Reading time is being refocused as ‘preparation time’ in 2022.  Students participating in a written exam will have 15 minutes preparation time before the start of their two (2) or three (3) hour exam. The first year of this change will be transitionary, allowing students, schools, exam supervisors and TASC time to implement this change in practice in a supportive way.

Preparation time at the beginning of an exam session provides students with beneficial time to settle, review the exam paper and make plans on how they will approach the exam. Provide students with the infosheet Getting Prepared for 2022 Written Exams to support their understanding of this change.

What has changed?

The 15 minutes of ‘reading time’ that students are provided, in addition to the two (2) or three (3) hours of working time, has been refocused as 15 minutes ‘preparation time’.

Students will be able to read the exam paper / exam booklet, highlight or underline key words or information and make notes on the A4 note paper provided during the 15 minutes preparation time. Students may not start writing answers in the exam paper/booklet before the being instructed that working time has started.

What remains the same?

The 15 minutes at the start of a two (2) or three (3) hour exam has always been in addition to the working time provided. The intention of the original 15 minutes ‘reading time’ was to provide students with time to settle, read and plan for completion of the exam. Students will continue to be provided with A4 paper to use before and during an exam session. Written exam papers are designed to be completed within the given working time.

Why has the change to ‘reading time’ been made?

The allocated ‘reading time’ in previous years was intended to benefit students who may otherwise incorrectly approach the exam paper and their responses by providing students with time to read and plan their approach to the exam. TASC received feedback from marking teams and the members of the External Assessment Advisory Panel that students may not be utilising the ‘reading time’ effectively. The feedback indicates that students who utilise the additional 15 minutes to settle, read the exam paper, plan their approach to the exam (by making choices about which questions to tackle first and/or which questions to answer (where relevant), etc), perform better in their exam responses. Following feedback TASC conducted some research and learned that by making this change we will align with approaches in other states.

What does this change mean for students in 2022?

Students in 2022, as in other years, will follow the supervisor instructions, including waiting to write in the exam paper/booklet until instructed. Implementation in this first year will be conducted in a supportive way, as we transition to this change in practice. TASC will not apply any penalties for commencing working time early in 2022. However, students will be approached by an exam supervisor if they write in their exam paper/booklet. The supervisor will remind the student that they cannot start writing until the working time has started.

Keep in touch:

Please contact us if you have any additional questions as we implement this change in 2022. Following the 2022 external assessment period, TASC will review the process, seeking feedback from the marking teams and exam supervisor coordinators. Please contact TASC with any feedback following the assessment period.

Getting into the details

Students can read the exam paper / answer booklet, highlight or underline key words or information, make notes on the provided A4 note paper.

As in previous years the 15 minutes additional time is the same for all students. Reasonable Adjustments – extra time, is added to the working time. Eligible students receive an additional 10 minutes of working time for each hour of the exam. For example, a student with Reasonable Adjustments – extra time who is completing a two (2) hour exam receives an additional 20 minutes working time.

Yes, students may highlight or underline key words or information. However, students may not begin writing any text or numerals (or any part of an exam answer) in the exam paper / answer booklet.

No, students cannot use a calculator during the preparation time.

Yes, students can highlight key words, passages on the exam paper / booklet. However, students may not begin writing any text or numerals (or any part of an exam answer) in the exam paper / answer booklet.

In 2022, as we transition to full implementation of this change TASC will not apply penalties for commencing working time early (for 2022 only). However, students are expected to follow the instructions of the exam supervisor and will be approached by a supervisor and reminded to not start writing answers on the exam paper/booklet until the working time has started.

Students are required to follow the instructions of the exam supervisor or a penalty could be applied. Exam assessment rule 1(d), noted below, clearly outlines the expectation that all students must follow the instructions and/or directions given by exam supervisors.

Exam rules are to make exams fair for all students  All students participating in external exams must follow the same rules.

External assessment rules:
1. Conduct (d) A candidate must obey any instructions or directions given in the exam room by a supervisor.

Any apparent breach of the above rule or any other rules will be reported to the Executive Officer of TASC.

(b) The Executive Officer may decide that the apparent breach is sufficiently serious to require consideration of a possible penalty by a meeting of members of a committee formed by TASC.

(c) The meeting of members of the TASC committee will consider the circumstances of the alleged breach and determine, if necessary, an appropriate penalty.

(d) Possible penalties for candidates include:

  • cancellation of the candidate’s exam result for a particular subject
  • cancellation of all the candidate’s results for the year, for both internally and externally assessed subjects.