BENDIGO schools says Victorian Certificate of Education students now have certainty after the state government confirmed this year's exam period.
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said VCE exams would start on November 9 and finish on December 2. The General Achievement Test will be held on September 9.
The confirmed start date is a month earlier than what was originally planned.
Mr Merlino said it meant students would receive their ATAR results before the year was over.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said the confirmed dates were reassuring for students, teachers, and families.
"I think students have been nervous," Mr Pearce said. "We were advised that exams wouldn't start until December, which would have delayed the delivery of ATAR results.
"That would have been concerning and brought a level of uncertainty for the future - particularly for students who would be moving away from home to continue their studies.
"They would have had to make all of those plans later than normal, but now they are only very slightly behind the normal timetable."
Students in years 11 and 12 will resume face-to-face classes from Tuesday.
Marist College principal Darren McGregor said the timing of the exam period announcement was excellent.
"It's great that our year 12s can come in knowing clearly what they have left of their year," he said.
"They have all coped really well with learning from home but the uncertainty of their year was weighing on their minds.
"To know that they have five weeks left of this term and they know the length of term three and four is just really good."
Mr Pearce said the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority had reorganised the curriculum to allow for the changes.
"The semester one - or Unit 3 - studies have been pushed out slightly so it will run through to the end of this term," he said.
"This will provide opportunities for teachers to recap what was taught during remote learning.
"The second change is that some of the scope for Unit 4 has been taken out so the amount of studies students need to do will be slightly reduced.
"Given we now have an extra two weeks or so, those two things combined will make it quite manageable for students and teachers."
Mr McGregor said it was great the school year would not be pushed into 2021.
"If you look at the cycle of a year 12 year, they finish exams in November, and get their results and know what university they're going to by the end of the year," he said.
"All of that cycle has been part of their psyche and now that has been reassured. The uncertainty is gone now."
But Mr Pearce reminded students that the GAT - held in September - could be particularly important this year.
"Sometimes the GAT is called upon for final study scores, particularly when studies have been interrupted," he said.
"It could be could be particularly important for students to do well in it this year."
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