Communicating to your students the details about their exam

Student feedback from the Semester 1, 2020 exams included the perceived need for greater consistency in examination instructions and information. Students reported confusing/conflicting information about examination procedures. Specific concerns were raised around clarity and consistency of instructions in the use of associated technologies. This feedback was anticipated, given the challenges of rapidly moving to new online, technology-assisted examination procedures.

Moving forward, it is highly recommended that staff plan early for online examinations and associated technology use in order to develop a consistent set of procedures. At the appropriate times, staff may then provide clear, plain-language instructions to students about their exam that includes:

  • Exam weighting
  • Duration of the exam
  • The exam format (Quiz, Canvas assignment, Gradescope, Cadmus, Video)
  • What students need to prepare or know before commencing the exam task
  • Explanations on best way to prepare for an open-book exam and what is allowed during an open book exam (e.g. internet searching, use of resources, effective use of notes and outlining).
  • Clear expectations regarding academic integrity and how it applies to an online, open-book exam
  • Logging in 15 minutes prior to commencement of exam time
  • Explanation about communication protocols during the exam
  • Links to exam resources for students (see below) which includes exam support service details and information about well-being during the exam period, special consideration, special and supplementary exams and alternative exam arrangements.

It is also recommended to consider at what points in the semester you want to introduce different sets of instructions. Students may, for example appreciate receiving early instructions on exam weighting and format.

Exam support resources for students

The following exam resources are available to students to help them prepare for end of semester online exams:

Example Communication to students:

Note: Please check with your local area if there is an exam information template they wish you to use.

Exam Date & Time:

Add date and time of exam AEST.
* please ensure you log onto the LMS 15 minutes prior to exam at XXX


Add weighting %


Add duration mins.

Exam format:

Provide students with a brief summary of the exams format.

  • E.g.: This exam is a Quiz with X multiple choice questions
  • This exam will be completed using Gradescope/Cadmus
Your task:

Add details about the time of tasks they will be asked to complete during the exam. Let students know expectations, the type of questions (e.g. multiple choice, short answer questions, exam style assignment) and the type of content it will cover, etc.

Exam Conditions:

This is an Open Book exam, which means that you will not be prevented from using notes or texts during the exam. However, interaction with other students is not permitted, and is a breach of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Any evidence of collusion will be investigated as potential academic misconduct. The Academic Integrity policy can be found at:

Exam preparation:

To prepare for this exam we suggest you review….

Recommended use of Authorised Materials:

Whilst this exam is open book, you will not have enough time to complete the exam if you research all the questions during the exam time. We recommend you study for this exam like you would any other and aim for a good understanding of the key areas of focus, so you can focus on crafting the best answer you can during the exam time.

Additional Materials:

If your students require blank paper to write/draw on, or another material which will be scanned and submitted as part of their exam, we suggest you mention this here.

Reading Time:

Your exam duration contains (15/30) minutes reading time. We encourage you to use this time to carefully review the exam and plan your approach and time management plan, before you start. There are no reading time announcements, so you may commence the exam when you are ready.

Time management:

Plan and track your time carefully to ensure you submit your exam on time as there are no end of exam warning announcements. (For Quizzes there is a timer and for Cadmus assignments, the Subject coordinator can choose to have a timer).

Subject Coordinator availability:

Your subject coordinator will be available online for the duration of the exam to answer questions via the Exam support chat tool. This chat tool  is to be used to ask questions directly to me if you have any confusion on the exam.

For zoom supervised exams a zoom supervisor will be in the Zoom room.


Add submission guidelines (e.g. this is a timed online exam. Once you start, a timer will commence. You may complete the exam earlier, but it will be automatically submitted for grading. (details on submission steps for your relevant exam type can be found at

Post-Exam Submission Window:
  • There is a 30-minute submission window built into the end of every Assignment exam, to assist students who may experience minor technical issues. It is intended to reduce instances of exam re-sits being necessary due to technical issues. If your Quiz has a file upload requirement, the time required for this will need to be built into the duration of the quiz itself.
  • Every exam submitted during the 30-minute submission window after the official exam end time will be marked as late by the LMS but will not be penalised.
  • It is expected that during the submission window you will scan (if needed) and upload papers to the system, so your submission won’t be considered late.
Exam support resources:

If you experience any issues during this online exam, please call Stop1 on:

  • Inside Australia: 13 6352 (select Option 1), or
  • Outside Australia: +61 3 9035 5511 (select Option 1)

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