Exams

Evening Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary examinations (“prelims”) are mid-semester exams typically held during regularly scheduled class meeting times, in regularly scheduled classrooms. When it is necessary to hold an evening prelim outside of regularly scheduled class meetings, those prelims may be scheduled only on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and only after 7:30 PM. 

Instructors holding evening prelims are strongly urged to indicate this in the course descriptions and must notify students of the dates of such examinations as early as possible in the semester, preferably when the course syllabus is distributed. If an evening prelim is scheduled, an alternative time to take the examination must be provided for those students who have academic, religious, athletic, or employment conflicts at the time scheduled.

For more information on the policy governing evening examinations, contact the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, 315 Day Hall, deanoffaculty@cornell.edu.

Final Examinations

The academic calendar sets aside, after the last week of classes, a study period followed by a period for final examinations. Advances in pedagogy and variations in practice across fields have broadened the range of commonly used end of semester evaluative exercises beyond traditional sit-down final examinations. The Office of the University Registrar assigns a specific day and time for a course's final exam, or final project due date.

The rules and guidelines governing exams aim to protect students from unreasonable demands on their time while simultaneously providing instructors the flexibility to design evaluative exercises appropriate to their courses. The designated final exam days and times are scheduled to minimize conflicts and spread students' workloads as evenly as possible over the exam period.

Faculty members are urged to accommodate students' requests for alternative exam times or make-up examinations when students' exam schedules are sufficiently congested to warrant such accommodation. For example, a student facing a direct conflict or three or more examinations during one twenty-four hour time period merits such accommodation.

Schedules for final examinations, and due dates for end of semester projects, papers and take home exams are made available online. No traditional final examination may be administered at a time other than the time assigned by the OUR without prior written permission of the dean of the university faculty.

The rules and policies governing exams are available on the final exam policies page.