Sitting exams

Find out your responsibilities by becoming familiar with the rules, processes and expectations for exams. Know what to do on the day, where to get help and what to do if you can’t sit an exam.

Availability during the assessment period

You need to be available throughout an assessment period to sit your exams at the scheduled time, date and location. No personal appointments or travel arrangements should be taken during assessment periods. 

Assessment periods can be found on key dates and deadlines from the beginning of the year.

See below for what to do if you are unable to sit an exam.

Check your exam timetable

The exam timetable is posted online and on noticeboards at each campus. They are released throughout the year:

  • Semester: week 9
  • Trimester: week 7–8
  • Winter and Summer: week 3–4

You are responsible for checking the exam timetable for the date, time and location of your exams as well as the permitted exam aids. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your exam venues in advance.

View timetables

What to expect on the day

Before getting to your exam, make sure you’re prepared with what you need to bring and do on the day. Check you have all the essential items with you and arrive early as you will be admitted to the exam venue approximately 5–15 minutes before the start time. Bring only what you need and leave any valuables at home.

Once seated in the exam venue, you must remain silent. Check the front cover of the exam paper in front of you to ensure you are sitting the correct exam and complete your details on the attendance card, exam booklet and computer answer sheet before reading time.

The unit coordinator will attend the reading time to answer queries about the paper.

  • What to bring

    These are essential items you must bring to each exam:

    • photographic identification (ID) such as your Murdoch University Student Card, driver's licence, or passport
      • if you forgot your ID, you must stay until the end of the exam and return to the Student Centre to have your identification verified
      • if you are attending an exam centre without ID, your details will be recorded and your exam booklet stamped to note your identity could not be verified
    • writing materials such as pens, pencils, eraser and ruler (without notes).

    There are authorised materials you can bring to the exam, if needed:

    • a clear water bottle with the label removed
    • an English/foreign language printed dictionary if English is not your first language, without annotations
    • exam aids – refer to the online timetable to see whether your exam is open or closed book:
      • open book exams allow printed textbooks, notes and files
      • open book (restricted) exams allow limited specific aids
      • closed book exams usually do not allow any aids, though some might allow a calculator or printed pages of notes.

    No annotation allowed means no notes or writing allowed. Underlining, highlighting and tagging are permitted.

  • What not to bring

    These are unauthorised materials and are not permitted to be with you during the exam:

    • mobile phones must be turned off and left in your bag or handed in to the exam supervisor
    • laptops, iPads, smartwatches and other electronic devices
    • caps, hats, motorcycle or bicycle helmets and other headwear – headwear worn for religious or cultural purposes is permitted.
  • What you can and can’t do

    During an exam, your conduct is expected to comply with the University requirements for sitting an exam.

    • Smoking and eating are not permitted.
    • You are not allowed to leave the exam venue during the first 30 minutes of working time or in the last 10 minutes.
    • Raise your hand if you have any queries or wish to speak to an exam supervisor.
    • You must be accompanied by a supervisor if you leave the room temporarily during the exam.
    • You can make notes on the exam question paper during reading time only if all your answers are to be written in an answer booklet.
    • There will be no reading time for online exams.

    You are expected to:

    • listen, respect and follow the exam supervisors’ instructions
    • remain silent and seated at all times
    • stop writing immediately when instructed to do so
    • report the misconduct of other students.

    It is unacceptable to:

    • engage in unfair or dishonest practice
    • engage in disruptive behaviours
    • possess unauthorised materials
    • communicate and share answers with other students
    • leave your seat without permission
    • share stationery or exam aids
    • disrespect the exam supervisors’ instructions
    • leave the venue with exam materials
    • argue with the supervisor during or after the exam.
  • Evacuation during exams

    If the fire alarm is activated during your exam, leave all exam materials and your bag in the venue and follow the exam supervisors’ instructions.

  • Academic misconduct

    Murdoch students and staff share the responsibility to maintain the integrity of Murdoch assessments. The University takes exam cheating and dishonesty seriously. Disciplinary action may be taken under the Student Discipline Regulations if it’s found you have contravened the Exam Rules.

  • Using a calculator

    If a calculator is allowed during the exam, the information will be outlined on your exam timetable under the Exam Aids tab. Using a calculator which is not permitted can be seen as cheating, and can lead to action under the Student Discipline Regulations.

    Level 1 – basic calculator

    Basic calculators have one- or two-line screens, arithmetic functions and simple storage of numbers in a memory. They usually include % and √ keys, and may have other keys such as ^. Features differ between devices, but the main purpose is to do arithmetic.

    Level 2 – scientific calculator

    Scientific calculators are characterised by keys for mathematical functions such as trigonometry (sin, cos, tan) and logarithms (log, ln), and have several memories in which numbers can be stored.

    Level 3 – financial calculator

    Financial calculators extend basic capabilities with financial functions such as PMT, PV, FV, and may include scientific functions as well. They may be programmable.

    Level 4 – any calculator

    This category includes Basic, Scientific, Financial and also large-screen calculators with graphic capabilities, some with CAS (Computer Algebra System) capabilities. Some models use a stylus. This category does not include smartphones.

  • Arriving late

    If you arrive up to 30 minutes into the exam working time, you can still sit the exam but won't be given any extra working time.

    If you arrive more than 30 minutes into the exam working time, you cannot be admitted to the exam and should go to the Student Centre immediately for advice.

  • End of the exam

    When the exam supervisor announces the end of exam, you must stop writing and remain silent.

    You are not allowed to leave your desk until all exam materials and scripts are collected. When leaving, please check you did not take any exam materials with you by accident.

Unable to sit an exam

You should advise the University if you can’t sit an exam by contacting the Exams Office or withdrawing from the unit before the start of the exam period.

If you cannot attend an exam due to illness or extenuating circumstances, you may be eligible to apply to defer the exam or retrospectively withdraw.

If you start an exam but can’t finish due to illness or other factors, you can apply to defer the exam if:

  • you report your illness to the exam supervisor – for on-campus exams, the University Nurse will attend the exam venue and provide a medical certificate confirming your inability to complete the exam
  • less than two thirds of the exam time has elapsed
  • you submit an application to defer the exam with a supporting medical certificate within three University business days.

Where special arrangements have been made, a non-attendance fee of $150 may apply if you do not sit an exam, unless you notify the Exams Office or have applied for deferred assessment for the exam.

Alternative exam arrangements

If you have a disability or medical condition, you can apply for alternative exam arrangements. For more information, contact the Equity and Social Inclusion Office on +61 8 9360 6084.

Your alternative exam arrangements need to be finalised by the end of week 12 for normal semester exams or at least 10 University business days prior to the start of the exam period for all other exam periods.