Assessment Matters


Watches in examinations – change to the external examination rules 2018
A2018/11 - 21 May 2018


Principal’s Nominee
All Teachers

Watches in examinations – change to the external examination rules 2018

Candidates' watches brought into an NZQA administered examination must be placed in an emergency evacuation pack under the candidate's chair. Situations in which candidates fail to do this will be treated as a possible breach of the external examination rules.

The decision not to allow candidates to have watches in examination rooms has arisen because of the difficulties faced by examination supervisors in determining whether a candidate’s watch is digital or analogue. Many digital watches resemble traditional analogue watches, and supervisors do not have time at the start of an examination to determine what type of watch it is.

NZQA is concerned that some digital watches have transmitting functions and may send and receive emails. They can also be used to store information and can be linked to hearing devices. As outlined in the Candidate Information Sheet for the NZQA examinations, you are not allowed to bring the following into the examination room:

  • any electronic device not required for a digital examination unless it is switched off and inside the emergency evacuation pack;
  • an electronic device is anything that can store, communicate and/or retrieve information.

Candidates will not be disadvantaged by this rule as clocks are displayed in examination rooms and supervisors indicate on a whiteboard how much time is left in an examination, in 15-minute segments. Candidates  who have SAC entitlement using computers in examinations have a clock available on the screen.

To familiarise students with this new examination rule, it is suggested schools apply the same procedure to their mock or practice examinations.


Please refer any enquiries relating to this circular to your School Relationship Manager:

School Relationship Manager
School Quality Assurance and Liaison
Telephone: 04 463 3000
Fax: 04 463 3115

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