Preparing for your online exams

Keeping academic integrity top of mind
As the exam period approaches, make sure that you understand the guidelines for exams and how you can make sure that you act with integrity.

End of semester exams commence next week. We know this is a stressful time for students and it can be overwhelming for even the most prepared students.

The University understands and appreciates that students are entering their exam period from different frames of mind. Whether you are back on campus in Sydney or studying from overseas, it is important to know where to get help and prepare for your end of semester exams.

Getting prepared for your exams

The University is committed to setting students up for success and has a range of support available. We encourage you to access University-approved resources which have been specifically designed to help you with proctored exams.

  • Practice tests can be completed ahead of time. Almost 95% of students completed a practice test in 2021, and most reported an easier experience when doing the real thing, so it’s worth not leaving it until the last minute.
  • You can book an on-campus space to take your exam if you have technical problems or are unable to find a suitable location to take your exam. There are limited on campus (Camperdown) computer spaces available, so be sure to explore all other options first. Precautions such as physical distancing will be taken in all on-campus spaces.
  • Special consideration and special arrangements have been updated by the University. If you encounter technical problems that prevent you from completing your exam, you can submit a student declaration with any available evidence. If an exam is scheduled between 10 pm and 6:59 am in your local time zone, you may be eligible for a special arrangement.
  • You can call ProctorU on 1800 957 152 if any problems arise at the start or during the proctored exam or use the Live Chat option featured in your ProctorU student account (select the ‘chat icon’ in the lower right corner of the screen) for quick assistance.
  • Check the help centre section of the Taking Online Exams Canvas site if you run into trouble before, during, or after your exam.

Know where to go for help

Your wellbeing is our priority. If you are feeling stressed, you can access specialist help via the University’s Student Counselling Service. Set yourself up for success and reach out early.

Take the initiative to seek help about any instructions on the upcoming exam. Make sure you know what materials are allowed during the exam and ask the coordinator or teaching team if you are unsure of the requirements. If the exam is open book, check the referencing requirements. Basic attribution would be expected where you use the words of other authors in your response.

Do not trust any private services, tutoring, or assignment help services that aren’t affiliated with the University. You could be putting yourself at risk of being accused of contract cheating. Speak to your lecturer or tutor if you’re having difficulties with any of your assessments. Your teachers are there to help you learn and can provide support.

The University offers legitimate help online, too. Please visit our Preparing for exams site. If you are struggling with your unit of study or preparation, the University has a wide range of resources to assist you.

Sitting proctored exams

The academic integrity policy applies to all types of assessment, including online exams. Some of you will already be familiar with proctored exams. You should treat these as you would if you were sitting on campus – a proctored exam is 100% supervised. The University has a dedicated team that investigates incidents, who are good at sniffing cheating and collusion out. In 2021, 859 potential breaches of academic integrity in proctored online exams were reported to faculty teams for further investigation.

Tips for taking ProctorU exams


Sit directly in front of the camera so that your face is in full view throughout the exam. Both eyes must be visible to the camera, so make sure your webcam is positioned correctly and that you don’t adjust the camera during the exam. 


Make sure you know what materials are allowed during the exam. You cannot use your mobile phone or any other external device, such as a tablet, during the exam and you should log out of any messaging apps. 


Do not wear headphones, wired or unwired, unless they are a permitted resource for your exam. If you want to block out background noise, use foam earplugs. 


Make sure to show your student card or government-issued ID. Accepted forms of ID are: student card, passport, Australian driver licence or Australian proof of age card.

Cheating – understanding the consequences

The Office of Educational Integrity has observed a significant spike in breaches during the pandemic period, with a high number of students seeking support online from sources not affiliated with the university. The online environment we’re currently working in means that students are increasingly vulnerable to malicious organisations masquerading as 'online help sites and platforms'. 

The consequences for cheating outweigh feeling that you might not do your best in an exam and will be much worse than a disappointing grade. Taking a shortcut can have dire consequences for you and your future. If you are suspected of cheating, this may delay your graduation while the matter is investigated and if proven, there are serious consequences, such as:

  • You may be required to re-sit an examination, or receive a fail grade for the examination or even the unit of study
  • Serious misconduct can result in suspension from your studies or even exclusion for one or more semesters
  • For international students, this can affect your student visa which could jeopardise your ability to stay in Australia for your study.

Academic integrity is everyone’s responsibility. As a student, you should always submit your own work, sit your own tests, and take your own examinations.

If you're involved with or witness something that doesn't feel right, you can reach out for further advice or report anonymously to the Office of Educational Integrity (

We wish you every success in your end of semester exams and assessments.

Last updated: 31 May 2022

3 June 2020

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