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Exam rules

Exam rules are in place to make the exams as fair as possible for all students, and to allow invigilators (examination supervisors) to set up exam rooms and equipment to create appropriate conditions.

The basics

If you’re enrolled in a subject or subjects that have exams, you’ll receive an exam attendance slip, which shows the exams you’re registered to attend and the relevant rules. You must bring this slip with you to all your exams.

Some rules apply to specific subject exams, such as those that may allow calculators. The following conditions apply to all exams in 2022, and will be reinforced as you prepare and practise for your SACE exams.

  • Be ready at the doors of the examination room at least 15 minutes before the examination start time.
  • You can’t enter the examination room more than 40 minutes after the starting time, or leave until 40 minutes after the starting time.
  • You must hand your answer books to the examination supervisor before you leave the exam room.
  • Some exams have a separate script book or question booklet for particular sections or questions. If you do not attempt such a section (or question), you must write 'BLANK' on the cover of the script book or question booklet before handing it in.

In addition to following the exam rules, you’ll be expected to act honestly and respect your fellow students.

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Signing the examination roll

If you have at least one external exam, you’ll be asked to sign the examination attendance roll.

This is a formal declaration indicating that you’ll comply with the rules on the examination attendance slip, including the conditions for the use of calculators.

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Use of notes in an exam

Notes aren’t generally allowed in external SACE exams, but there are some exceptions.

These notes cannot include calculator manuals, but any complex key sequences you think you may need can be included in your handwritten notes.

Handwritten notes, unmarked scores, transcriptions and charts should not be placed in plastic sleeves and should not be laminated.

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Use of calculators and dictionaries


You can use English-English dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and monolingual dictionaries in your written exams. Electronic dictionaries are not permitted.

If you do want to use a dictionary in your exam you must provide your own. The SACE Board does not supply dictionaries, but schools may prefer to provide dictionaries for exams.

Use of dictionaries in an exam is subject to the following provisions:

  • A dictionary must not contain any additional material that may provide information to help the student in the exam of the subject concerned, such as a thesaurus or maps.
  • An English-English, bilingual, or monolingual dictionary must be a printed standard dictionary, not a special purpose dictionary such as a Physics or Chemistry dictionary.
  • A dictionary used in a language exam may contain grammar sections.


The following document lists the approved scientific calculators, graphics calculators, mathematical stencils, and computers and how you’re able to use them in exams. 

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