Each semester the Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs publishes an examination schedule for that semester. Students should check the schedule carefully to see whether they are taking courses that might have exams on the same day or whether their exam schedule involves taking an exam on four or more consecutive days. (See information below about rescheduling of exams.)
Professors will inform students whether exams are “open book” or whether there are any limits on materials that students may bring with them into the exam room. Professors will also inform students about whether an exam will be a take-home exam.
Students may generally take proctored examinations on a laptop computer (students load an approved program into their own laptop) or write in an examination booklet (a “blue book”).
Under the Law School Rules, students must take exams at the scheduled time unless there are "extraordinary or compelling circumstances." (See Rule 6.03.) For example, a student scheduled to take two exams on the same day may postpone one of the exams for up to one week. See Rule 6.03 (1). A student who has four exams on consecutive days may postpone one of the exams for up to one week. Students may postpone final exams that fall on a Sabbath or other religious holiday. See Rule 6.03(2). Otherwise, the acceptable reasons for rescheduling an exam are few.
To reschedule an exam, you must give notice to the Director of Student Life, Mike Hall, at least four weeks before the start of the examination period. Every semester the Director of Student Life will set a deadline for such notice and publish the deadline on the school’s website. After the deadline, the Director of Student Life will only accept applications to re-schedule an examination for unforeseen or emergency reasons.
The Rules give the Student Affairs Dean some discretion in rescheduling in very limited circumstances. The Rules also specify circumstances in which an exam may not be rescheduled. An exam may not be rescheduled when a student is taking a bar review course within driving distance of Madison, when a student has a professional opportunity that conflicts with the examination, when a student is late or oversleeps, when a student wishes to leave early for a break, or when the student has three exams on three consecutive days. See Rule 6.03(4)
Students who have disabilities that may affect the taking of examinations for their courses must be assessed at the McBurney Disability Center before the Law School can provide accommodations. The Director of Student Life (Room 5101) is responsible for all such accommodations after McBurney staff have completed the assessment. Examination accommodations may include a longer time for the exam or a private room. However, no accommodations will be available to students who have not completed McBurney’s assessment process.
For information, you should contact the McBurney Center at 263-2741 or http://www.mcburney.wisc.edu/. The McBurney Center is located at 702 West Johnson, Suite 2104. Parking is available in UW Lot 46 (301 North Lake Street), the University Square ramp (333 East Campus Mall), and the Lake Street Ramp (415 North Lake Street). All ramps have van-accessible stalls. Multiple Madison Metro bus routes, including Madison Metro Paratransit, serve McBurney.
In some circumstances, students have the option to re-write (re-take) the final examination for a course. Law School Rules 6.04, 6.05, and 6.09 explain the conditions under which a student may choose to re-write a final examination. First year courses may only be re-written during the second year. In most cases, the maximum grade attainable on a 're-write' will be a C, which will control for all purposes except honorary awards and election to Order of the Coif. (Law School Rule 6.09(1)(b)). Both grades will remain on the student's transcript.
There is a process for students to petition the Faculty Petitions Committee for permission to receive a grade higher than a C on a re-written exam (see Law School Rule 6.09(2)). In such an instance, the rewrite grade shall control for all purposes, although both the original grade in the course and the grade earned on the rewrite will remain on the transcript. The Law School Rules are available at http://law.wisc.edu/current/rules/. For information about impact of a re-write on GPAs, see Law School Rule 6.09; for other questions see the Director of Student Life, Mike Hall.
When students take final exams in their final semester of law school, they must notify faculty grading the exams that they will graduate at the end of that semester. Students do so by typing “graduating this semester” on all final exams as well as papers or other projects submitted for grading. This notification is very important. It tells the faculty to review the exam as soon as possible, so that the law school can submit proof of completion of credits and requirements to the boards of bar admissions in a timely manner. This notice is required, regardless of whether the student graduates in May, August or December.
“Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.” Jane Addams (1860-1935)