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10.3 Scheduling external assessment

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External assessment occurs in Term 4 on dates determined by the QCAA. The dates are made available through the External assessment timetable.

The QCAA uses finalised enrolment in subjects to minimise:

  • the number of external assessments that a student completes in one school day
  • the number of timetable clashes for students.

The EA coordinator is responsible for communicating the External assessment timetable to students. Students who do not have an MLP are responsible for accessing the External assessment timetable.

10.3.1 Timetable clashes

If a student has a timetable clash — that is, more than one assessment timetabled in the same session — the QCAA will resolve the clash.

The QCAA will notify schools of any timetable clashes via the QCAA Portal.

The QCAA will use current enrolment data to identify students with assessments timetabled for the same session and reschedule relevant assessment/s to another session, usually on the same day. Venues must administer rescheduled assessments as determined by the QCAA. It is the responsibility of schools to tell students how any timetable clashes have been resolved except in the case of adult students, who will be contacted directly by the QCAA.

Assessment rescheduled to morning/afternoon session on the same day

The EA coordinator must ensure that students sitting a rescheduled assessment on the same day as the scheduled assessment do not have any contact with students sitting the assessment at the scheduled time.

Assessment rescheduled to a different day

Students must sign an agreement that they will not engage in academic misconduct. The document will be provided when the timetable clash is resolved. The EA coordinator must upload the signed agreement to the External Assessment application.

The QCAA may undertake additional authenticity checks of the work of students whose assessments have been rescheduled.

In some cases, where approved rest breaks and extra time have not allowed a student a reasonable amount of time between assessments on the same day, the QCAA will advise the school and student of any adjustments to that student’s assessment timetable.

10.3.2 Timetable hours

The QCAA acknowledges that external assessment times may differ from some schools’ timetabled hours.

External assessment cannot be started or finish outside of the school start time window, except as approved for AARA (see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure).

Scheduled start times are communicated in the DFA. Schools may start the assessment within the session window, which begins 15 minutes before the scheduled start time and ends 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. The school start time is the time the school actually begins the assessment.

Starting times for external assessment sessions


Scheduled start time

Session start time window

School start time


9:00 am

8:45 am – 9:15 am

Actual start time


12:30 pm

12:15 pm – 12:45 pm

Actual start time

Some students who are enrolled at international schools or who have approved variation to venue arrangements will sit their external assessments in different time zones. In these instances, an adjusted local start time will be determined by the QCAA.

Where timetable clashes or additional time requirements are approved, the QCAA may schedule an assessment with an earlier start or later finish. Changes may be approved by the QCAA in consultation with the school, students and parents/carers, if necessary.

10.3.3 Misreading the timetable

Students who miss all or part of an assessment because they have misread the External assessment timetable should contact the EA coordinator as soon as possible. The EA coordinator must contact the QCAA for advice when this occurs. The EA coordinator follows the procedures for students who attend late (see Section 10.6: Administering external assessments, and for details, see the DFA).

Misreading the External assessment timetable is not adequate grounds to submit an application for AARA or illness and misadventure (see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure).

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