Booking and undertaking your Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA)

If you are required to complete the CSPA as part of your TAFE SA application, the following information will help you to prepare.

It is important to familiarise yourself with what is expected of you prior to attending and to be aware of the options and support available to you.

Information available on this page includes:

  • Booking into a CSPA session (SATAC applicants only)
  • Important information to know before attending including what to bring with you, what to expect during a session and system requirements (Online session only)
    • Preparing for an Online CSPA session
    • Preparing for an On Campus CSPA session
  • Getting support to undertake the CSPA
  • What happens after completion of the CSPA
  • CSPA frequently asked questions

Additional resources specific to what the CSPA is and why you are being requested to complete the CSPA are available on the TAFE SA Website.

Wondering why you need to complete the CSPA? Watch this video to find out more.

  • If you are required to complete the CSPA as part of your SATAC application process, you will receive an email from TAFE SA requesting you book into a session using the online CSPA Booking Tool. Bookings can only be made after you have received your booking email, which provides your unique username to login.


    The CSPA is completed using a computer and you have the option to attend a CSPA session Online or On Campus. The main differences between Online and On Campus is the structure and facilitation of the sessions. Online sessions can be completed at any location convenient to you, whereas On Campus sessions provide you with the facilities to complete the CSPA at a selected location.


    Both Online and On Campus CSPA sessions:

    • are completed using a computer.
    • use the same online tool.
    • are supervised by TAFE SA staff members.
    • follow the same time and attendance regulations.

    To help you decide which session option is suitable to your needs, you are encouraged to review Preparing for an Online CSPA session and Preparing for an On Campus CSPA session below. Further resources such as our CSPA frequently asked questions or Getting support to undertake the CSPA may also be useful in making this decision. 

  • Online CSPA sessions are completed using a computer and can take up to 3 hours. They are held online via platforms Blackboard Collaborate for facilitation of the session, and ACER for access to the CSPA tool.


    Once you are booked into a session you will receive a confirmation email advising of your session date and time.


    The sessions are supervised by staff members who are there to support you.


    To take part in an Online CSPA, you are required to:

    • show Photo ID to the facilitator (once in your private room) 
    • use a reliable device such as a laptop or desktop computer - phones or tablets cannot be used to complete the CSPA.
    • have a working webcam, microphone and speakers (all sessions are supervised and require the webcam and microphone to always remain on).
    • have a strong and reliable internet connection.
    • have access to Google Chrome (preferred), Safari or Mozilla Firefox.


    Sessions begin with a short presentation to the group to make everyone comfortable with the online platform. You will then be moved into an individual private room to begin the CSPA.


    It is recommended you:

    • undertake the CSPA in a room or area where you will not be disturbed by family members, friends, or pets.
    • login 15 minutes prior to your session to get settled and navigate the Blackboard Collaborate platform.


    If you do not have Photo ID, you will be unable to complete the CSPA and will be rebooked into another session.

    Contact us on 1800 882 661 if you do not have suitable computer equipment and can not attend an On Campus session, we may be able to provide alternative support.

  • On Campus CSPA sessions are conducted at various campuses across South Australia. Facilitators will host a group of applicants to sit the CSPA together. On Campus CSPA sessions are completed using a computer and can take up to 3 hours.


    Once you are booked into a session you will receive a confirmation email advising of the campus, date, time, and room information.


    You are encouraged to arrive with enough time to find a car park and check-in to the session at least 15 minutes prior to start time. Campus maps are available here to assist in familiarising yourself with the room and car parking locations.


    To take part in an On Campus CSPA, you are required to:

    • show Photo ID to the facilitator upon arrival
    • arrive ready to begin the CSPA at the scheduled time. If the session has started, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to sit the CSPA, and you may be booked into another session.


    The facilitator will show you how to access the CSPA and once all participants have arrived, you will begin. You can use pen and blank paper if required, however no personal calculators or phones can be used. Please also bring a bottle of water, if required.


    If you do not have Photo ID, you will be unable to complete the CSPA and will be rebooked into another session.

  • There is support available to all applicants who are required to undertake the CSPA. Details about the support available is outlined below. You can also watch our video 'Support for the CSPA' for more information.

    Undertake the CSPA from home, or a location of your choice.
    There is no need to attend a TAFE SA Campus to undertake the CSPA. If you have access to a computer with a webcam and a reliable internet connection, you can elect to book into an Online session. You will also need your phone on standby in case we need to contact you.


    Take as much time as you need to complete the CSPA.
    On average, people spend approximately 1hr to 1.5 hrs to complete the CSPA, however you have up to 3 hours available in your booked CSPA session. If you have not completed the CSPA at the end of the 3 hours, you can book a time to come back and complete it another day.


    Take breaks when you need them.
    Throughout the CSPA session, you can take short breaks to have a drink, refresh your mind, use the toilet etc. We just ask that you let the CSPA supervisor know you are taking a break.


    Ergonomic chairs.
    Ergonomic adjustable computer chairs are available for use in the computer suites used for the CSPA sessions at TAFE SA.


    Choose your preferred location in the room.
    You will be able to select the computer desk you use for the CSPA, so you can choose to sit at the front, back or side of the room. Please arrive early for your CSPA session if you have a preferred seating arrangement and discuss this with staff when you check in.


    Use the built-in calculator for the maths/numeracy questions.
    The CSPA software has a built-in calculator.


    Use your personal headphones to avoid distractions.
    If you would find it useful, you can use your personal headphones to avoid distractions.


    Support workers can accompany you to the campus.
    Support workers or family members can accompany you to the campus and are welcome to wait for you in the foyer/common areas of TAFE SA whilst you undertake the CSPA.


    If you have any problems.
    Our friendly TAFE SA staff provide instructions at the commencement of the CSPA, and if you have any concerns during the CSPA, just let them know and they will do their best to help.


    Individual support.
    Some applicants may require other types of assistance to undertake the CSPA. If you think you may need individual support, get in touch early as it may require some time to put things in place. A Student Services staff member can answer your queries and work out a plan if you need extra support.

    We recommend you book an appointment at least 7 days prior to your scheduled CSPA session to discuss your individual circumstances. You can book an appointment online or by calling TAFE SA Customer Support on 1800 882 661.

    If you need individual support or adjustments for the CSPA, you will need to provide documentation from a treating practitioner. This can be a medical practitioner, psychologist, or other accredited health specialist. You can use the TAFE SA Medical Practitioner Report or provide a letter written by your treating practitioner.

  • Successful applicants are notified of offers via email. Check our key dates to find out when offers are made.

    If you are successful in receiving an offer, you will be invited to attend an Information & Enrolment Event where you can talk to a lecturer, discuss your CSPA, select your timetable and enrol.

    Please make sure to check the Course Admission Requirements (CAR) section on the TAFE SA Website for each course  you have applied for to ensure you have completed all application requirements. You can also log into your SATAC application to check if you have met the CAR.

    • Am I guaranteed an offer after completing the CSPA?

      For most courses offers will depend on when you applied for your course, not your CSPA results. If you have applied for a competitive course, your results may be considered when being made an offer.

      If I am applying for a competitive course and do not meet the required levels can I sit it again?

      Yes, you can re-sit the CSPA after three months. However, this may mean you may have missed the current offer round and you may need to wait for the next intake.

      What is a CAR?

      CAR = Course Admission Requirements

      Each course may have certain admission criteria you need to meet. We recommend checking your course on the TAFE SA Website for more details.


      What courses use CSPA for offers?

      We recommend checking your course on the TAFE SA Website for more details.


    • Can I get my results?

      Results are not issued directly to you, however, your results will be discussed with you during your Information & Enrolment Event or Phone Counselling Session.

      Do I pass or fail the CSPA?

      When completing the CSPA for a subsidised course, there are ‘required levels’ that need to be met.

      • Requirement for Subsidy - If you fall below the required levels, this does not prevent you from being made an offer and you may be required to complete a bridging unit alongside your course.

      • Requirement for Course - If you do not meet the required level for an offer you will be contacted by TAFE SA to discuss further options.


      What is a bridging unit course?

      A bridging unit is a course designed to increase your skill levels if you have not reached the required levels in the CSPA. For example, if you are slightly below the required level in numeracy you would enrol in a numeracy bridging unit. This is a requirement to receive subsidised funding, and is used to assist you to be successful in your study. There is no charge or fee for bridging units, and they run once a week for 8 weeks. You still attend classes for your course.

      When will I know I need a bridging unit?

      You will be informed at your Information and Enrolment Event, where you are given the opportunity to select an appropriate date from the bridging unit timetable.


    • If I don’t do the CSPA what will happen?

      • If your course fees are subsidised by the government, you will be unable to access this subsidy (which means you will have to pay the full fees for your course)
      • Your lecturers will not be able to identify if you will need learning support during your studies
      • It may hold up your offer for your course and prevent you from attending an Engagement Activity such as an Information and Enrolment Event
      • You will be unable to register/enrol into your subsidised course

      I have a Bachelor’s degree or another higher education qualification, why do I have to do the CSPA?

      If your course fees are subsidised by the government and you wish to access the subsidised rate, the Department of Innovation and Skills stipulates that all applicants must sit the CSPA regardless of other qualifications.

      I am currently in a qualification at TAFE SA but need to do the CSPA again. Why?

      The CSPA is required for each subsidised course studied. If you are moving from one qualification to another you may need to sit the CSPA again as the levels required are different for each qualification. For example, you may be moving from a Certificate III to a Diploma.


    • Can I bring my children to my CSPA session?

      Attendees are unable to bring children to CSPA sessions. 

      Can I go back after I have finished a section?

      If you are still in a section you can review your answers, however, once you have clicked the finished button you cannot go back.

      What computer facilities are required to complete the CSPA Online?

      Along with a reliable internet connection, webcam, microphone and speakers there is a minimum technical specification that must be met for the CSPA Platform to function properly, these are as follows:

      Supported operating system

      • Windows XP, 7 or 8
      • Mac OSX all versions

      Supported internet browsers

      • Google Chrome (preferred)
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Internet Explorer version 10 or higher (with compatibility mode switched off)
      • Apple Safari

      Can I resit the CSPA multiple times?

      You can re-sit the CSPA after 3 months and then 3 months later if needed.

      Can I use my old CSPA for my new application?

      You can apply to use prior CSPA results, providing it has not been allocated to another Subsidised Training course, and is not more than 12 months old. There are several checks to be completed before this can be approved.

      Does the CSPA cost anything to attend?

      No, the CSPA is fee free.


    • Can someone help me to complete the CSPA?

      The CSPA must be completed by you only. Your identity is confirmed upon your arrival to the session.

      What if I have a medical condition?

      Support is available for Applicants/Students with a Disability/Medical Condition.

      If you are living with a medical condition or disability, you can learn more about the support available to you in the FAQ support questions below and by watching our video 'Support for the CSPA'.

      Student Services are available to discuss your concerns related to health, disability and other issues by booking an appointment via the TAFE SA Student Website – Disability Support. If you think you may require individual adjustments to the CSPA, we recommend that you connect with us at least 7 days prior to your booked session.


      I haven’t done any study for a long time and I am worried about the CSPA.

      That’s okay! TAFE SA has many students from all walks of life and it’s normal to feel nervous when starting something new. You may not have studied for 20 years, or not finished school. You may be a parent returning to work or just moved to Australia. The important thing to remember is that we are here to support you, and that completing the CSPA allows us to see how we can offer you additional support.


      Can I practice for the CSPA?

      TAFE SA offers an online short course "Preparing to Undertake the CSPA" at a cost of $20. This will assist you in preparing for the CSPA.


    • Do I need to do it if I am not using it for Vet Student Loans?

      Yes, if the course fees are subsidised by the government. Please visit the TAFE SA Website for more details.


      Does this guarantee my Vet Student Loan?

      No, VET Student Loan eligibility is based on several different criteria. If applicants display competence at or above Exit Level 3 in reading and numeracy in the CSPA, the results can be used as academic evidence. All other eligibility criteria must be met. For further information on Vet Student Loans click here.


      If I am a Full Fee-Paying student do I need to do the CSPA?

      No, unless you need CSPA to meet the academic requirements to receive VET Student Loans.


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