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Preparing for your online exams

Keeping academic integrity front of mind in a post-pandemic environment
It’s that time again – end of semester exams begin next week. Whether you’re emerging from lockdown in Sydney or studying from overseas, we know exam season can be stressful. Find out what you need to know and how to get prepared for your end of semester exams.

The University understands and appreciates that students are entering their exam period from different frames of mind. And while some students have adapted well to online learning and assessment, for others it has been a struggle. The University is committed to setting students up for success and has a range of supports available.  

Getting prepared for your exams

We strongly encourage you to access the University’s approved resources which have been specifically designed to help you with proctored exams:

  • Practice tests can be completed ahead of time. Almost 90% of students completed a practice test in 2020, and most reported an easier experience when doing the real thing, so it’s worth not leaving 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 in which to take your exam. There are limited on-campus (Camperdown) computer spaces available so be sure to explore all other options first. Covid precautions such as physical distancing will be adhered to 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 10pm and 7am 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.
  • You can 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 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 Counselling and Psychological Services. Set yourself up for success and reach out early.

Take the initiative to seek help early regarding any instructions about the upcoming exam. Accepted materials, devices and accessing course material online for open book assessments is a good place to start. Ask the coordinator or teaching team if you are unsure of the requirements.

Do not trust any private services, tutoring, or assignment help services that aren’t affiliated with the University. Speak with 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 Exam Prep site. If you are struggling with your unit of study or preparation, the University has a wide range of resources to assist you.

Preparing for your proctored online exam

Some of you will be familiar with proctored exams. As a reminder to all students, a proctored exam is 100% supervised and reviewed for potential academic integrity breaches. The University has a dedicated team that investigates and escalates breaches of Academic Integrity standards to faculty teams for further investigation.

To give you the best chance of success, we have put together the Top 5 Tips for taking ProctorU exams:

Five tips for taking ProctorU exams


Sit directly in front of the camera so that your face is in full view. Both eyes must be visible to the camera, so make sure your webcam is positioned correctly.


Make sure you know what materials are permitted during the exam. You cannot use your mobile phone or any other external device during the exam. 


Don’t wear headphones, either 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 you 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. Note that for Record+ exams this is the step immediately after you are asked to take a photo.


If you experience technical difficulties that impact your process in the exam, submit a special consideration application immediately after the exam is completed. Make sure to attach any relevant supporting documentation.

Cheating - understanding the consequences

The Office of Educational Integrity has noted a significant spike in breaches in the pandemic period, with a high number of students seeking support online from sources unaffiliated from 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 University is deeply committed to ensuring the integrity of its educational programs and treats integrity breaches seriously. As a result, the academic consequences for cheating are numerous:

  • You may be required to re-sit an examination
  • You may 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 impact your student visa which could jeopardise your ability to remain in Australia for your study

Office of Educational Integrity Senior Manager, Rebecca Dinnie advises, 'Students are more vulnerable than ever. We are seeing serious incidents where students are being pressured to pay for online assistance, have been blackmailed by these malicious sites when they change their mind about receiving help or refuse payment, and this is leaving a devastating personal consequence for our students beyond the academic penalties that apply.'

Academic Integrity is everyone’s responsibility. That means the University, its process and policies, its staff, and its students. Through the student lens, this means:

  • Submitting your own work
  • Sitting your own tests and exams
  • Reporting a suspected breach of Academic integrity

If you're involved with something that doesn't feel right, you can report anonymously to the Office of Educational Integrity.


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

Last updated: 15 November 2021

3 June 2020

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