Examinations: Guidelines & Accommodations

The Faculty expects students to write examinations as scheduled. Nevertheless, illness or personal circumstances may interfere with a student's ability to adequately prepare for or write an examination as scheduled. In these circumstances, JD students should contact the Assistant Dean, J.D. Program (416-978-5793). It is the responsibility of the academic administration, in the first instance, to determine whether the circumstances warrant an accommodation.


Disability-Related Accommodations - Examinations

Students with learning and/or physical disabilities may be eligible for accommodations regarding exams. This may include being given extra time, access to special exam-taking software (to address sight impairment), etc. Students requiring accommodations due to disabilities must work with Accessibility Services. This requires making an appointment well before the exam period to ensure that the necessary assessments and recommendations are made.

Please note that the Faculty of Law does not make assessments regarding disability-related accommodations. The Faculty receives recommendations made by Accessibility Services.

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Illness During an Examination

Students who become ill during an examination and feel unable to continue writing should inform the invigilator and ask to be excused. Books and examination papers should be left in the examination room and the student should immediately go to the Records Office in the Jackman Law Building, Student Services Hub, 3rd Floor. The Records Office will notify the administration. The Assistant Dean, J.D. Program will meet with the student to assess the situation and determine how to proceed. If the student is able to complete the examination, any lost time will be added. If you are ill at the time of writing an examination, but are able to complete the examination, you should nevertheless inform the administration in writing at the conclusion of the examination period.

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Rescheduled Examinations Shortly After the Examination Period

There may be cases (e.g. short-term illness or conflicting obligations over which the student has no control) where a student is unable to write an examination at the scheduled time, but it is possible to reschedule the examination shortly after the examination. For December exams, "shortly after" means January; for April exams it means May. All requests for rescheduled examinations must be made in accordance with the Academic Accommodation policy.  See Academic Accommodations.

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Aegrotat is a standing which, in exceptional circumstances, may be awarded to students who for medical or compassionate reasons are unable to satisfactorily complete the requirements of a course or courses in situations where the faculty is otherwise satisfied that the student would have performed successfully.

Students who attempt an examination and do poorly because of the effect of unforeseen illness or other personal circumstances must immediately apply for Aegrotat in the course or courses affected. The exam must be submitted and graded.  The application is made in writing to the Associate Dean within 48 hours, and should be accompanied by medical or other appropriate documentation. Supporting documents may be sent later, under separate cover, but the application should be made as close in time to the writing of the exam as possible.

The student's academic record in the Faculty is an important consideration. A decision to grant Aegrotat is made by a committee of the marks meeting. First year students are very unlikely to be granted Aegrotat as they have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate successful performance in the program.

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Exam Sign-in Process

Upon arriving to your exam room:

  1. Students must submit their TCard to the invigilator at the beginning of the exam so that Invigilators may track attendance.
  2. Once sealed exams have been received, students must follow the invigilator's instructions for choosing a seat according to the seating plan, and then may prepare their workspace and wait quietly for the exam to begin. 
  3. At the end of the exam, please wait for the invigilator to dismiss you. When instructed to leave the exam, students will bring all exam materials to the invigilator, at which point students will have their TCards returned to them. Students may leave the exam room once they have received their TCard.

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Open Book Examinations

Students may bring whatever hardcopy material they wish to an open book examination e.g. notes, the casebook, and texts, except books owned by the library.

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Closed Book Examinations

On an exceptional basis only, and at least 2 weeks prior to the exam, foreign exchange students may request permission to take a dictionary into a Closed Book Examination.

Foreign exchange students are required to attend at the Records Office half an hour prior to the start of the examination with the dictionary they plan to use. The Assistant Registrar, Records will check the dictionary, and put a note on it, confirming that the student is allowed to take the dictionary into the examination. Failure to obtain prior approval to use the dictionary during the examination will result in failure.

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Prohibited Electronic Equipment

Cell phones, pagers, Ipods and other communication devises are prohibited in exams. Cell phones and other communication devices are not an acceptable "time-keeping" device during examinations and must be switched off. Communication devices left on the desk during an exam may be confiscated by the invigilator.

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Typing of Examinations

The Faculty of Law allows students to type their examinations on their laptops. A more detailed memo setting out the available options and the procedure is sent out from the Records Office at the beginning of each term. Each examination period students are automatically signed up to use ExamSoft and exercise the option of typing exams by the deadline set by the Records Office. Students who wish to write their examinations by hand must register with the Records Office.  

Laptop Users: Students who wish to type their exams, must use computers in excellent working condition. The battery should be fully charged, and be able to work for a minimum of three hours.  During exams, communication between laptops is disallowed. In the interest of fairness and perceived equality, Students who type their exams on a personal laptop or in a computer lab must use  ExamSoft, (security software) and sign an Acknowledgement and Undertaking Form. If computer problems occur during an exam the student will be expected to continue handwriting the examination in examination booklets provided during the exam.

Subject to availability, the Faculty will make an effort to secure a limited number of computers to accommodate only those students who wish to type exams but who do not own their own laptops or whose laptops are incompatible with Examsoft, as determined by the Registrar. If this option is not available, students must handwrite their exams or arrange to borrow a compatible laptop.

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Take-home Examinations

Unless otherwise specified, a take-home examination allows a student to write the examination at a time convenient to the student during the examination period. Students who are typing their take-home exams may use ExamSoft.  Students who are handwriting their take home exams are expected to sign-out and sign-back the examination in person.

In writing a take-home examination, students must not share the exam with any other person or discuss the exam in any other way.  This includes whether or not they have written the examination, discussions about the question itself, or any of the instructions.   Any inquiries about the exam must go directly to the Records Office.  Records Office staff will consult with the instructor as needed. 

By submitting an answer, students represent that it is exclusively their own written work, and that they have not consulted with anyone on any aspect of the exam.   

Instructors should not make the examination available to students on or before the last day of class in each term. The examination may be taken up to any 24 hour period between the first day of the examination period and due no later than the set deadline for written work in the applicable term. The Records Office will distribute and receive self-scheduled examinations via ExamSoft.  Handwritten take-home examinations must be signed out and returned to the Records Office.

See the Submission of Written Work guidelines for take-home examination submission procedures.

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Feedback re: Examinations

The Faculty of Law's policy is that students are entitled to review their examinations with the instructor. This review can take the form of an in-class review session (in the case of first-term December tests), written, or oral comments. Students are permitted to see their examination paper or, if they wish, to obtain a photocopy of the examination within a reasonable time after the marks are available through the Records Office. In all cases, instructors will be available to discuss the examination or paper with students within a reasonable time after the marks are released through the Records Office. Students are encouraged to use this resource.

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