It's that time of term already…whether you're super prepared or just opening the text book, here are some tips to ease the exam pain.

Exam FAQs

When is my exam?

The exam period for each term is available here. Try not to book your holiday smack bang in the middle of it. Provisional and final exam dates are released mid term (usually beginning of April in Term 1, end of July in Term 2 and beginning of November in Term 3).

Where is my exam room?

Exam room locations can be found on your personalised exam timetable available on myUNSW. Check here for maps and transport guides to all UNSW exam locations. Not being able to find the room is not a valid excuse for non-attendance and will not protect you from failing the assessment. If you're in doubt where an exam room is, try to find it a few days ahead of the exam.

What if I'm sick?

If you feel unwell before an exam, visit a doctor before the exam and try your best to attend the exam.

If you are unable to attend an exam because of sickness or misadventure, you may request special consideration. NOTE: UNSW now has a Fit to Sit / Submit rule, which means that if you sit an exam or submit a piece of assessment, you’re declaring yourself fit to do so and cannot later apply for Special Consideration.

What happens if I forget my student ID card?

You have to provide other official photo identification such as a driver's licence or passport during the exam.

If you have no photo ID, you have to visit the Exams Team with appropriate photo identification before the end of the exam period.

How do I get my calculator approved?

Ensure your calculator is on the approved list.

Get your UNSW Approved sticker from your Faculty office.

What happens if I forget my calculator?

If you forget your calculator, you can hire one from Arc! Just pop by Arc Reception, and they'll get you sorted.

What happens if I've lost something at the Racecourse?

All items left behind at the Racecourse during exams will be held at EM Assist.

What can I take into my exam?

  • UNSW Student ID Card
  • UNSW approved calculator - must have an 'UNSW approved' sticker
  • Special materials as specified - e.g. drawing instruments: compass or protractor
  • If your exam is open book - any hardcopy textbooks or notes
  • Watch - but it must be kept under your desk. Due to crazy technology advancements, you are no longer allowed to wear it on your wrist or have it on your table.
  • Clear, colourless water bottles without a label
  • Wallets - provided it is kept under your desk
  • Electronics: mobile phones and iPods or MP3 players - provided they are switched off and kept under your desk.

Before the Exam

Calculator Approval

UNSW has very strict exam rules about approved calculators. If your calculator is not on the approved list and doesn't have a 'UNSW Approved' sticker you cannot bring it into exams. If you are an international student using a calculator from another country, be sure to check whether it is on the list of approved calculators and be sure to get it approved.

Forgot to get your calculator approved? If you're on campus, you can get your calculator approved by your faculty.

Student ID Cards

Your UNSW student ID card must be displayed on your exam desk for the duration of the exam.

If you forget your student card, you have to provide other official photo identification such as a driver's licence or passport during the exam. You then have to visit the Exams Team with appropriate photo identification before the end of the exam period.

Exam Location

Make sure you know exactly where your exam is held, prior to your exam. Exam locations can be accessed via your personalised exam timetable available on myUNSW. Exams are held either at the UNSW Kensington campus or the Randwick Racecourse. If you are unsure of where buildings are, maps can be found here.

Study Spots

Everyone has their favourite spot on campus to get down and dirty with revision, but we have a few favourites. Check out our picks for study spots here

Going to the Exam

Travel Time

If this is your first term at UNSW, the exam period can feel a little intimidating. Avoid unnecessary stress by knowing exactly where your exams are held, and allow enough travel time to the venue taking into account traffic, parking time and the possibility of delays on public transport. If you turn up more than 30mins late to an exam, you won't be allowed inside.

Public Transport

The easiest way to get to exams is via public transport. Keep in mind that delays may occur, so be sure to constantly keep an eye out for any updates on delays. Express buses between Central and UNSW will stop at Randwick Racecourse; however there is no shuttle bus service between campus and the Racecourse. More information.

Driving and Parking

Kensington campus - There is paid parking available at the Kensington campus.

Randwick Racecourse - Limited parking is available at the Racecourse. Enter via the main gate on Alison Road. Drive carefully inside the racecourse as you may be sharing the road with horses.

At the Exam

Taking Things Into Exams

Things you CAN take into an exam:

  • UNSW Student ID Card
  • UNSW approved calculator
  • Special materials as specified - e.g. drawing instruments: compass or protractor
  • If your exam is open book - any hardcopy textbooks or notes
  • Clear water bottles without a label - examiners no longer provide water so make sure you've got the right water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Wallets - provided it is kept under your desk
  • Electronics (mobile phones, iPods, MP3 players) - provided they are kept under your desk. Make sure your turn all electronics off! If any device makes a sound, you will be in breach of the examination rules.

It's always a good idea to double check what is allowed in the exam room with your lecturer.

Things you CANNOT take into an exam:

  • Liquids other than water - sorry caffeine addicts
  • Water bottles that are coloured, not clear or labelled
  • Food
  • Pencil cases
  • Bags

Leave your valuables at home as there isn't always a safe place to store valuables and the examiners or the University are not responsible for stolen goods.

Food at the Racecourse

There is no food available for purchase at Randwick Racecourse. Be sure to pack your own food.

Exam Conduct

Exams and exam rules are serious business. DO NOT CHEAT. Many students automatically fail courses if they commit academic misconduct in the exam room.

If your exam is closed book, you CANNOT bring in any notes, including writing on your body and even blank paper. If you need spare paper to plan your answer, ask for an extra booklet. If notes accidentally make their way into the room, 'fess up before the exam starts and hand them into the exam supervisor.

If your exam is open-book, read your course outline or information carefully, consult your lecturer and tutor and only bring in what you are permitted.

Remember the exam supervisors are paid to watch you and they can tell if you are cheating. Don't try any funny business, like impersonating a friend or sibling and do their exam for them, don't hide notes, and don't attempt to cough out multiple choice answers. While being a good friend is something we strongly encourage, in the exam room it is every man or woman for themselves.

It's your exam and success or failure depends on you. Study hard and put effort into your work.

Special Provisions

If you are a Disability Services-registered student you should by now have been in contact with your advisor about any particular arrangements for the exam period.

Illness and Misadventure

If you feel sick before an exam, visit a doctor before the exam.

The university has a special consideration procedure that must be followed. Be sure to provide sufficient supporting documentation to give the university information on which to base your request. Your school or faculty may have additional rules they need you to follow when applying for special consideration.

NOTE: UNSW now has a Fit to Sit / Submit rule, which means that if you sit an exam or submit a piece of assessment, you’re declaring yourself fit to do so and cannot later apply for Special Consideration.

More information about special consideration.

After the Results are Released

I can't see my marks? I can only see WC, WD or WJ?

You've got Withheld results and need to get in touch with your course authority asap. Withheld results are where results can't be finalised on time either because there is a pending misconduct investigation or an extension has been given for an assessment making it due after release of results.


If you believe your mark in an assessment task is not a fair reflection of your performance in the task, you can apply for re-assessment. You can lodge an application here.

What do I need to do?

You should first discuss your mark with your teacher first. You may find this discussion explains your results and assists your preparation for the next assessment task. If after these discussions you still do not feel that your result is justified or if there has been no change to the mark, you can apply for a review of the result.

If you are applying for a re-assessment of an assessment, you must first consult with your lecturer or Course Authority about your performance. This is very important as they must sign a recommendation for re-assessment on your application form.

You need to justify your request with reasons, and applications will be declined if insufficient reasons are given for the request.

What happens after I lodge an application?

Once you lodge your form, the Head of School will discuss the matter with the lecturer concerned, and if they believe there are sufficient grounds to warrant a re-mark, a fresh copy of the assessment task will be given to a different staff member for assessment. You can expect to receive notification of your reviewed results within about 4 weeks. If your application is declined, you will be notified through your university email.

Note: Lodging an application for a remark can result in the mark being raised or lowered. With any application there will be a re-check of the addition of your marks for the course, which could also result in your overall mark going up or down.

If you would like assistance or support with applying for a re-mark, or would like to discuss your rights or options, contact Arc Legal & Advocacy on advice@arc.unsw.edu.au

Academic Standing & Appeals

Have you got your results and your academic standing is Referral or Probation?

If you're on Referral or Probation you'll be told to go and see an Academic Advisor in your school. You must try to work out with your academic advisor how to avoid failing. When you see the academic advisor (and you must!) ask them serious questions. Make sure you do not do a load which is too much for you. Make sure you know which are the hardest subjects, and if you can balance some of the more difficult ones with easier ones until you get yourself back to Good Standing and have resolved whatever problems lead to you failing.

Sometimes Academic Advisors are not members of academic staff, and will not have knowledge of the course content. If your academic advisor is not able to answer questions about the difficulty of courses, consult with individual lecturers, course co-ordinator or the director of undergraduate studies if there is one.

Also consider getting in touch with the Learning Centre, for workshops and further resources to help you get back to Good Standing.

Have you got your results and your academic standing is Suspension or Exclusion?

Suspension means that a student is not allowed to re-enrol for 12 months. Exclusion means you need to apply for re-entry to your course, and there is no guarantee of a place.

Counselling Service

There is absolutely no point in going to see a counsellor after you have been put on suspension if you expect to use your attendance at Counselling as an example of how you are resolving your problems. You need to have been attending earlier than this, and be able to demonstrate that you are attempting to resolve the matters affecting you.

Appealing Suspension and Exclusion; the re-enrolment appeals committee

If you want to appeal a suspension or exclusion, you need to present a very solid case. You should indicate to the committee what has caused you to fail and how, and then specify why these factors either do not apply any more, or how you are mitigating their impact on you.

Many students appear before the Committee. If you do appear it is extremely unlikely you will give yourself any advantage. You may even put yourself at some disadvantage. The Committee scrutinises your academic record and will ask you questions about it. It is not a pleasant experience appearing before the committee.

Your appeal letter should include everything you want to say to the committee. You won't give yourself any advantage by bringing something up in their presence which is new. The appeal must include supporting documentation if you have this, such as medical information, or letters from other professionals or trusted persons. And make sure you get your appeal letter in on time!

Should you appeal?

A final thing to remember: you don't have to appeal a suspension, and there are times when things happen in a person's life and it is best not to be studying. Don't just appeal for the sake of it - only appeal if you will genuinely be able to commit to your study next year. If the circumstances which have led you to fail still aren't resolved, you might find yourself in the same situation next time round, which might lead you to failing again, building up a huge HECS debt and risking exclusion. If that sounds like you, talk to someone before appealing. And by someone, we mean us. 

Bus Info

Find out more about bus timetables and routes here and leave plenty of time to get to your exam!


Legal & Advocacy

If you have any further questions regarding academic issues contact Legal & Advocacy.

Arc Precinct, Level 3, Basser College (off Basser Steps)

Email: advice@arc.unsw.edu.au

The Counselling Service

UNSW Psychology & Wellness offers confidential counselling for students with specific academic concerns and general personal issues that may affect academic performance. They can help you with overcoming exam anxiety, time and stress management techniques, as well as the myriad of other issues that face students before, during and after exam time. 

Drop in and make an appointment, visit the website or call (02) 9385 5418 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) 

  • Calls re-directed to the UNSW After Hours Mental Health Support Line between 5pm and 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and Public Holidays.
  • Confidential one-to-one texting with a counsellor is also available: send an SMS to 0485 826 595 Available after hours between 5pm and 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and Public Holidays.

Back on Track

UNSW Back on Track is a service for students who feel they could have done better in their exams. It involves individual support for improving your studies and offers information, workshops and a Back on Track advisor to help devise your personal study plan.

The Learning Centre

The Learning Centre offers academic support in the form of writing workshops and online resources. Students can make an appointment for individual assistance for developing skills and learning techniques, or visit the Centre to view the collection of books, videotapes, audiotapes, dictionaries and style guides to aid study.

For more information on exam rules visit myUNSW or see the UNSW Results page. 

Need more information?

If you'd like to get in touch with Arc Legal & Advocacy, you can send us an email, or book an appointment with us here.

Legal & Advocacy

P:(02) 9065 0900


H:10AM - 5PM

Arc Reception

P:(02) 9065 0900


H:10AM - 5PM

A:Gate 5 on High St, UNSW