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Preparing for and sitting examinations

Students reading in Library

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What to expect

Once the examination timetable has been finalised, each student's examination information will be displayed in the Timetable section of their eVision portal.  

As per the University of Otago Examination and Assessment Regulations, candidates are expected to sit their final examinations as scheduled. In exceptional circumstances, clearly beyond the candidate's control and known about in advance, a Variation to the Regulations may be granted.

The standard start times for University of Otago examinations are 9:30am, 2:30pm, and 6:30pm (please note that the timetable uses 24-hour time), and most examinations are two or three hours long.

There is no provision for a separate reading time during University of Otago final examinations. Candidates are admitted into an examination room five minutes before the start time. Examinations are held in rooms across the Dunedin campus and, in the case of Distance Learning students, venues in New Zealand and overseas.

All candidates must read the Examination Rules prior to examinations. There is also a link to the University of Otago Examination Rules in the Examinations and Results section of the student eVision portal. The University regards any infringement of the Examination Rules very seriously. For more information, please see the Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct Information for Students.

Adverse Weather

In case of adverse weather during the examination period:

Semester One examinations

In the event of significant snowfall or other adverse weather conditions, Semester One final examinations will proceed as there are no alternative dates.

General advice for all examinations

In the event of significant snowfall or other adverse weather conditions, final examinations will be held as scheduled.

In Dunedin, if there is a forecast for such weather, some good preparations include:

  • arranging to get a ride to your examination with someone who owns a four-wheel drive
  • arranging to stay the night with someone who lives close to the University
  • leaving home early and walking into University

Students are expected to attend their examinations, unless you would be risking your own safety.

If you are located outside Dunedin and are unable to travel into Dunedin to sit your examination(s) because of roads being closed or travelling conditions being too hazardous, please contact the University Information Centre for advice.

Distance students

If you are unable to get to your examination venue because of adverse weather, please contact the Examinations Office for advice.

Support Services during examinations

The University of Otago can provide support for candidates during a time that can be stressful. Please see below for some resources that you may find helpful. If your circumstances don't seem to fit into any of the categories outlined below, please contact us or come in to discuss what kind of support we may be able to offer.

Disability Information & Support

The University of Otago is committed to supporting candidates who experience difficulty sitting examinations under conventional circumstances as a result of permanent, recurring or temporary impairment. Alternative Arrangements for final examinations accommodate the needs of these candidates to provide an equitable opportunity to participate and achieve. For more information, please visit the Disability Information & Support website.

Student Health

Student Health is committed to providing the best health care possible in a manner that is competent, compassionate, confidential, timely and in an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and respect.

Student Learning Centre

The Student Learning Centre has a wealth of experience and resources available to help you develop effective study skills. They can help with everything from developing positive study habits to preparing for examinations. They run regular workshops and have a great selection of online resources.

University Chaplains

The Otago Tertiary Chaplains can help anyone dealing with spiritual or religious questions, homesickness or grief. They provide pastoral care and a listening ear, support people of faith, or no faith, in groups or individually, pray with or for you, and provide informal worship opportunities.

Other Student Services

International Office

Māori Centre

Pacific Islands Centre

Use of calculators in final examinations

Examiners will decide on one of four available options:

  1. No calculators permitted
  2. Calculator models as specified by the University of Otago in List A of approved calculators (scientific calculators)
  3. Calculator models as specified by the University of Otago in List B of approved calculators (scientific and graphing calculators)
  4. Any model of calculator provided this is battery powered, silent, truly portable and free of communication capabilities

Prior to your examinations, please ensure that you are aware which option applies for each of the papers you are studying.

University of Otago approved calculators:

List A - Scientific Calculators:

  • Casio FX82
  • Casio FX100
  • Sharp EL531
  • Casio FX570
  • Casio FX95

List B – Scientific and Graphing Calculators:

  • Casio FX82 
  • Casio FX100
  • Sharp EL531
  • Casio FX570
  • Casio FX95
  • Casio FX9750 
  • Casio FX9860

Any version of the approved models will be accepted. Calculators that are not one of the approved models will not be permitted, regardless of how similar they may appear to the approved models. If you bring a non-approved calculator into an examination which allows approved calculators only, it will be confiscated for the duration of the examination.

Pre-examination checklist

  • check and double-check your eVision portal for the date and time of your examinations, and make sure you know where to go for all of your examinations
  • familiarise yourself with the Examination Rules
  • make sure you have approved photo ID – your Otago Student ID is preferred, however you may use a current passport or driver’s licence
  • check with the course coordinators regarding the calculator provisions for your examinations; if only approved calculators will be permitted, ensure that you will have access to one for the examination(s) concerned