Exams & Papers
Use of Computers on Exams
The Law School faculty has set the policy that the use of computers during an exam period will be within the discretion of the individual
faculty member. This includes for writing answers or for the access of information. Even when a computer may be used to compose exam answers, students may hand-write their exams; computers are not required for taking an exam.
The Academic Services and Technology Services teams work to support the use of computers on exams in a manner that balances the interests of those who prefer to use computers with those who choose to write exams by hand.
Use of computers during exams is limited to typing functions unless a faculty member specifically authorizes other uses in their exam instructions. Each student is bound by the Law School Honor Code in all aspects of the examination process.
General guidelines and restrictions:
Autumn 2016 Update: UW Law will be transitioning from Exam4 to ExamSoft. Details for using ExamSoft for finals will be available soon from Academic Services.
First-Year Midterm Exams
A mid-term exam will be given at the end of Autumn Quarter in all substantive first year courses that continue into Winter Quarter. Such exams will carry at least some credit toward the final grade in the course, and will be graded by the beginning of Winter Quarter.
Although a letter grade need not be recorded on such examinations, students should be informed of what their letter grades would be if the law school grading curve were applied to their mid-term grades (for example, it would be consistent with the policy for a faculty member to put a raw score on the exam from 0-10, but to inform students that scores of 9 and higher would translate into an A, scores of 7 and 8 would translate into an A-, scores of 5 and 6 would translate into a B+, scores of 3 and 4 would translate into a B, scores of 2 would translate into a B-, etc.).
Source: Faculty Resolutions dated February 5, 1973; June 10, 1974; June 4, 2009
General Exam Instructions
Detailed schedules and policies governing Law School examinations are published each quarter. It is the student’s responsibility to review and comply with this information. If a course is scheduled to have a fixed exam, students must sit for that exam during the designated time period. If a student has two exams on the same day, that student may file a request for rescheduling. The reschedule date must be for the next exam that relieves the scheduling situation.
Students may also petition for rescheduling based on severe mental or physical illness, or very unusual or demanding circumstances that make it unreasonably difficult or burdensome to meet the scheduled time. Exams will not be rescheduled to accommodate activities such as travel, interviews, and personal events such as weddings, reunions, etc. Exceptions may be granted only by the Academic Dean or her designate. These exceptions are granted only for serious circumstances beyond a student’s control that interfere with a student’s ability to perform. Failure to take an examination during the assigned time without making arrangements with the Academic Dean may result in a failing grade.
The exam schedule is posted on the exams webpage by the first day of each quarter.
The MyUW page on exams does not list the correct exam times for law school courses.
Law School exams are taken by exam numbers instead of by names. Students are assigned a unique exam number each quarter, available on the Course Requests page. Students are responsible for knowing their exam number prior to the start of each exam and recording it on any item submitted as part of the exam.
Exams to be taken inside designated rooms
The law faculty adopted the policy in April 2007 that "all Law School exams (other than take-home exams) be taken in designated rooms under procedures established by the deans and Academic Services." A chart, with a list of assigned rooms for exams, will be posted each exam day by room 133.
Exams will be distributed in the assigned exam room for a class beginning 10 minutes before the starting time of the exam. Typically students may enter the room and set up for their exam about 15 to 20 minutes prior to the start time for the exam.
If you have rescheduled an exam, you will be sent an email with instructions on how to pick up the exam. Please speak directly to Academic Services if you need to reschedule an exam. Do not attempt to contact the instructor about rescheduling an exam.
Seat yourself so that an empty seat or aisle is between you and the next person. Students are not permitted to share notes, textbooks, or have any conversations with other students once the exam has begun.
Writing the exam
Do not read anything other than the instructions on the cover sheet prior to the time the exam is scheduled to begin. At that time, check to be sure that you have all the pages and that they are legible. Write the course name and number on your bluebook, CD, diskette, or USB drive. Write your exam number on each bluebook in the space provided for name, not your name.
Students are required to provide their own 8 ½ x 11 bluebooks. Do not use the smaller sized bluebooks. Bluebooks are available at the University Bookstore.
Students need to be sure to have all needed materials with them prior to the start of the exam. Students are not permitted to take the exam form out of the room. Students are also not permitted to leave the room to get books, notes, or other items. For classrooms with closed book exams, approved scratch paper will be provided, and it will need to be turned it with the exam.
Electronic devices including cell phones, tablets, CD players, MP3 players, pagers, and similar devices need to be turned off and stored out of sight during an exam period. Ringers or buzzers on watches and clocks should be silenced. Headphones and earbuds are not permitted to be worn in the examination room.
Students may wish to use earplugs to avoid distractions during the examination period.
Computers & computer devices
Students are not required to use a computer to take their exams. The use of computers and computer devices is prohibited for the exam unless clearly specified in the instruction sheet of the exam.
Students who do not speak English as their native language may be permitted extra time if certified. Those students who believe they may qualify need to complete a request form and submitted it to Academic Services at least 10 days before exams. Students will be notified by email regarding approval of the request and of the specific arrangements for this accommodation.
Failure to take Scheduled Examination
A student who fails to take an examination either at the time for which it is regularly scheduled or a the time specially set by prior arrangement with the Assistant Dean may, if the failure is excused, take that examination or a different examination (such as that given the next time the course is offered) at such time as may be arranged with the instructor but in any event before the end of the examination period of the third quarter (not counting summer quarter) next ensuing.
Failure to take an examination as rescheduled pursuant to the above automatically causes the grade of “incomplete” to be entered by the Student Services staff. Thereafter, but prior to the time for the conversion of the incomplete to failure, the student may remove the incomplete by taking such examination as may be arranged by the instructor.
Source: 05-01-1984 Faculty Resolution.
Feedback on Exams
The faculty has adopted a policy that the examination process be used as a part of the law school educational process and not merely to test student knowledge of subject. Pursuant to this policy, faculty members should:
(a) prepare and make available to students an outline analysis of the major problems presented by the questions on an examination, or
(b) conduct an oral discussion for interested students of the major problems presented by questions on an examination, or
(c) prepare model answer for the questions, or
(d) file in a place available to students a selected and representative sample of examination answers, or
(e) adopt any other procedure which will effectuate the policy of obtaining full educational value from the examination process.
Source: 2-1-1971 Faculty Resolution
Open-Book vs. Closed-Book Exams
If the use of supplementary materials during a course examination is to be permitted, notice to that effect should be given to the class by the beginning of the fourth week in one-quarter courses and by the beginning of the second quarter in all courses which extend beyond one quarter. Absent notification within the above periods, an examination should be closed book.
The minutes also reflect that the following discussion occurred: “It was noted that the term ‘supplementary materials’ as used in the statement is intended to include anything authorized to be brought into an exam that would not be permitted in a closed book exam. The notice should be as specific as possible, although it is recognized that items may have to be added to it at a later time (e.g., late statutory changes, etc.). Also, the Honor Code now contains a provision requiring the advance posting of any supplementary materials permitted in an exam. The policy proposed here bears on the time at which that information should be made available.”
Source: 06-01-1976 Faculty Resolution
Papers submitted by students in satisfaction of the requirement for a course or seminar shall be due no later than the following dates: (1) not later than two quarters beyond the quarter in which the course or seminar commences; (2) in the case of a student graduating after the Spring quarter, no later than June 30 of that year. Extensions of these deadlines may be granted by the Dean’s delegate, and shall be subject to conditions stated by the Dean’s delegate. Such extension may be granted only in cases of exceptional hardship to the student (e.g., serious illness, death in the immediate family). Individual faculty members may require that papers be submitted at times earlier than these dates.
The final version of any paper submitted by a student for credit shall be turned in directly to the Student Services Office (and not to the professor supervising the work). Students shall submit the original and a copy of the paper to Student Services. Student Services shall promptly provide the professor with the original of the paper and send the copy to the library.
Source: 11-01-1988 and 12-01-1988 Faculty Resolutions.
Students have a two day reading period on the Thursday and Friday following the last day of classes for each quarter. No exams, including take-home exams, will be administered during this period, nor can make-up classes be scheduled during this period. Review sessions can be held during this period.
Source: Administrative Policy.
No faculty member is authorized to offer the option of reexamination or a paper to raise a student’s grade on a final examination.
Source: 03-12-1973 Faculty Resolution.
Scheduling of Exams
Exams are administered according to a schedule established by the Associate Dean for Academic Administration. Self-scheduling of exams is not permitted.
Source: 11-01-1997 Faculty Resolution.
Scheduling of Mid-Terms and Major Papers
Faculty members are requested to observe the following schedule:
(a) Except with respect to seminar papers and except when compelling circumstances require otherwise, the due date and time for all written work
required during the progress of any course is to be 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning of any week, or, as to a particular student, later that day but
before the hour of his first class.
(b) Except when compelling circumstances require otherwise, no examination of major weight is to be set for any period other than the end-quarter examination period.
The Committee believes that each instructor should be urged to schedule written work and mid-course examinations, if any, in such a way as to minimize the impingement upon students’ normal attendance and preparation in other classes. While strict rules for scheduling seem undesirable and while exceptions w ill appropriately occur, in general it seem most conducive to this result for written work to be called due on Monday mornings prior to the students’ first class hour and for major mid-course examinations to be removed as far as possible from normal class hours, as for example, during the regular examination period between quarters.
Source: 03-07-1966 Faculty Resolution.
Take Home Examinations
Take-Home Examinations may not be distributed sooner than the end of the reading period.
Source: Adminstrative Policy
Location Where Exams Taken
All law school exams, except take-home exams, are to be taken in designated rooms under procedures established by the Associate Dean for Academic Administration and Academic Services.
Source: April 2007 Faculty Resolution
Rescheduling of Exams
Students may petition to have an exam rescheduled in a limited number of instances by submitting a form to Academic Services by the deadline announced by Academic Services each quarter. In no instance should a student discuss rescheduling an exam with their professor!
Academic Services has the authority to automatically grant requests to reschedule exams in either of the following circumstances:
- A student has two exams scheduled on the same day; or
- A student has three exams scheduled on three consecutive days.
In either of these two circumstances, the exams must be rescheduled with the minimum alteration to the existing schedule necessary to eliminate the situation that prompted
the automatic rescheduling, even if that means taking the exam on a Saturday. For the purposes of rescheduling, 24-hour take-home exams are considered as conflicting with any exams scheduled on the day that they are due, but not as spanning two consecutive days.
For example, if a student has exams scheduled on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the
sole remedy will be to move the Thursday exam to Friday. If instead a student has exams scheduled on a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the sole remedy will
be to move the Friday exam to a Saturday.
Likewise, if a student has two exams scheduled on the same day, one at 8:30
am and one at 1:00 pm, the sole remedy will be to move the 1:00 pm
exam to the next available exam time that eliminates the conflict.
In all other circumstances, exams will be rescheduled only if approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Administration. Rescheduling of exams for other sorts of reasons is extremely rare. It is typically granted only in the event that the student is suffering from a severe physical or mental illness or in the event of death or serious illness of the student’s family member or significant other. Rescheduling requests are not typically granted for activities such as travel, field research, interviews (personal or school related) and other personal events such as weddings, reunions, and the like.
Do not purchase airplane tickets, book hotel rooms, and the like in the belief that the risk of losing your money on a non-refundable purchase will persuade the Associate Dean for Academic Administration to approve your rescheduling request; this will not in any way impact the decision, and you risk being forced to choose between losing your money and receiving a failing grade in your course for failing to take the exam when scheduled.
Source: Faculty Resolution dated April 3, 2003; Administrative Policy.