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 inform students about whether an exam will be a take-home exam. Professors will also inform students if the exam will be in "open" or "closed" mode. In open mode, students can access files on their computers, but will not be able to cut and paste from the documents, nor will they be able to go online. In closed mode, students will only be able to access the exam software. They cannot access files nor can they go online.
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 Emily Kite, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, at least four weeks before the start of the examination period. Every semester the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will set a deadline for such notice and publish the deadline on the school’s website. After the deadline, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will only accept applications to re-schedule an examination for unforeseen or emergency reasons.The Petition for Rescheduling an Exam is available on the Law School forms page. Supporting documentation may be required.
The Rules give the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs 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 Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Emily Kite (Room 5101; firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (608) 263-2741 or https://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 the final examination for a course. Effectively, this actually means re-taking the course, not simply re-taking the exam. 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/re-take a course. 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 Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
Students interested in re-writing/re-taking a course must consult with Emily Kite, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
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.