What happens if you are late for an HSC exam?

Not that you’re planning to sleep in or anything. But just in case there is a car crash on your way-to-school route, wake up with a roaring fever or misread your exam timetable these are your options. Teachers throw around terms like “non-complete fail” and “zero percent” but statistically 8% of all students are faced with some sort of illness or misadventure on the day of their HSC exams and the majority of those who apply for extra marks receive them. 

So knowing what’s what in this regard is definitely worth it!

Remember you’re not in junior school anymore

Missing your exam isn't a great feeling!

Missing your exam isn't a great feeling!

The first thing to note is that that the old rules are long gone. Those days where you could sneakily buy yourself more study time by missing the period you had an assessment and doing it the next day are long behind you. 

Hopefully you’ve realised at this point that it has become more important to show up to your exams. If you haven't, I'm not sure how much I can help you. 

There really is only one chance to sit an HSC exam, and if you miss that, you won’t be given an opportunity to resit the paper. This means if you miss the boat, well, you’ve missed the boat. 

So what should you do if you’re going to be late to your exam? Whether you’ve slept in or your car broke down or there was a flood in your area, there are some standard procedures. 

Get to the exam as soon as you can*

*As long as it isn’t detrimental to youth health or anyone else’s. 

We don’t want any blood in the school quad people! 

If there aren’t any immediate dangers to your health, the best thing to do if you are running late is to get to your exam ASAP. 

First of all, call your school and let them know you are running late. 

Then hustle to your exam. 

If you are less than an hour late, you are allowed to enter the exam and automatically able to complete it as much as you are able to. 

Even if you are over an hour late, you will be allowed to enter the exam, but you will later have to fill in a form explaining why your responses should still be marked. 

It’s important if this is you to stay calm in this situation.

Don’t guilt trip yourself, focus on the exam questions you feel most able to answer, and work on getting the best possible mark you can. 

If you can’t make it to the exam location during the time of the exam, it is still important to get there whenever you can, so that you can fill in that form. 

Apply for illness/misadventure considerations

You’ve made it through the exam. The next thing you’ll need to do is submit an illness/misadventure form. 

Collect as much evidence as possible surrounding the circumstances that made you late for your exam. If you were in a car crash - get the police report. If you woke up with a fever - go get a doctors certificate. At this point, you are trying to make your situation sound as sympathetic as possible, so take your time, write only things that are true, but emphasise the difficulty of your situation. 

The illness/ misadventure form is pretty much an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story and hope that you will be allotted extra marks. 

Make like Puss it Boots and show them why you deserve extra marks

Make like Puss it Boots and show them why you deserve extra marks

If your form is accepted (and most of them are!) your marks will be adjusted baed on your assessment marks. This means if you get 30% in an exam that you were an hour late for, but your mark for your in school assessments is a solid 85, it’s likely your HSC mark will end up to be between 75-85. 

Bad news if you were hoping your HSC mark would rescue your assessment scores. 

However, the circumstances really matter. 

Unfortunately, if you are late because you slept in or you misread the timetable, you can’t apply for illness or misadventure. The HSC has no time of human error, and you will automatically receive 0 marks for the exam. 

 If you don’t have any documentation of the illness or misadventure, it is much harder for your form to be accepted. Even if there isn’t evidence that you called your principle and did everything you could to get to the exam on time.

If your form isn't accepted, you may not receive a mark for the unit or it may impact your ability to count it towards your ATAR. 

In Summary

It is not the end of the world if you are late for your exam. It's highly likely you will be able to receive an estimate mark based on your previous scores. 

Breathe. Don't freak. Go ahead and smash it out.