Briefing students

Exam candidates

The Principal’s Nominee should organise an assembly for candidates before the examinations to introduce the Exam Centre Manager (ECM) who will brief candidates on NZQA’s rules and expectations. This meeting should include any candidates from other schools including Te Kura, and home schools, who will be using the school as their exam centre. In addition, a separate briefing for candidates entered for digital examinations should be organised.

It is important candidates understand that the ECM is in control of these examinations.

At this assembly, the ECM will cover a range of issues. The following should help school staff to reinforce these messages with candidates.

Before exams

Remind candidates to:

  • check examination timetables carefully and note whether the examination is in the morning or afternoon. Morning examinations start at 9:30am. Afternoon examinations start at 2:00pm.
  • arrive at least 20 minutes before the start of the exam so there is time to find their examination room by checking the central information area or notice boards. Reporting times for digital examinations may be earlier to allow for set up of computer equipment and logging on to the exam. Digital candidates will be told about the start times of their digital exams by the school.
  • bring their admission slip. If they do not have their admission slip with them, they must get reprinted slips signed by the Principal’s Nominee (or their delegate) or Principal before they enter the exam room.
  • check that their personal details on the admission slip are correct, including the standards they are sitting for each exam session
  • remember their exam code as exam room seating will be arranged in exam code order
  • sit at the assigned desk in the correct exam room as shown on the seating plan or as directed by a supervisor
  • listen to the important information that is read to them at the beginning of each exam session. Candidates arriving late will be given a copy of this information to read and a form to sign to indicate the information has been read before they can start the exam. Any candidates arriving after the first 30 minutes of the official exam start time will not be allowed entry. In exceptional circumstances e.g. major traffic delays/gridlocks or accidents, candidates may be allowed entry to an exam after the first 30 minutes once NZQA has been contacted in Wellington by the Principal's Nominee and approval has been given. Candidates who miss an exam because they forgot the day or start time are not eligible for a derived grade.
  • check to make sure that no unauthorised material is taken into the examination room; in particular notes, lined refill paper and mobile phones.

Entering the exam room

Candidates must bring the following into an examination room:

  • admission slip
    • If candidates forget their slip, tell them how to get a copy. The Principal’s Nominee or office staff should have a copy of each admission slip or the ability to quickly print them off the school’s login to the NZQA website [Reports – Exam Reports]. All reprints of admission slips must be signed by the Principal or Principal’s Nominee (or their delegate)
    • Supervisors may allow candidates into the examination room to commence their examination without a slip. However, candidates without admission slips must be held until the end of the examination session for supervisors to complete a formal check and confirm the candidate's identity.
  • all necessary equipment, including approved calculators are in a clear plastic bag
  • some form of identification (e.g. student ID cards, driver's licence or passport). For NZ Scholarship candidates and candidates whose exam centre is different from the school they are enrolled at, photographic identification is absolutely necessary if a member of staff cannot be present to assist with identification.

Candidates may also bring the into an examination room:

  • an emergency evacuation pack in a clear sealable bag. Contents could include a cell phone (switched off), keys, money, bus or train pass and medicines. This bag stays under the candidate’s chair and may not be touched or opened without the permission of the supervisor.
  • water in a completely clear bottle (label removed), at the discretion of the school.

Candidates may NOT bring the following into an examination room:

  • any electronic device which has the capability to store, communicate and/or retrieve information including MP3 players and iPods, non-approved calculators, approved calculators where the memory has not been cleared, PDAs and electronic translators, programmable or blu tooth capable smart watches, dictionaries and cell phones (other than in an emergency evacuation pack.) These will be removed from candidates by supervisors and may be sent to NZQA. Supervisors will file a special report for these candidates, which may be treated as a possible breach of the rules. Full details of what constitutes a breach of the rules are available in the NZQA Assessment Rules for Schools, TEOs assessing against Achievement Standards, and Candidates 2023 on the NZQA website.
  • notes in any form
  • packets/boxes of tissues
  • lollies/food, without the agreement of the school due to medical conditions.

During Exams

Candidates need to be aware that:

  • sets of exam booklets are personalised for each candidate. Candidates must check that they are sitting at the correct desk by matching the NSN and exam code on their admission slip with those on the pre-printed labels on the set of booklets in front of them. This is particularly important if a candidate arrives in the exam room after the exam has started
  • candidates must follow the instructions of the supervisor. This includes starting and stopping writing when instructed to. Failure to do so will be seen as a possible breach of the rules and may result in a formal investigation
  • candidates must only write in answer booklets which they want to have marked. If there are pre-printed personalised booklets in their exam pack for standards which they no longer wish to attempt, candidates must not write on, or in them in any way. Booklets which have been written or drawn on by candidates in any way will be treated as ‘live’ and will be marked according to the appropriate assessment schedule. Answer booklets left entirely blank will receive a ‘standard not assessed’ (SNA) result. These results will be removed from the candidate's official Record of Learning.
  • answers received on any paper other than official NZQA paper and not countersigned by a supervisor will not be marked. This may be treated as a possible breach of the rules
  • candidates who use correcting fluid, pencil or erasable pens in their answer booklets cannot have their booklets reconsidered as there is no way of ascertaining when or if an answer was altered. Incorrect answers and mistakes should simply be crossed out in pen. (Once booklets are returned in February, candidates must not write on, or in any booklets they want to have reconsidered). NZQA treats this as a possible breach of the rules and will undertake a formal investigation of any booklets that it believes have been altered by a candidate after the examinations
  • all answer booklets must be handed in to the supervisor at the end of each exam. Candidates who inadvertently take answer booklets with them at the end of the exam cannot have these marked. It is important candidates double check all material handed in

Missing an examination, or impaired performance through a temporary impairment or a non-permanent disability

  • Candidates who cannot sit an examination because of sickness, accident, injury or a family bereavement or other emergency must contact the Principal’s Nominee as soon as possible. The Principal's Nominee will give advice about eligibility for a Derived Grade application.
  • If candidates feel ill during the examination and think they performed badly as a result, or have to leave the room, they must:
    • advise the exam room supervisor that they feel unwell, and then
    • go to the Principal's Nominee as soon as they leave the exam room for a Derived Grade Application.

Other students

Schools are asked to:

  • warn all students at the school of examinations and the expectations for their behaviour in the vicinity of examination rooms
  • remind students that duty teachers will be patrolling examination areas to ensure exam candidates are not being disturbed
  • show students samples of the notices that will be displayed around school
  • inform students, well in advance, of room changes as a result of exam sessions
  • where possible, cordon off exam rooms and/or exam areas as a warning to non-exam users and visitors.
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