Attending your face-to-face exam

You’ve got this!  You prepared yourself before exam day and have checked you have what you need.  So, what’s going to happen next?  Here’s an outline of what to expect on the day of your face-to-face exam, as well as some tips on how to make exam day successful. 

Brain food

Start the day with a healthy, balanced breakfast. Think protein and complex carbs (low GI) that will slowly release energy over several hours. Don’t forget to stay hydrated (but not so much that you need the toilet every half hour!)

Dress accordingly

Think comfortable. You don’t want to be distracted by noisy material or jewellery that bumps on the desk.  If the weather is cooler, you can wear your jacket in the exam room, but you will need to place it on the back of your chair so the pockets can be checked by UniSA staff before you wear it in the exam room.

Take everything you’ll need

Student ID … check!

Pens and pencils in a clear bag ... check!

Other permitted items for the exam – this could include a calculator, dictionary or a specific book ... check!

Leave home early

Don’t get caught out by the train or bus running late, or a car accident slowing traffic down.  Leave a little bit earlier to ensure you arrive in plenty of time.  See if you can get there early enough to relax and grab a coffee!

Positive thinking

Exams can be stressful.  When you’ve got a lot on your mind it can be difficult to focus. Thinking about previous positive experiences will help improve confidence. Take a few slow, deep breaths, sit up straight, and just relax.

TIP: If you feel butterflies in your stomach, trick yourself into thinking you’re excited. This sounds weird, but it’s surprisingly effective. The feelings you get when you’re excited and anxious (butterflies in stomach, racing heart, perspiration, goosebumps, etc.) are very similar.

TIP: A positive attitude keeps your mind open, it keeps your body relaxed, and it makes it easier for you to concentrate and recall what you have learned.  Sometimes the best way to relieve stress is to not talk about the topic but, instead, just take a break and let your mind relax.

Exams will commence at 10:00am and 4:30pm.

The exam room will usually open approximately 10 – 15 minutes prior to the published start time.  You will be invited to enter the room once it is ready.

BE WARNED: if you arrive 30 minutes after the published start time of the exam you will be refused entry.

Once inside the exam room you must locate your seat quickly and quietly.

Your student ID (and Access Plan if applicable) are to be placed and remain on top of your desk, visible to UniSA staff at all times.  These will be validated during the exam, so if they can’t be accessed by UniSA staff easily, they will need to interrupt you to complete this process.  You probably want to avoid this.

Do not turn over your exam paper until you are instructed to do so

  • Remain seated and silent at all times
  • Place your UniSA ID card with the photo facing upwards at the top right side of your exam desk
  • Listen carefully to any announcements from UniSA staff

During reading time

You can:

  • Read the exam question paper
  • Complete your student details on the required attendance form(s) and any answer booklets issued
  • Make notes on the scribble/scrap paper provided
  • Annotate* the exam question paper (only in the case where the exam question paper is not also the answer paper)
  • *Annotation may include highlighting and underlining. It does not allow for Post-It notes to be used.
  • Open permitted books if it is an open book or part open book exam

You cannot:

  • Make any annotations* in an answer booklet, on a multiple-choice answer sheet, or the exam question paper if it is also where answers are to be written * in a part open book exam, any allowed reference books are not to be annotated, including the use of Post-It notes
  • Use your calculator
  • Get up from your desk
  • Lend or borrow items from other students (this is applicable for the duration of the exam)

Throughout the exam

  • Please do not leave your seat without the permission of UniSA staff.
  • If you wish to use the toilet during your exam, raise your hand to get the attention of UniSA staff.
  • If the UniSA staff member indicates that you may leave the room, please use the nominated bathroom and then return to your desk as soon as possible. If there are several students who wish to use the toilet at the same time, the UniSA staff member may indicate for you to wait for a few minutes before leaving the exam room.

Illness during an exam

  • If you fall ill during an exam, you MUST advise the UniSA staff before leaving the exam room.

Leaving early

  • You cannot leave your seat until 30 minutes after the published exam start time, except in exceptional circumstances or emergencies. Please make sure you visit the toilet before you enter the exam room.
  • If you finish early, raise your hand and stay in your seat until UniSA staff have collected your exam materials.
  • Leave the room as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing other students.
  • If you finish your exam in the last 10 minutes of the exam, you cannot leave your seat. Please wait quietly while other students finish their work.
  • If you leave the exam room early you will not be permitted to return to the exam.

When your exam has ended

Before your exam time has finished:

  • You will be advised when there is 10 minutes left.
  • Make sure you have recorded your name and student ID number on the cover of all exam materials.

When your exam has ended:

  • You must remain in your seat until a UniSA staff member indicates that you can leave.
  • You must hand your completed examination paper, answer booklets and scrap paper to UniSA staff.
  • You will be asked to exit once all exam papers have been accounted for. Please be patient and wait quietly; do not talk to any other students during this time.
  • Once instructed, leave the building quickly and quietly taking all your belongings with you. You must not remove any items that you did not bring in with you.


Remember to follow the instructions of UniSA staff and try to relax – after all your preparation and planning, you’ve got this!   

Students are permitted to request ‘temporary leave’ to attend the bathroom during the exam.  You must only use the nominated toilets – if you leave the building you will not be allowed back in for any reason.

Your departure and return time will be recorded and sent to the Course Coordinator with your completed exam paper.

Please expect to queue and/or wait to use the toilet.

You will be required to empty your pockets and present all items prior to entering the bathroom.