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Examination rules

VCE external assessments include the GAT, written, aural, electronic/digital, oral and performance examinations and the Extended Investigation oral presentation.

Students are required to observe the following rules for the conduct of VCE external assessments conducted by or on behalf of the VCAA, as well as the day-to-day rules of their school and of the venue.

VCAA rules shall apply with appropriate and reasonable modifications to students who have disabilities or other impairments.

All supervisors are issued with directions for the administration of VCE external assessments and are required to report all alleged breaches of these rules to the VCAA.

Supervisors have the right to check any authorised materials that are taken into a VCE external assessment.

  1. Students must not cheat or assist other students to cheat, including taking any action that gives or attempts to give them or another student an unfair advantage in a VCE external assessment.
  2. Students must not allow, induce or assist any other person to present for a VCE external assessment in their place.
  3. Students must not present for a VCE external assessment in another student’s place.
  4. Students must not present for a VCE external assessment under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  5. Students must obey and observe all proper instructions or directions given by their supervisor.
  6. Students must provide reasonable assistance to any investigation by the VCAA in relation to a suspected breach of VCAA rules.
  7. Students attending a VCE external assessment may bring only the materials and equipment approved for that external assessment into the examination room.
  8. Students must not possess mobile phones and electronic devices that are capable of storing, receiving or transmitting information or electronic signals, such as recorded music and video players, organisers, dictionaries and computerised watches, during a VCE external assessment.
  9. Students detected with any device defined in rule 8 must, upon the direction of a supervisor, surrender that device for inspection. Any confiscated device may be retained, pending any investigation into an alleged breach of VCAA rules. Students must provide reasonable assistance to the VCAA or its agents to enable the interrogation of the device.
  10. Students must not bring into or possess in the examination room any drinks or food, except under special circumstances as approved and directed by the VCAA. Bottled water is permitted in the examination room under approved conditions.
  11. Students must not communicate with any other student while the VCE external assessment is being conducted.
  12. Students must not cause any nuisance, annoyance or interference to any other student during a VCE external assessment.
  13. Students must not remove or tear out any part of a bound reference, answer book, question/task book or question and answer book except where permitted, for example, formula sheets.
  14. Students must not remove any response material, used or unused, from the examination room.
  15. Students must not begin to write or mark their paper or response material in any way, or use a calculator, until advised by a supervisor that writing may commence.
  16. Students must raise their hand if they wish to communicate with a supervisor.
  17. Students must not leave their place until permitted by a supervisor.
  18. Students will not be permitted to leave the VCE external assessment before 30 minutes have elapsed from the start of writing time.
  19. Students will not be permitted to leave in the last five minutes of the VCE external assessment.
  20. Students must cease writing when instructed to do so by a supervisor.
  21. Students must remain silent and seated in their place at the end of the VCE external assessment until response materials have been collected and checked, and an announcement is made permitting students to leave the examination room.
  22. Students must not communicate with an assessor, before, during or after a VCE external assessment, except when communication is necessary for the conduct of the assessment.

Students arriving late

Written examination, up to 30 minutes

A student arriving late for a written examination, up to 30 minutes after the scheduled start of writing time, will be admitted to the examination room. The student is allowed the full writing time but is given no allowance for reading time.

Written examination, after 30 minutes

A student arriving late for a written examination, after 30 minutes from the scheduled start of writing time, but before the scheduled finish of writing time, may be admitted only if all the following conditions are met:

  • The principal of the host school, or the principal's delegate, recommends the student's admittance.

  • The student is admitted into the room on the understanding that their response materials may not be accepted by the VCAA. The student must be advised of this condition and must sign acceptance of this requirement on a statutory declaration.

  • The student completes a statutory declaration immediately following the conclusion of the examination declaring:

    • the reason for being late to the examination
    • the time of admittance to the examination room
    • they have not seen or read the examination question book prior to their admittance
    • they have not received any information about the contents of the examination question book
    • they understand that their response materials may not be accepted by the VCAA.
  • Appropriate arrangements can be made to enable the student to complete the examination and that it can be completed without disruption to other students.
The student is allowed the full writing time but is given no allowance for reading time.

Performance or languages oral examination or Extended Investigation oral presentation

A student arriving late for a performance or languages oral examination or Extended Investigation oral presentation may have their assessment rescheduled to an alternative time, provided the student has a valid reason for the lateness, which must be endorsed by the student's home school.


Irregularities are events that significantly interrupt and adversely affect a student's performance immediately before, or during, a VCE external assessment that are outside their control. Examples of events that can occur and could be classified as an irregularity are:

  • power failures, emergency evacuations and other disruptive events
  • printing and/or collating errors in examination question/answer books
  • excessive noise/interference
  • incorrect interpretation of examination conditions or rules by supervisors
  • procedural issues with the conduct of languages oral, performance examinations or the Extended Investigation oral presentation.
  • all or a significant number of students at your school unable to complete an examination due to COVID-19. Where an individual student is unable to complete an examination due to COVID-related health reasons or personal circumstances they will be eligible to apply for a Derived Examination Score (DES).

If reasonably possible and practical, minor disruptions will be rectified and remedied at the time of the external assessment by the supervisor, for example, replacing faulty books.

In the event of major disruptions to the conduct or administration of an external assessment, the supervisor should refer the matter to an authorised person at the school.

Irregularity applications

An irregularity application should be completed where an event has occurred and a principal (or principal's delegate) considers that, despite any remedial action taken, the performance of a student (or group of students) may have been materially adversely affected.

If a student believes that an event constitutes an irregularity that has materially adversely affected their performance in the external assessment, the student must advise the principal (or principal's delegate) in writing within three days of the end of the external assessment.

Applications received at the VCAA directly from students or their parents will not be considered. Students or parents who contact the VCAA will be advised to notify the principal of their home school.

Once an irregularity is received, a committee of senior management at the VCAA will determine whether the circumstances warrant an adjustment to the student's external assessment result and, if so, the level of adjustment that should be made. The VCAA may undertake its own enquiries before making any determination.

If it is found that an irregularity warranting an adjustment has occurred, the VCAA may, without limiting its discretion, make an estimate of a fair score by applying:

  • the calculation for a derived examination score
  • the results of the performance of the student on those parts of the external assessment not affected by the event
  • any other appropriate statistical method.

Should the score originally obtained by the student be lower than this estimate, it will be replaced by the estimate. A student's external assessment results cannot be lowered by the irregularity process.

At the conclusion of this process the school will be advised in writing of the outcome. The results issued to students will be the final results, inclusive of any special consideration that may have been granted through the irregularity process.

Closing date for applications

The VCAA must receive an irregularity application no later than seven days after the relevant external assessment.

Students should refer to their individual student assessment timetable to determine final dates for lodgement.

Only in the most exceptional circumstances will late applications be considered. No applications will be considered by the VCAA after the final VCE results have been released.

School personnel can obtain the irregularity application form as a VASS download.