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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.

Semester 2 exams

Make sure you check the instructions you need to follow for your exam and remember to:

  • get your calculator approved before your exam (if required)
  • bring your student ID card
  • arrive at least 15 minutes before your exam starts.

Semester 2 results

Your Semester 2 results will be available in Sydney Student on 7 December. Go to 'My studies', then 'Assessments'.

Once your results are available in Sydney Student, they will also appear on your academic transcript.

Find out what the results mean

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, you can use your passport, an Australian state or territory driver's licence or NSW photo card. Students without appropriate ID may not be permitted to sit the exam.
  • You need to arrive at your exam venue no later than 15 minutes before your exam starts.
  • 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 of your exam (including reading time), or during the last 10 minutes of the exam.
  • You will not be admitted to the exam more than 30 minutes after your exam 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 of your subjects will be scheduled for the same time and day. We try to aviod these clashes, however sometimes this is not possible. 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, one in the morning and one in the afternoon with at least a 40 minute break.

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

In-semester exams

If you have a clash of exam-based assessments during semester, please discuss alternative arrangements with your faculty


Your exam timetable

Personalised timetables for all formal, end-of-semester exams will be available on Sydney Student from the dates below (go to ‘My studies’ then ‘Assessments’).

2016 Available through Sydney Student from
Semester 1   Friday 13 May
Semester 2 Friday 7 October

For the exam periods see the Study dates page.

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 and special arrangements

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 or special arrangements.

See our Special consideration website for more information.

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.

With the exception of approved calculators, electronic devices and watches (both analogue and digital) are not permitted.

You can check which materials you are permitted to bring into your exam through your personalised exam timetable.

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 unit of study 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 as an international student.

You will need to bring your dictionary to the Student Centre to be approved for use before taking it into an examination. Please note, this will be done on the spot but only during business hours Monday to Friday. Once checked and stamped, you can use it in examinations throughout your university enrolment.

Please note that the Student Centre can only approve dictionaries which are:

  • English to foreign language or vice versa (bilingual)
  • single-volume editions (one book only).

The Student Centre cannot approve:

  • dictionaries which contain images of any kind. This includes dictionaries that have had pages with images torn out
  • electronic dictionaries
  • dictionaries containing notes
  • foreign language to Contemporary English/American English dictionaries
  • standard English to English dictionaries
  • textbook-style dictionaries, eg accounting dictionary
  • textbooks of any kind.

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.

Approved dictionaries are checked at random 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 approved. You will need to bring your calculator to the Student Centre for approval before using it in an examination.

Calculators can be approved at the Student Centre from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

The Approvable Non-Programmable Calculator List details popular models that can be approved. Calculator models that are not on the approvable list will need to be assessed before being approved.

Programmable or financial calculators that have the following features cannot be approved:

  • 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.

The use of programmable calculators in exams where non-programmable calculators are permitted constitutes academic misconduct.

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. Exam supervisors will forward any valuable items to the Services Building. Items can take up to 24 hours to arrive at the Services Building.

We will contact you where an item can be identified as yours. You can also register your lost items.


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.


The University awards result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

Each faculty and unit of study has specific criteria for meeting the learning outcomes of each unit. These can generally be found in your unit of study outline, or contact your unit of study coordinator for further details.

What your results mean

Common grades

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a Credit a good standard, and a Pass an acceptable standard.

Result code Result name Mark range Description
HD High distinction 85 - 100  
DI Distinction 75 - 84  
CR Credit 65 - 74  
PS Pass 50 - 64  
FA Fail 0 - 49 When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.
AF Absent fail No mark When you haven’t completed all assessment tasks or met the attendance requirements.
CN Cancelled No mark When your enrolment has been cancelled.
DC Discontinued not to count as failure No mark When you discontinue a unit after the relevant census date but before the DC deadline.
DF Discontinue - fail No mark When you discontinue a unit after the DC deadline but before the end of classes for that unit.
FR Failed requirements No mark When you don’t meet the learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard, for units which are marked as either Satisfied requirements or Failed requirements.
SR Satisfied requirements No mark When you meet the learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard, for units which are marked as either Satisfied requirements or Failed requirements.
WD Withdrawn No mark When you discontinue a unit before the relevant census date. WD grades do not appear on your academic transcript.

Incomplete results

‘Incomplete’ results are temporary results used when your grade has not been finalised. This could be because:

  • you were granted an extension to submit a final piece of work due to illness or misadventure
  • your examiner needs to seek additional information before awarding your grade
  • your honours program, exchange program or placement finishes after the session ends.

When your result has been finalised, your results notice will be updated and you’ll receive an email notifying you of the change.

If you have any questions regarding an Incomplete result, contact your unit of study coordinator.

Result code Result name Mark range Description
IC Incomplete No mark Temporarily used when further information is being sought or additional work considered before a final result is given. You will not be able to re-enrol with an IC result.
RI Result incomplete No mark Temporarily used in cases where a result will remain incomplete for a longer period than the IC (Incomplete) result. You will be able to re-enrol with an RI result.
UC Unit of study continuing No mark When a unit continues in the following session. You will be able to re-enrol with a UC result.

Honours results

Your faculty or school will provide you with marking criteria specific to your honours course. If you have any questions, contact your honours coordinator.

Honours class Honours mark range (for honours up to 96 credit points)* Honours mark range (for honours of 96 credit points or more)*
First Class 80 - 100 75 - 100
Second Class / Division 1 75 - 79 70 - 74
Second Class / Division 2 70 - 74 65 - 69
Third Class 65 - 69 50 - 64**
Not awarded honours 0 - 64 0 - 49**

*Some honours courses may require you to achieve higher marks. Check your course resolutions in your faculty handbook and the Coursework Policy 2014.

**Prior to 2017, Third Class honours was not awarded for honours of 96 credit points or more. If your mark was in the range 0 to 64, you were not awarded honours.

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Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus

Opening hours:
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8.30am to 2.30pm, Saturday (during exams)

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