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Examinations Information for Distance Students

Students on the steps of the Information Services Building

The following general information covers most common enquiries from distance students. For detailed information about these and other matters, see the Examinations website.

Changing Your Address

IMPORTANT: The primary means of University communications with students about examinations information is through eVision and/or the student email address allocated by the University. Please note that it is your responsibility to update any change of contact details on eVision.

Did you know? You can forward your student email to an address that you use regularly. Forward it to the address you use most often now, so we can keep in touch with you.

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Contact the Examinations Office

The Examinations Office has a dedicated Examinations Officer for Distance students. You can contact them with any questions you have about distance examinations, or visit our website at:

Suzanne Mackay
Examinations Officer (Distance)
Student Administration
Clocktower Building (ground floor)
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin, 9054
Tel 64 3 479 8431 or 8237
Fax 64 3 479 5490

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Examination Periods and Personal Timetables

The University of Otago has three main examination periods:

  1. The Summer School examinations run from around mid February
  2. Semester One examinations are in June
  3. Semester Two and Full Year examinations run from mid October to mid November

The dates for these periods are set two years in advance. Check the Examinations website for specific dates for the current year.

Because of the flexible nature of study at the University of Otago, specific examination dates are scheduled and released as follows each year:

  • For Summer School - late January
  • For Semester One papers - mid-April
  • For Semester Two and Full Year papers - mid-August

Once scheduled, your individual timetable will be displayed on eVision, giving the date and start time. Once venues have been arranged, we will write to you with the details.

IMPORTANT: There are normally no provisions for candidates to sit final examinations at different times from those scheduled. Variations from the University's Examination Regulations are granted only very rarely and only in exceptional circumstances clearly beyond the candidate's control, such as bereavement or serious illness. For more information see Variations from the University's Examinations on the Examinations website.

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Examination Location

Where practicable, students will sit their examinations at a local centre based on their semester address in eVision. Some students, however, might be required to travel distances of up to an hour’s drive. Supervisors appointed by the University will attend each examination centre. Details of your particular venue will be advised by post. Date and time details will also be available on eVision, however your examination location will be as advised by mail.

Requests for a late change in your examination centre will be accepted only if the centre has been booked in advance and at least ten working days notice has been given.

Please ensure that any change of address is updated in eVision well in advance of your exam date. Please notify any late changes to the Examinations Office as well.

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Examination Rules

We strongly advise that you become familiar with the University of Otago's Examinations Rules available of the Examinations website

Alternative Examinations Arrangements for Students with Disabilities

If you have a temporary or permanent impairment, injury or chronic illness and you will have difficulty sitting examinations under conventional circumstances, please contact the Disability Information and Support Office:

Disability Information and Support
Tel 64 3 479 8235

Check the Disability Information and Support website for further information on applying for alternative examinations arrangements, including deadlines.

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Absence from Examination

If you remain enrolled in a paper, but do not sit the final examination for it, the marks for all the work you have completed which count towards the final result will be added up, including a zero mark for the final examination. This total will then generate an actual final result — which in most instances will be a “Fail”. If you decide not to sit the examination, you must notify the University Information Centre, in writing of your withdrawal from the paper(s) concerned. Refer to Key Dates regarding final dates to withdraw with and without the refund of fees.

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Special Consideration in Final Examinations

The Special Consideration in Final Examinations provision applies only where it is clearly documented that a candidate has been:

   (a) prevented from taking an examination, or
   (b) seriously impaired in an examination

through illness or other exceptional circumstances beyond his or her control at the time of, or in the 14 day period immediately prior to, the examination itself. Special Consideration in Final Examinations does not apply to illness or other circumstances occurring outside of this period.

If you have been affected by illness or other exceptional circumstances during the teaching period, you are expected to have informed your Head of Department directly at the time (not individual lecturers or tutors).


Five calendar days from the date of the last examination for which you are making an application for Special Consideration.

Further Information

You will find full details of regulations and how to apply on the Examinations website

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Final Examination Only

In most courses, if you have completed your course work satisfactorily but fail or are unable to sit the examination, you may apply for Final Examination Only enrolment (formerly called Terms Carried Over). This means that you may sit the examination on the next occasion that the paper is offered without attending teaching sessions or submitting assignments. If your application is approved, a fee per paper will be charged, but you will not have to pay tuition fees again. This concession is granted only once for a particular paper, and only for the teaching period in which the paper is next offered.

An application would not be approved if the content of the course is going to be significantly changed when it is next offered.

Further Information

See the Examinations website for application forms and up to date information about the closing dates for applications.

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Results and Recounts

Official Summer School results will be available from early March. Official first semester, second semester and full-year results will be available via eVision once confirmed.
Please note that candidates must not communicate with examiners in regard to an examination, either in the examination script or otherwise, before confirmed results are released, except through the Manager, Student Administration. To do so is a breach of the University of Otago’s Examination rules.

To apply for a recount, please see the Examinations website. Please note that a recount is not a remark.

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Email Forwarding

DO THIS NOW: Forward your University email address to the one you use most often, as follows:

  • Log onto eVision
  • Click onto "My Details"
  • Select "Email Forwarding" from the liston the left-hand side
  • Type in the email address you wish to forward to
  • Enter your password
  • Click the <Change Email Forwarding> button

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