates.

Once your results are released, they will be available in Sydney Student. (Go to 'My Studies', then 'Assessments').

Examination dates, 2015

Semester 2 personalised exam timetable released 8 Oct (after 6pm)
Semester 2 exam period begins 9 Nov
Semester 2 exam period ends
21 Nov
Semester 2 results released 8 Dec

What you need to know

Instructions to be observed by candidates

Exams are governed by strict rules and regulations to ensure every student is assessed on a fair and equal basis. We strongly encourage you to read through the instructions well before the date of your exam.

  • Bring your student ID card and keep it visible on your table throughout the exam. If you forget your card, use photo ID with a signature such as your driver's licence or passport. Students without appropriate ID won’t be permitted to sit the exam.
  • You can take pens, pencils, drawing instruments, small valuable items such as wallets or mobile phones and small items of food such as sweets into the exam room. A small bottle of water in a clear container is also allowed. You cannot take pencil cases.
  • You may not take books, paper, manuscripts or notes of any kind in or out of the exam room (unless expressly permitted in advance by the examiner).
  • Small document sized bags are permitted in the exam room but need to be left in designated areas.
  • If you have a mobile phone or other electronic device with you, you need to switch it off – not just on silent – and keep it under your desk.
  • You cannot leave the room in the first 30 minutes after writing has commenced, or during the last 10 minutes of the exam.
  • You will not be admitted to the exam more than 30 minutes after writing has commenced.
  • Your room supervisor will tell you when you can start writing, and when you have 10 minutes remaining before pens must be put down.
  • At the conclusion of the exam, you need to remain in your seat until exam materials are collected and you have been given permission to leave the exam room. If you wish to leave early, attract the attention of the supervisor by raising your hand.
  • You cannot leave the exam room with any confidential papers, including the answer book, graph paper, drawing paper or any other materials.
  • Please do not loiter outside the examination room or make noise as this can be distracting to students who are still doing exams in nearby rooms.

Exam timetable clashes

Sometimes exams for two or more subjects will be scheduled on the same day. If this happens, you’ll receive an email from the Examinations Office advising you what arrangements have been made. In most cases, your two exams will be scheduled for the same day.

Typically, you will be instructed to sit one exam in the morning, and the other in the afternoon with a minimum 40-minute break.

If you have three exams clashing, you will sit two of them in one day, and the third the following day.

Students with evening exam clashes are not automatically notified – you will need to report the clash to your department or school.

If you have an exam timetable clash and have not heard from the Examinations Office by one week before the formal exam period, email

Your exam timetable

A timetable for all formal, end-of-semester exams will be available on Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’ then ‘Assessments’).

Your timetable will include your seat number, time, venue and location of your exam.

Your seat number will also be listed outside the exam room prior to the exam. If you don’t see your name, contact a supervisor.

If you don’t get a timetable, or if any of the details on your timetable don’t match your enrolment, email

Special consideration

If you have a serious illness, injury or circumstances arise that affect your ability to complete or submit an assignment, you may have grounds to apply for special consideration.

You can apply for special consideration on our Staying on Track page. Only well-attested serious illness, injury or misadventure affecting a specific assignment or exam period will be considered legitimate grounds for special consideration.

For more information on the University’s special consideration policy please refer to (Coursework Policy 2014, section 14 & Assessment Procedures 2011, section 14).

If you have a longer-term illness or difficulties, you are encouraged to contact Disability Services and your faculty.

Student misconduct

The University takes any attempt to gain an unfair advantage over other students very seriously.

If you are found taking any unauthorised aids or materials into the exam room, you risk confiscation of these items which would then be subject to a report. This may lead to misconduct proceedings under the provisions of the University of Sydney By-Law 1999 (as amended). If misconduct is proven, a range of penalties may apply including failure in the unit of study or exclusion from the University.

If you are bringing in a calculator or other electronic device such as a memory watch or watch computer, check well before the examination whether it is authorised.

With the exceptions of approved calculators, electronic devices are not permitted. This includes digital watches (analogue watches are permitted for timekeeping purposes only).

Open book/open note examinations

Open book/open note examinations are identified in the examination timetable. If you are in any doubt about a particular paper being open book/open note, you should check with the course coordinator or faculty before the examination.

Linguistic dictionaries

All exam answers should be in English, unless otherwise directed.

Students from a non English-speaking background can apply for permission to use a standard linguistic dictionary in examinations. This is usually limited to students who did not sit the NSW Higher School Certificate (or equivalent) and enrolled at the University through the International Office.

ESL students in the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery may use translation dictionaries in Year 1 of the Master of Nursing (Graduate entry), including Bachelor of Nursing (Post-Registration). Translation dictionaries are not permitted in Year 2, and no dictionaries are permitted in third year.

Dictionaries must be single-volume editions (one book only) and can’t contain images of any kind.

You need to have your dictionary approved for use. Bring it to the Student Centre at least two weeks before the examination period commences. Once checked and stamped, you can use it in examinations throughout your university enrolment.

Your dictionary may be checked during examinations for unauthorised notes or materials that may constitute academic misconduct.

Approved calculators

The Examinations Office centrally approves basic non-programmable scientific calculators for use in exams where a calculator is permitted. Calculators that meet these requirements will be given a sticker. The use of an unauthorised calculator constitutes academic misconduct.

You need to submit your calculator for approval before the end of the last week of lectures in the relevant semester.

Submit your calculator for approval at the Student Centre front counter, Level 3 of the Jane Foss Russell Building during business hours.

The Approvable Non-Programmable Calculator List details models that have been approved at the University previously.

Calculator models that are not on the approvable list are reviewed by the Exams Office and you can then collect them on the next business day.

The Examinations Office will not approve calculators if they have the following features:

  • programmable (any calculator that can have a sequence of operations stored and executed automatically)
  • capable of storing text or alphanumeric data input by a user (memory used to store intermediate numerical results obtained during calculations is OK)
  • capable of storing, manipulating or graphing functions entered in symbolic form, including calculators with a graphic display
  • capable of performing ‘hard-wired’ numerical routines for operations such as differentiation and definite integration, and the solution of equations
  • capable of performing ‘hard-wired’ symbolic manipulations such as addition of algebraic expressions, binomial expansion and symbolic differentiation
  • capable of external communication or web connectivity.

Calculators permitted for each exam are listed with the exam timetable.

You can borrow an approved non-programmable calculator from the Students' Representative Council Office: call + 61 2 9660 5222.

Bags in examination rooms

You can take a small bag into the exam room, but you need to place it in the designated area – check with the exam supervisor if you’re not sure.

If you take small valuables such as a purse, wallet, laptop or mobile phone into the exam with you, you need to place them on the floor under your desk until you are given permission to leave. You need to switch off your laptop and mobile.

Please don't leave money or valuables in your bag. The University cannot accept responsibility for the loss of any personal property.

Lost property

If you have left something in an exam room, first return to the room to check if the item is still there. If it isn’t, exam supervisors may have forwarded it the Student Centre. Items can take up to 24 hours to arrive at the Student Centre.

Student Centre staff will contact students about their lost items when possible. After 2 weeks lost property will be forwarded to Campus Security.

Access to completed examinations scripts

You can ask to see your completed examination scripts, within the script retention period (six months from the date of the release of the result). Ask the examiner or your department.

If your exam paper includes questions that are used on more than one occasion, you can only read your paper under supervision.

Some past exam papers are available on the University Library website.

What the results mean

Result code What it means
PX Pass (A,B,C Scale)
AX Absent - Fail, Supplementary Examination Awarded
AF Absent - Fail
PY Pass (A,B,C Scale)
PZ Pass (A,B,C Scale)
CP Concessional Pass
CR Credit
CA Credit (Aegrotat)
DI Distinction
DA Distinction (Aegrotat)
DF Discontinued - Fail
DS Discontinued
DC Discontinued - Not to count as failure
DP Discontinued with permission
EX Exempt
K1 Equivalent to Honours Class I
K2 Equivalent to Honours Class II, Division 1
K3 Equivalent to Honours Class II, Division 2
K4 Equivalent to Honours Class III
FA Fail
FP Fail, May Proceed
FR Failed Requirements
1H Honours Class I
1M Honours Class I and University Medal
M2 Honours Class I and University Medal (Shared)
2U Honours Class II, Division 1
2L Honours Class II, Division 2
3H Honours Class III
HD High Distinction
HS Highly Satisfactory
IC Incomplete
IE Ineligible
TO Terminating Pass, Optional Supplementary Examination
TS Terminating Pass, Supplementary Examination (Concessional)
J2 Incomplete
NE Not Examinable
OU Outstanding
PS Pass
PA Pass (Aegrotat)
PC Pass With Credit
PN Pass (Concessional)
PH Pass at Honours Level
PM Pass With Merit
SR Satisfied Requirements
RI Incomplete
SA Satisfactory
TP Terminating Pass
TC Terminating Pass (Concessional)
UC Unit of Study Continuing
US Unsatisfactory
SU Fail - Supplementary Examination Awarded
FS Fail - Concessional Supplementary Examination
SC Supplementary Examination to Count as Annual

Contact us

1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444

Student Centre, Level 3
(temporarily located on level 2, above the SciTech Library)
Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus

Opening hours:
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (during semester)
8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (during examinations)
8.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday (during examinations)

Make an enquiry