Exam Absences, Conflicts, and Make-ups

Make-up final exams

Students who cannot take their final exams as scheduled because of a religious conflict, documented serious illness, or compelling, unexpected circumstances may appeal for a make-up final exam. The following are examples that are not considered compelling reasons to grant a make-up exam: lack of preparation, negligence, misinformation, or planned vacations and other events.

Make-up appeals are considered only for students who provide documentation of a compelling reason for missing the exam; owe no other work in the course than the final exam; have good records of attendance and participation; and are in good financial standing with the Division of Continuing Education. Academic Services contacts instructors to verify students’ academic standing in courses for which they’ve applied for make-up exams as part of the appeals process.

Supporting documentation must accompany the appeal. Two pieces of documentation are required, except in cases of personal illness. Documentation must be written in English. It should confirm the reasons for missing the exam, signed by the appropriate person in an official capacity on official letterhead, and include travel information if relevant. Medical documentation must be in the form of a letter on the medical provider’s letterhead and based on a physical exam within two days of the missed exam. The signed letter should include a description of the illness, specific dates or range of dates of the illness, and physical and functional limitations of the illness that prevented taking the exam as scheduled. Documentation written on prescription pads will not be accepted.

Students may appeal for make-up exams by submitting make-up final exam forms no later than three calendar days after the missed exam. Incomplete and late appeals will not be considered.

Contact Academic Services at academicservices@extension.harvard.edu for information and guidance on the appeals process.

Make-up exams for courses that have an online final exam are administered on:

  • January 20, 2021 for fall courses
  • February 3, 2021 for January session courses
  • June 9, 2021 for spring courses.

A student who does not take the make-up exam as scheduled is assigned a failing grade for the exam.

Final exams in absentia

If you relocate before or during the final exam period you may appeal to take your exam in absentia at an institution in your new location with an approved proctor. In addition to following the appeal procedures for make-up exams, you must include on the appeal form the name, title, business address, business website, and business telephone number of the person who will proctor your exam.

Exam proctors must be teachers, professors, librarians, or administrators in local secondary schools, colleges, universities, or testing centers. They cannot be family members, friends and acquaintances, or co-workers. See Finding a Qualified Proctor.

Exam conflicts

An exam conflict occurs when a student has two exams or a class meeting and an exam scheduled for the same day and time. If the conflict involves two exams, the student will take both exams on the same day: one with the class and the second exam at a different time that day as scheduled by Academic Services.

If an exam conflicts with a class meeting, the student will attend the class. Academic Services will reschedule the exam at a different time that same day.

Students should complete the exam conflict form and submit it to Academic Services no later than two weeks before the conflict date.

Absences for religious reasons

You may request that an exam be rescheduled without penalty if your exam is scheduled on a day of religious observance for you. Speak with your instructor no later than two weeks before the exam date to reschedule the exam.

Students who have a religious obligation that conflicts with a final exam must submit a completed make-up final examination form to Academic Services by the deadline indicated on the form. The make-up final exam appeal fee is waived for students with religious conflicts. However, students must include documentation from an appropriate religious or spiritual leader confirming the conflict with their appeal. Exams are rescheduled for the same day as the make-up exams in the same term. Students who also have religious conflicts with the scheduled make-up date should indicate this in their appeal statement. Accommodations are not possible if the conflict is reported after the exam.

 Learn more about absences from class due to a religious conflict.