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Exams are generally given twice a year–in December before the winter break, and in late April to early May. For two-term courses, there may be only one final grade, and the weight of the December exam in determining the final grade varies according to the professor. Few professors give anything but the December or May exams, although some give additional assignments or examinations during the term.

Exams are given during an examination period which runs for about two weeks, including a seven- or eight-day period for in-class exams. First-year students are usually given one or two days between each exam. In-class exams typically take three or four hours. Our anonymous grading procedures provide each student with a unique exam identification number for each exam. The exam identification numbers are available to students on the Law School Office of Student Records website after the semester drop/add period ends.

The final exam schedule will show the rooms in which exams will be given, the alpha split for the rooms and any applicable notes, e.g. use of laptops and Internet. The final exam schedule is posted on the Law School Office of Student Records webpage; on the Office of Student Records bulletin board on the first floor across from the elevator in Hutchins Hall; and in the lobby of the Office of Student Records, 300 Hutchins Hall, shortly before the exam period starts. 

Take-home exams are administered through the Exam Administration website, accessible from the Office of Student Records webpage. Many exams are open-book, with the precise meaning of "open" varying from professor to professor.

The vast majority of students use them to write answers to essay questions on in-class examinations. If you are not already comfortable typing on a keyboard, we recommend that you take steps to become so in order to give yourself the option of using a laptop for in-class essay examinations. Students planning to use their laptops to write in-class essay exams must install, test and activate the most current version of the exam software before exams begin each term. The latest version of the exam software is made available to students approximately one month prior to each term’s exam period.

The Law School Academic Regulations (found in this handbook) provide details on exceptions regarding examinations and papers. Students qualifying for such exceptions or wishing to discuss a personal situation which may affect their ability to take an examination should contact the Office of Student Life or the Office of Student Records. Students who cannot take or complete an examination due to physical or mental health reasons or personal difficulties must contact Student Life or Student Records immediately.

Following the grading period, students may review their exams in the faculty assistants' offices at the professors' discretion. In some instances, exams may instead be housed in the Reading Room Distribution Center for student review.

Past exams for most courses are compiled and placed on reserve at the Circulation Desk in the Law Library. Additionally, examination questions submitted by faculty for permanent retention are now available online. To see an exam, see the Library's Electronic Reserves and Exams page. This can be helpful, both to dispel any misconceptions about the exams and to give a feel for what given professors may ask.

For much more detailed information about exams, see the Office of Student Records Exam webpages.