Exam Information

Fall 2023 Exam Information

Spring 2024 Exam Information

Final Examination Information

The information contained in these examination policies and procedures covers the following academic issues:

  • Detailed instructions for sitting for Law School final examinations
  • Use of laptop computers
  • Using your examination number
  • Completing examinations as scheduled
  • Eligibility and instructions for rescheduling an examination due to conflict or illness
  • Deadline for completing coursework
  • Deadline for filing a Petition for Incomplete

Examination numbers
Student examinations, in class and take home, are identified by number rather than name, and therefore, are graded in anonymity. Random examination numbers are assigned each semester and emailed to students prior to the commencement of the examination period.  Students are not allowed to contact their professor about their examination, or any surrounding circumstances, nor disclose their exam identity to their professor. Doing so is considered an exam violation.

Completing examinations as scheduled
Students must take final examinations in courses in which they are enrolled at the assigned times, except in the case of "take home" examinations, in which event the examination is due as designated by the instructor and the Registrar. A finalized examination schedule is posted online and on the Registrar's bulletin boards before the end of each semester.

Inability to complete scheduled examinations

  1. Examination conflicts
    Postponement requests must be submitted to the Registrar by the deadline stated in each semester's examination material.

    In the event of a conflict between examinations, one examination will be postponed. Rescheduled examinations are not administered prior to the published examination date and time. A conflict is deemed to exist when a student has examinations that are scheduled for the same time and date; when there are four (4) or fewer hours between the scheduled end of one examination and the scheduled commencement of the next examination that a student must take; or when a student has three examinations scheduled within two consecutive days. Two examinations on one day do not necessarily result in a conflict. Any student with a conflict must complete a Petition to Reschedule Exam (or in the Registrar's Office) in a timely manner to arrange for the postponement of an examination. STUDENTS SHOULD NOT CONTACT OR OTHERWISE DISCUSS POSTPONING AN EXAMINATION WITH THE INSTRUCTOR OR OTHER STUDENTS.
  2. Illness or emergency circumstances
    In the event that any student is unable to sit for a scheduled final examination because of illness, inability to pass the Dons Health Check, or other emergency circumstances, it is necessary that the Office of the Law Registrar (lawregistrar@usfca.edu or 415-422-6778) be contacted prior to the examination and as soon as the situation arises. In the event that circumstances prevent a student from contacting the office prior to the scheduled commencement of the examination, the student must contact the office as soon as practical thereafter. Any student who has not contacted the Registrar or the Associate Dean within 24 hours after the scheduled start of an examination will not, under any circumstance, be permitted to make-up the examination.

    Upon satisfactory demonstration of inability to sit for the examination as scheduled, the student will be permitted to make-up the examination without the imposition of any academic sanctions. Illness must be verified in writing by a physician, inability to pass the Dons Health Check will require a negative COVID test, and acceptable proof of other emergency circumstances may be required. 
  3. Medical documentation should be written on letterhead, signed by a medical professional and should indicate the nature and extent of the student's situation/condition. Medical documentation must state the diagnosis, when it was identified, the effect of medical condition on normal activity, the effect of any medication, the expected duration of the treatment etc.  
  4. In the event the student is unable to present an acceptable excuse for inability to complete the scheduled examinations academic sanctions will be imposed and, under some circumstances, a student may be precluded from making-up the examination, resulting in a grade of "F".
  5. In the event of sudden illness or personal emergency during an in-class examination, notify the proctor immediately.  Thereafter, the administration will consider the circumstances and review relevant medical documentation, submitted by the examinee, to determine what options may be available for course completion.

Rescheduled examinations

Students who do not take an examination by reason of conflict, illness, or other approved reason will, subject to the preceding paragraphs, have their examination rescheduled by the Law Registrar. Rescheduled exams are not administered prior to the published examination time; they are only postponed. Except in unusual circumstances, the Registrar will schedule postponed exams as close as possible to the original date and time of the examination without creating another conflict.

Students who reschedule examinations may, at the instructor's option, be required to take an examination different from the examination administered to the rest of the class.

Examination Procedures

In-Class Examinations

All students must follow these examination procedures, failure to do so may result in an Honor Code violation:

  1. Examinees must bring a hard copy photo ID and their own pens and pencils to each examination.
  2. Except for approved laptop computers and calculators in the specified rooms, electronic devices are prohibited from both open book and closed book examinations. Materials permitted for open book examinations of any type must be brought to the examination room in hard-copy form.  Students who have e-texts will not be able to use the e-text during in-person examinations as the exam software will block access to the text.  Students with e-texts must print out any text pages needed for the examination, as only hard copy materials will be allowed into the examination room. 
  3. Students are encouraged to leave unneeded personal belongings outside of the examination room. Unauthorized materials (e.g., books, notes, blank or scratch paper, etc.), which are brought into the examination room, must be immediately placed on the floor out of view. All cell phones,  wristwatch alarms, and the like must be turned off and may not be accessed until the exam has concluded and the exam packet has been returned to the proctor.  This includes during bathroom breaks. Breaking this rule is an exam violation.
  4. We strongly advise that students do not wear perfume, cologne, or aromatic lotions, deodorants or similar items in the examination rooms, or bring in/eat odiferous food. The odors from these products can be distracting or disturbing to other students.
  5. Students are not allowed to use or access their cell phones at any point during the examination until all exams have been collected. This includes during bathroom breaks.
  6. A room schedule for examinations will be posted online and on each classroom bulletin board showing which rooms are assigned to each examination. Students are assigned alphabetically by student last name to a specific examination room and must sit every other seat.
  7. A proctor will collect photo ID from each student as the examinations are distributed. The proctor will return the ID when the completed examinations are submitted. Any valid photo ID may be used. Any student without a photo ID will be accommodated with a sign-in and sign-out process after all students with an ID are through. When an examination has separately timed, multiple parts, the ID will be collected before the beginning of the first part, and it will be returned as the last part is collected. There is no scheduled break between the parts of an examination; the second part of the examination will be distributed as the first part is collected.
  8. Students with ID cards will be called first to turn in their examinations. As the examination envelope is submitted, the proctor will return the ID card. Students without ID cards will then be called by the proctor to submit their exams and sign-out.
  9. Examinations will be distributed in envelopes with official scratch paper.  Students must use the official scratch paper provided in the packet, and may not bring in or use their own scratch paper.  The proctor will provide bluebooks and a multiple choice answer sheet (if applicable) to hand writers. Examinees may not open the examination envelopes, nor write anything, before the proctor announces the beginning of the examination. All examination items provided in the examination envelope must be returned with the examination, including all used and unused scratch paper.
  10. The labeling of the bluebook and examination questions must be completed during the examination time. The examination number, name of the course and professor must be written on the outside front cover of each examination bluebook. The examination number must also be written on the examination questions and on any other related documents. All documents are removed from the examination envelope and sorted before they are given to the instructor. Students must number their bluebooks consecutively (i.e., 1 of 3, 2 of 3, etc.) This must be done within the allotted examination time.
  11. Examinees may not write their name or Student ID number on any bluebook, scratch paper, or exam (as it identifies your personal identity and is not anonymous).
  12. Once the proctor begins reading the examination instructions, there is to be no talking in the examination room. Students are prohibited from discussing anything concerning the examination in the halls or lavatories. Students may not leave the examination room with any of the examination materials.
  13. The proctor or any member of the Registrar’s staff may, at any time, examine a student's examination materials or any other items that a student may bring into the examination room, or may take any other appropriate action.
  14. Examinations will begin and end promptly as scheduled. A student who arrives late for an examination forfeits that portion of their examination time.
  15. If an urgent, safety situation arises during the exam, stop working on your examination immediately, place everything inside of your examination envelope and leave the envelope on top of your desk. Examinees may not discuss the contents of the examination with anyone. The Honor Code governs student conduct during an examination that is in progress. If necessary, students should exit the building but remain near the front doors for further instructions.
  16. The proctor will give a ten-minute warning prior to the end of the examination. Once this warning is given, no students may leave the examination room until the examination has ended. Students must remain seated until the proctor calls their row to hand in their exams.
  17. Each student must stop working on their examination when the proctor announces that examination time has ended. No student may add to or amend their examination after the examination time has been called. The proctor has authority to mark any paper "late" if deemed necessary.
  18. When the “end of examination” announcement has been given, each student must insert the examination questions, examination bluebooks and used scratch paper into the exam envelope. All examination materials, used and unused, must then be placed back inside the envelope. Students must remain seated until the proctor calls their row to hand in their exams.
  19. When your exam is completed please leave the rotunda area quickly and quietly to avoid disturbing others who are still working in either the same classroom or in other rooms. Please do not congregate in the rotunda or on the stairs leading to the rotunda during the examination periods.
  20. Students are advised that more specific instructions may be posted prior to any given examination.
  21. For those specific examinations where the instructor is permitting the use of calculators, only simple calculators will be permitted. A simple calculator is an electronic device that has the only function of performing mathematic calculations, and has limited memory capacity. Calculators with extended memory capacity or other devices that include calculators (cell phones, laptop computers, etc.) will not be permitted.
  22. Students are prohibited from contacting an instructor about an examination from the time it commences until the final grades for the course have been posted. Contacting an instructor about the examination before the final grades have been posted may constitute a violation of the Honor Code. If an issue arises in regard to either the content or the administration of an examination, the issue must be brought to the attention of the Law Registrar, not the instructor.

Laptop Computers

  1. Students are permitted to use laptop computers to take the essay, short answer and multiple choice portions of their final examinations. This requires the installation of the approved examination software, called Examplify. Information regarding the software will be emailed by the Law Registrar’s office prior to the commencement of the exam period.

  2. If the examination is an open book examination, you must bring with you to the examination room any permitted materials in hard copy form. You are not permitted to access any course materials stored on your laptop computer during an open book exam of any type. This applies to an open book, multiple choice only examination as well as an open book essay or multiple type examination.

  3. If a laptop computer fails to operate before or during an examination, the examinee must complete the examination in writing. The proctor will have bluebooks available for this purpose. No extra time will be given to the examinee whose computer malfunctions before or during the examination.

Take Home & Take-Out Examinations

  1. The instructor of a course where a take home / take-out  final examination is given determines the duration of the examination. Durations of take home examinations may be as short as 3 hours, or may cover the entire final examination period.

  2. Examinations will be available for download from the ExamSoft website. The Registrar's Office will notify students via email, to their USF email account, prior to the exam period commencement, with specific instructions about exam release and submission times, and how to access the examination. 

  3. Unless otherwise noted, all take home and take-out examinations are to be uploaded to the ExamSoft website, which records the downloaded and uploaded submission times. It is the responsibility of the student to confirm receipt of the take-home / take-out exam procedures and to contact the Registrar's Office if take home / take-out examination instruction was not received.

  4. Examinations that are submitted after the duration of the examination have expired or after the final submission deadline will be marked “late”. Absent compelling circumstances, sanctions will be imposed on late examinations by the Registrar’s office.

  5. Take home examinations may have rules specific to each examination. It is the student’s responsibility to know and to follow these specific rules.

Fulfilling Course Requirements

It is the policy of the faculty of the School of Law that students complete all course requirements in a timely manner.

All students enrolled in a course for which there is a final examination are required to take the examination at the time it is scheduled. If the course does not require an examination, but rather the completion of a paper, a series of papers or reports, etc., students are required to submit the material at the time specified by the instructor for the entire class.

If any student does not complete the requirements (as explained above) for a course in which they are enrolled, and has not been granted an “Incomplete” (see below), the instructor will not report a grade for that student and the Registrar's Office will automatically enter a grade of "F".


Students are required to complete all course work within the time allotted by the instructor for the entire class. Where unusual circumstances arise which create hardship and prevent a student from fulfilling these requirements, it may be possible for the student to receive an "Incomplete" and to thereby extend the deadline for completion of the course. An incomplete is not available unless the student meets the law school’s attendance requirements.

In order to receive an "Incomplete", students must file a petition, securing the approval first from the instructor and then from the Law Registrar. The forms to petition for an "Incomplete" are available in the Registrar's Office or the Forms page. In order to be considered, any petition must be approved and filed on or prior to the official last day of classes of the semester in which the “Incomplete” is taken. Failure to file the petition will result in a grade of "F" or “No Credit” (as appropriate) being recorded by the Registrar even when a verbal agreement has been made between the student and the instructor.

If the petition is granted, the designation "Incomplete" will be entered, temporarily, on the student's official transcript of record in lieu of a grade for the course. The student shall not receive unit credit, for any purpose, unless and until the course is satisfactorily completed in a timely manner.

In order to remove the "Incomplete" and receive credit for the course, the student must complete all work to the instructor's satisfaction and the grade for the course must be received by the Registrar's Office by the last official day of the grading period in the succeeding semester following that in which the “Incomplete” is taken. In the event that a grade is not reported to the Registrar, for any reason, by said date, a grade of "F" or “No Credit” (as appropriate) shall be entered for the course upon the official transcript of record.

Except in unusual circumstances, a student will not be permitted to take an "Incomplete" in more than one course in a single semester.