Breaches of examination rules

NZQA regards any allegations of breaches to external assessment seriously, including examinations and portfolio submissions.  NZQA may carry out an investigation into any report of dishonest practice, concerns of authenticity, influencing, assisting, or hindering another candidate, and failure to follow instructions.

If a report is received of a possible breach of external assessment conditions, NZQA requests a response from the person or persons involved. This student response form can be sent to NZQA in electronic (DOC, 86KB) form. Upon receiving the response, NZQA may make a decision or request to meet with the person(s) (PDF, 199KB) for further clarification. NZQA uses an independent contractor to chair these meetings.

Decisions include taking no further action or issuing a written warning or imposing a penalty, such as having examination results withheld. Information giving further details on the rules and procedures about breaches for external assessment is available.

External assessment conditions

Candidates receive a Candidate Information Sheet outlining Rules for candidates and Exam instructions. Exam supervisors also remind candidates of Exam Instructions at the start of each examination. A list of banned items is available.  

Examples of behaviours that require a breach investigation include bringing any blank or refill paper into an examination room, using notes, talking to, communicating with or disturbing other candidates in any way, accessing a cellular phone or having or using an unauthorised electronic device during any examination.

External assessment in Visual Arts Levels 1 & 2, Cook Islands Maori, Korean, Lea Faka-Tonga and the Mathematics Common Assessment Task (MCAT), is administered by schools. Investigation of possible breaches of the rules in these assessments is the school's responsibility, using their own policy and process.

Reporting a breach

If you are a candidate who has witnessed a possible breach, please contact your exam supervisor, Exam Centre Manager, or Principal's Nominee. If the examination has already finished, you can still contact your Principal's Nominee.

Schools can report possible breaches of authenticity in:

  • Technology
  • Level 1, 2 and 3 Design and Visual Communication, and New Zealand Scholarship Design and Visual Communication
  • Level 3 Education for Sustainability
  • Level 3 Visual Arts
  • New Zealand Scholarship Dance
  • New Zealand Scholarship Drama
  • New Zealand Scholarship Music
  • New Zealand Scholarship Physical Education

by completing either the electronic (DOCX, 50KB) or written (DOC, 75KB) Possible Authenticity Breach Non-examination Subject form. Check instructions (and the relevant subject webpage) before completing and submitting form.

Exam Centre Managers and Supervisors report an alleged breach to NZQA by completing and emailing the electronic breach form (DOCX, 42KB) to or completing the written breach report form (DOCX, 46KB) and scanning and emailing it to Note that a hand-signed copy can also be posted to:

New Zealand Qualifications Authority
PO Box 160
Wellington 6140

Markers report a possible breach to NZQA by completing the marker irregular answer book form (DOC, 66KB) and sending a signed copy along with any examination booklet/s to the:

Subject NAF
New Zealand Qualifications Authority
PO Box 160
Wellington 6140.


Please refer any enquiries relating to breaches to

Geoff Meadows
School Relationship Manager
04 463 4394
Or Karen Eder
School Relationship Manager
04 463 4358

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