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 and must be on letterhead paper. It should confirm the reasons for missing the exam, signed by the appropriate person in an official capacity, 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 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. 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 days after the missed exam.

A $25 nonrefundable processing fee for each make-up exam requested must be included with the appeal. Students are advised to call Academic Services before submitting appeals. Incomplete and late appeals will not be considered.

Exams are administered at 51 Brattle Street on:

  • January 20, 2018, for fall courses
  • February 10, 2018, for January session courses
  • June 9, 2018, for spring courses

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

  • January 17, 2018, for fall courses
  • February 7, 2018, for January session courses
  • June 6, 2018, 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, and business telephone number of the person who will proctor your exam.

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

In addition to the Extension School policies outlined in Exams, Grades, and Transcripts (including FERPA), the following policies and procedures apply to distance education students:

  • You are responsible for ensuring that you have the necessary computer hardware and software, including any course-specific software needed to complete course assignments. Check the course website to determine if any special software is needed. Harvard University does not provide equipment or software. You must have Internet access available throughout the term.
  • Distance courses are not self-paced. You are expected to watch the video lectures on a weekly basis and be an active participant in the course throughout the term.
  • You must adhere to deadlines and due dates provided in the course syllabus and may not join distance courses after the end of registration.
  • Recorded lectures for the distance education courses are available only to registered students; lectures are password protected after the first week of class.
  • Many distance courses have in-class hour, midterm, and final online exams. You may take exams on campus or arrange to take them with a proctor at a location near your home.
  • If you are approved for an extension of time or make-up final exam, you will have access to the recorded lectures until you submit your work to the instructor, take the make-up final exam, or the deadlines pass—whichever occurs first.

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 should 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 conflict 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.