Exam Information & Policies
Certain rules and procedures apply to the taking and administration of exams at the School of Law. If you still have questions after reviewing this information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 617-353-3115.
To protect our anonymous grading policy, if you cannot take an exam due to serious illness or other emergency, do not contact the professor. Rather, please contact the Registrar’s Office (617-353-3115) or Associate Dean Muir’s office (617-353-3127) before the exam begins to obtain information on the procedure to follow.
The following information is excerpted from the current Academic & Disciplinary Regulations in the JD Student Handbook. Each student should be familiar with this material.
1. Examination schedule.
Students must take examinations according to the Registrar’s announced schedule unless they have otherwise obtained permission under section 2 or section 3 of this Article.
2. Advance rescheduling of an examination in special circumstances.
With advance request, in the first instance to the Registrar, a student may reschedule an examination under the following circumstances.
a) Religious observance/holiday.
A student may reschedule an examination held on a religious holiday, or during a period of religious observance, that the student honors. The rescheduled date will be as close as possible to the original date, and ordinarily it will be neither more than one day earlier nor more than five days later.
b) Examination schedule.
A student may reschedule an examination based on the Exam Relief criteria which follows the Regulations excerpt.
c) Illness or other compelling circumstance.
A student may reschedule an examination if the Academic Standards Committee determines that serious illness, or other compelling circumstance beyond the student’s control, justifies relief. If illness is the asserted basis for relief, the student’s request must be supported by a statement from an examining physician. The physician’s statement must show the date, nature, and severity of the illness, and it should give the physician’s judgment as to the student’s ability to take the examination as scheduled. The statement should be as contemporaneous with the request as possible. If relief is granted, the rescheduled date will be as close to the original date as the reason for giving relief will permit, and ordinarily neither more than one day earlier nor more than five days later. If the proposed date for rescheduling is beyond the end of the examination period, and if the student is in his or her final semester, then the student must obtain faculty approval under Article III, section 6 in the Academic & Disciplinary Regulations.
3. Excused failure to take or submit an examination on time.
Failure to take an in-class examination at the scheduled or rescheduled time, or failure to submit a take-home examination on time, may be excused only if the Academic Standards Committee determines that serious illness, or other compelling cause beyond the student’s control, caused the student’s failure. If illness is the asserted cause, the student must produce the documentation described in paragraph 2(c) above. If the Committee decides that the student’s failure is excused, it will prescribe an appropriate remedy, which ordinarily will be to reschedule the examination for the earliest date consistent with the reason for recognizing the excuse. If that date is beyond the end of the examination period, and if the student is in his or her final semester, then the student must obtain Faculty approval under Article III, section 6 in the Academic & Disciplinary Regulations. If the Committee decides that the student’s failure is not excused, it will dispose of the petition according to section 4 below.
4. Unexcused failure to take or submit an examination on time.
If the Academic Standards Committee determines that a student, without compelling cause, has failed to take an in-class examination on time, or has failed to submit a take-home examination on time, the Committee may allow the student to take and submit the examination, provided that the student does so immediately. If the Committee so allows, it will impose a penalty that reflects both the student’s fault and any benefit the student might have obtained from delay. Ordinarily this penalty will be a substantial reduction of the student’s examination grade.
5. Examination rules.
The following rules apply to the conduct of examinations. Additional rules may be prescribed either by BU Law or by an instructor.
a) All in-class examinations must be of at least two hours duration, with questions and answers in writing.
b) All final examinations, including take-home examinations, will be evaluated on an anonymous basis, with students’ papers identified to the instructor only by a number that the Registrar has assigned.
c) Take-home examinations will be issued by, and must be returned to, the Registrar. During take-home examinations, students may not consult other persons unless expressly authorized by the instructor.
d) During an in-class examination, students may not possess materials or devices forbidden by the instructor. Students may not consult with other persons. They may consult books, notes, other similar material, only as authorized by the instructor. Use of laptop computers is subject to announced School policy and procedure. Possession of cell phones, or other communication and/or recording devices, is forbidden unless authorized specifically by the School in advance.
e) Except in case of emergency, students taking an in-class examination may leave the examination room only as necessary to use the restrooms.
f) Students must stop writing and turn in their in-class examination papers when time is called.
g) No student may retake an examination for any purpose.
h) Students may review essay portions of their examinations after final grades have been released.
6. Failure in courses requiring an examination.
No credits for a failed course or seminar may count toward the 85 credits required for the Juris Doctor degree. Such credits, however, will count toward the minimum credits required to be taken during a semester or year. The failing grade will appear on the student’s transcript and will be included in the student’s average.
Please note: Anyone in violation of these rules may be subject to disciplinary action, which may result in suspension or expulsion from the school.
All examinations at the Law School, including take-home examinations, are given on an anonymous basis. The Registrar’s Office will assign all JD students a four-digit exam number each semester. Exam numbers will be released through the MyBU Student Portal. Students may locate their exam (or “blue book”) number by clicking the Academics Tab and choosing the grades option. Select the grade report for the semester and be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page (exam numbers appear to the left of where the grade will appear). Please note that the Final Exam option on the MyBU Student Portal does not apply to law students.
You are to bring your BU ID and your exam number with you to all exams. You will record your exam number on the printed exam questions, the 3×5 examination card, and on any scantron sheets and blue books that you use. You will be asked to complete the 3×5 card and return it to the proctor before the start of every in-class examination. At the time you pick up a take-home examination, you will complete the 3×5 card and leave it with the Registrar’s Office.
A student may reschedule an examination held on a religious holiday, or during a period of religious observance, that the student honors or an examination that is part of a schedule of:
a) Three examinations during the first calendar week of the examination period on three consecutive calendar days.
b) During the second calendar week of the examination period, three examinations within 48 hours, the third of which concludes no later than 48 hours from the commencement of the first exam.
c) Two examinations within one calendar day
d) One examination on each of four consecutive calendar days
A student may elect to defer one of these examinations for a limited period using the Exam Relief form. In the case of three consecutive examinations, the middle examination will be rescheduled. In the case of two examinations in one day, either examination may be rescheduled. In the case of four consecutive examinations, either the second or third examination will be rescheduled.
The excused examination will be rescheduled as early as possible within the examination period and no later than five days following the day it was initially administered.
All rescheduling must be coordinated with the Registrar’s Office and will be subject to administrative considerations.
Excused absences due to illness or other compelling reasons will only be granted subject to the provisions of Article VII, Section 2 of the current Academic & Disciplinary Regulations and require approval by the Academic Standards Committee.