About Final Exams
Last Day of Classes
The last day of classes is known as the "last day for written work." Many students will have multiple assignments due on the last day of class: papers, lab reports, lab exams. In addition, any late work must be turned in by that day.
Following the last day of classes is a brief review period and then the examination period, with the expectation that students will stay through the end of the examination period. Final examinations may be either scheduled or self-scheduled. Examination information for each course is collected by the Registrar's Office and distributed to all students several weeks before the beginning of the examination period. It is also posted on the Registrar's website, subject to change.
Generally, scheduled exams take place during the first four weekdays of the examination period. Any professor may elect to give a scheduled exam, but certain types of courses are more likely to have scheduled exams. These include film and art history courses and elementary and intermediate language courses, where visual or audio material is part of the exam. A schedule is posted with the courses which have scheduled exams and when and where the exam will be given. Report to the assigned exam room, not the second Floor of Guild Hall.
Self-scheduled examinations are administered through the Registrar's Office, with the assistance of the Student Curriculum Committee and the Honor Board. Self-scheduled examinations are a privilege conferred by the faculty in recognition of the Honor Code. Self-Scheduled Exams are handed out in the Upper Level of Guild Hall at the beginning of each self-scheduled exam period. Students must pick up their exam at the beginning of the exam period. Student that come 15 minutes after the start of exam period may not be permitted to take their exam.
In their first semester, students may be somewhat confused about how exactly self-scheduled exams work. A detailed description of procedures and regulations is distributed by the Registrar's office. One basic thing to understand is the degree of flexibility involved in self-scheduled exams. Having self-scheduled exams does not mean getting to take an exam whenever you want to. Instead, there are set examination periods (generally 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 2-5 p.m., and occasionally 7-10 p.m.) during which exams may be taken. Exams must be picked up at the beginning of the exam period, even if your exam will not take the full three hours. Conversely, having self-scheduled exams also does not mean being required to devise and submit a schedule of when you will take particular exams. You should develop a plan for yourself, but you don't have to inform anybody, and you may adapt it as circumstances dictate.
Some professors choose to give take-home exams, and the rules and guidelines for these exams differ enormously. They may be open book or not; they may be limited-time or not; the questions may be known in advance or not, etc. If you have a take-home exam in a given course, make sure you know and understand what is expected.
Students with Accommodations
Students working with Access Services during the semester may also receive accommodations for final exams. Click here for additional information, or check the Access Services webpage.
Courses without Exams
Finally some classes have no final exams at all. They may have a paper or other project "in lieu of exam," or they may have no assignments at all after the end of classes. When in doubt, talk to your professors to inquire about final exams/ projects.
Extensions/ Exam Deferral
Should you find yourself in a position that you need extra time to complete exams or your final work (example: illness, family emergency) you must speak to both your Dean and your Professor. If both agree to extra time, you will be given a new deadline to complete your work or make up your exam. You will be assigned a grade of "I" (Incomplete) and upon completion of your work, assigned a grade. It is the student's responsibility to complete the work by the new deadline. For more information on getting approval for an extension on final work or a deferred exam, please visit the Dean's webpage on Final Exams.
Scheduled and self-scheduled examinations may not be taken outside the regular examination period. Students are not permitted to complete examinations early and are not permitted to make special arrangements with faculty to complete exams outside the examination period without prior permission from Special Cases. Written requests must be made to Special Cases through the class dean (not to individual faculty members).
Students making their end-of-semester travel arrangements should be sure that their plans do not conflict with the examination schedule; requests to take final examinations early will not be considered.
Office of the Registrar
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010