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Deferred and Supplemental Exams

Deferred and Supplemental Exams


Deferred Exams

If you believe you are unable to write your final exam due to a serious health or wellness condition, or another extenuating circumstance, you may be eligible to apply for an exam deferral, depending on your faculty rules and regulations and per the information below.

Step 1: Understand your options and the consequences

Deciding whether or not to defer a final exam can be difficult. While there are obviously times when taking that step is necessary, there are usually more cons involved than pros. If you’re contemplating applying for a deferred exam, consider the following first:

Likelihood of your request being approved:

- Applying for a deferred exam does not guarantee approval. Deferred exam requests are not automatically granted, even with supporting documentation. Consult the “Eligibility” section for more information.

- Deferring an exam is an exceptional measure, and is meant to help students who are severely ill or dealing with unforeseeable, significant extenuating circumstances. Requests due to minor illnesses (e.g. a cold, cramps, nausea, etc.), minor personal matters, for scheduling conflicts (e.g. travel plans), or to manage your workload will not be approved.

- Do not use exam deferral requests to manage your exam schedule or to reduce your exam load. If you request to defer one exam due to illness, then write another exam the same day or the next, your request will likely be refused. It is your responsibility to plan how you will meet the academic requirements of your program.

- Deferred exam requests will not be approved if you attend your exam and partway through decide that you were not well enough to perform at full capacity.

- In cases of incidental illness (e.g., a cold, cramps, nausea, etc.) that affected your study time leading up to the exam, but where you recovered on the day of your exam, you are expected to write your exam, and a deferral will not be granted.

- If you have requested a deferred exam in the past, any future requests will be reviewed more stringently, and requests with similar reasons or circumstances as previous requests will not likely be approved.

- If you have made requests due to disability or chronic illness in the past, it is your responsibility to take measures to manage your condition and your course schedule to avoid relying on deferred exams in subsequent exam periods. Please refer to resources available (listed below) and consult with your academic advisor to assist you in this process.

- For incidental illness or flare-ups of chronic medical issues, you must submit supporting medical documentation from your health practitioner indicating that you were seen on or close to the original exam date and why you were unable to write the exam on the original date.

⇨ Repeat exam deferral requests due to incidental illness are less likely to be approved if the circumstances continue to be incidental in nature;
⇨ In the case of a flare-up of a chronic condition, the note from your health practitioner will need to specify that they observed the flare-up the day of your missed exam, and that you are continuing to be treated and/or followed for your diagnosed condition. Note: a diagnosed anxiety disorder is considered to be a chronic issue. However, if your note simply states anxiety, this is considered to be an incidental illness.

Scheduling:

- A deferred exam may have an impact on future plans, such as exchanges, studying abroad, internships, etc.

- Deferring an exam merely pushes it to the future—to a time when you may have a full course load of other exams to prepare for. You are strongly advised not to defer more than two exams in an exam period, as this could make for an unmanageable deferred exam period and workload for the following semester.

- Exams during the regular period are scheduled shortly after the end of the course. Deferred exams are held much later after the end of a term, meaning course material will not be as fresh.

Other considerations:

- Submitting your deferred exam request before the scheduled final exam date does not mean that your request will be reviewed and acted on quickly. For example, submitting a request on April 13th in advance of an April 18th exam will not result in a decision by the 18th.

- The course with a deferred final exam will show a grade of “L” on your transcript until the deferred exam is written and graded. Both the grade of "L" and your final grade will display on your advising/unofficial transcript.

- You cannot defer a deferred exam. If you fall ill right before your deferred exam, you will not have the option to defer it again.

- You will have to provide supporting documentation for your request if this is not your first exam deferral.

- McGill offers many resources to help you avoid having to defer, including McGill Tutoring Services, the Student Wellness Hub, McGill Counselling Workshops, faculty-specific resources, and other academic resources. If you have a disability or a chronic illness, register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) to help you manage your accommodation needs.

- Your academic advisor can help point you toward valuable resources and support services, as well as outline how a deferral might affect your career and timeline.

Step 2: Find out if you are eligible for a deferred exam

The following are the eligibility requirements for a deferred exam:

  • Requests are submitted according to your Faculty Guidelines (see “Submitting a request”)
  • You must cite a valid reason for requesting a deferred exam, even if this is your first-time request. Valid reasons are:
    -Serious medical illness;
    -Serious personal issues/circumstances;
    -Serious unforeseeable or extenuating circumstances.
    Note: Travel plans are not a valid reason
  • If this is not your first deferred exam request, you must also provide supporting documentation (such as a medical note) which confirms your inability to write the exam on the original date. Documents should be submitted as soon as you submit your exam deferral request in Minerva. Incomplete requests will be cancelled, and late documents will not be accepted. See “Submitting a request” for details on accepted supporting documents and how and when to submit supporting documents.
  • First-time requests: Students in eligible faculties (listed below) who request a first-time exam deferral due to illness or other serious extenuating circumstance may be granted the exam deferral without the need for supporting documentation (such as a medical note). Students requesting a first-time exam deferral are nonetheless required to have a valid reason, and all other requirements and deadlines for submitting a request for a deferred exam will apply.

Eligible faculties:

-Science (including the Bachelor of Arts & Science)
-Management
-Law
-Engineering (including School of Architecture)
-Education
-Arts (including Schools of Social Work and Religious Studies)
-Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Ineligible faculties/schools:

-Continuing Studies
-Nursing
-Information Studies
-Physical and Occupational Therapy
-Dentistry
-Medicine
-Music
-Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

For ineligible faculties/schools, the guidelines for your home faculty or school are applicable.

Step 3: Submit your request

  1. Read the “Options and consequences” and “Eligibility” steps first.
  2. Check the deadlines for submitting a request applicable to you.
    Visit the "Final Exam Dates" page to view deferred exams application deadlines.
  3. Submit your request. 
    You must do this by the posted deadline in your faculty guidelines. Make sure to cite a valid reason in your request before submitting it. See “Eligibility” step.
  4. Submit supporting documents (see below).

What do you need to provide?

Supporting documents which substantiate your claim of incapacity or inability to attend your exam(s) on the given date(s).

We recommend that you use the medical note template provided on this site. If you choose not to use the template, you must ensure the note includes the following important elements: 

Note for December 2020 final exams: medical notes issued from health practitioners licensed outside of Canada will be accepted

  • Be from a healthcare practitioner licensed to work in Canada who has observed and diagnosed your condition the day of your missed exam. The following is the list of healthcare practitioners deemed acceptable:

-A Dental Surgeon or Dentist
-A Psychologist, Psychotherapist, or Social Worker
-A Physician, Psychiatrist or Surgeon
-A Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
-A health professional from the McGill Student Wellness Hub

  • Your full name (and McGill ID#, where applicable)
  •  Information about your healthcare practitioner:

-their name, title, address, and license #
-their signature
-the date you consulted them and on which they observed your condition impacting your health or wellness

  • Information about your circumstances:

-a statement of capacity, indicating the extent to which your condition prevented you from performing academically (e.g. That you weren’t/aren’t able to attend your exam that day and why);
-the date(s) during which you were impacted that you were/are incapable of doing so;
-the date on which you are expected to be able to resume your studies/exams (ie. the prognosis for your return to health)

When do you need to provide it?

Supporting documents must be sent as soon as you have submitted your Minerva request. Note that incomplete requests will be cancelled.

Arts and Science students:

-Submit PDF copies of your documents to Service Point by completing this form: Submit Documents to Support Deferred Exam Request.

Students from all other Faculties must submit documents directly to their Faculty Student Affairs Office.

Faculty

How/Where do I submit an exam deferral request?

Where do I submit supporting documents (e.g. medical note)?

Where can I seek academic advising?

Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Student Affairs at Macdonald Campus

Student Affairs at MacDonald Campus

Arts (including Information Studies and Social Work)

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Current Student Contact Form

OASIS at Dawson Hall

Continuing Studies

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at School of Continuing Studies or joey.settino [at] mcgill.ca (by email)

Continuing Studies Front Desk (688 Sherbrooke W., 11th floor)

Dentistry

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Associate Dean or Student Affairs within Dentistry

Student Affairs within Dentistry – or norman.miller [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Deferred%20Exam) (Norman Miller)

Education

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Student Affairs (3700 McTavish, room 243) or sao.education [at] mcgill.ca (by email)

Student Affairs at Education (3700 McTavish, room 243)

Engineering (including Architecture and Urban Planning)

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Frank Dawson Adams building (3450 University, Room 22)

Student Affairs at Frank Dawson Adams building (3450 University, Room 22)

Graduate Studies

Consult with the Graduate department - your Graduate Program Coordinator must submit a Deferred Exam Request on your behalf

Consult with your Graduate department

Departmental Supervisor

Law

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Law Student Affairs (3644 Peel, room 433)

In person at Law Student Affairs (3644 Peel, room 433)

Management

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Management Student Affairs (1001 Sherbrooke W., room 110)

In person at Management Student Affairs (1001 Sherbrooke W., room 110)

Medicine

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Medicine Student Affairs (3708 Peel Street)

Medicine Student Affairs (3708 Peel Street)

Music

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Student Affairs at Music – Elizabeth Wirth Music building (527 Sherbrooke St W., 7th floor)

Student Affairs at Music – Elizabeth Wirth Music building (527 Sherbrooke St W., 7th floor)

Nursing

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Student Affairs (680 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 1941)

Student Affairs (680 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 1941)

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Student Affairs (3630 Sir William Osler)

In person at Student Affairs (3630 Sir William Osler)

Religious Studies

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

In person at Service Point or servicepoint [at] mcgill.ca (by email) (BA in Religious Studies)

Religious studies (Birks Building, 3520 University)

Science (including B.A. and Sc.)

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Current Student Contact Form

SOUSA at Dawson Hall

Summer Studies - Special Students

Minerva

(Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

Current Student Contact Form (for students in Arts, Science or Art/Sci). All other students should consult their Student Affairs Office.

n/a
   

Step 4: Understanding your decision (approved or refused)

  • It is your responsibility to verify the Deferred Exam schedule for the exact date, time, and location of your exam. The schedule will be posted at www.mcgill.ca/exams approximately two weeks prior to your deferred exam period.

⇨ Exams deferred from the December exam period (i.e. from the Fall term) are scheduled in the Winter term study break.
⇨ Exams deferred from the April exam period (i.e. from the Winter term) are scheduled in the 3rd week of August.
⇨ You are expected to be available during a deferred exam period to write your exam.

Important: Faculty of Engineering students will be notified in writing when they are to write their deferred final exam. Deferred exams for courses administered by the Faculty of Engineering are offered during the final examination period the next time the course is given (excluding Summer term). Please refer to Deferred Examinations: Faculty of Engineering for more information.

Students in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy will be notified in writing when they are to write their deferred final exam for the professional School courses. Please refer to the School's program documents and regulations for more information.

  • You can only defer your final exam once. If you request a late course withdrawal (late-W) from a course with an approved exam deferral and the reasons for the late-W are similar to those for your deferred exam request, then your request will not be granted.
  • If you requested a deferred exam and then ended up writing the original final exam, you will no longer be eligible to write the deferred exam, even if your request was approved. It is your responsibility to inform your Student Affairs office (or Service Point, for Arts and Science students) that you wrote the final exam at the originally scheduled time. Failure to meet this obligation may place you in violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may involve disciplinary measures.
  • Take measures to avoid similar issues arising in your next exam period. If you have a chronic condition or disability, register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health issues, see a counsellor or therapist and talk to your faculty advisor regarding ways you can better manage your course load. McGill offers many resources to help you avoid having to defer an exam, including McGill Tutoring Services, McGill Counselling Workshops, and other academic resources.
     

If your deferred exam request is refused

  • The refusal could be for any number of reasons, including but not limited to:

⇨ Not providing a valid reason for your request
⇨ Missing, inadequate, or non-specific medical documentation, for example:

►Note does not include an actual observation by the health practitioner
►Note is not dated the day of the exam
►Note is not from a recognized health practitioner
►Note is not on letterhead
►Note does not state clearly an inability to write the exam
►Note does not indicate when studies/exams can be resumed (ie. prognosis)

⇨ You have made previous requests for similar or the same reasons and there is no evidence that you have taken measures to address the challenges you are facing during exam periods.

  • You must write the final exam at its originally scheduled date and time. If you do not or did not write your final exam, you will receive a grade of J, which counts as a failure in your TGPA and CGPA. If you receive a J, a supplemental exam may be an option for you if you meet the eligibility requirements. See “Supplemental Exams” tab.
  • If you are an Arts or Science student, you may make a written request to have the decision reviewed; there must be new information or documentation relevant to your initial request that you did not originally submit.

    If you believe that your situation warrants a decision review, submit your written request no later than 5 business days after the refusal of your initial request.
    • How to submit a request:

⇨ Write a concise (max 500 words) statement explaining why you are requesting a decision review, and what new and relevant information you are sharing to support your request. This could include details such as:

►The specific measures you took during the semester to avoid relying on deferred exam(s), such as support services or resources you used, reduction in course-load, etc.
►If relevant, an explanation of why your documentation was not complete or specific

⇨ Email your statement – including PDF-formatted supporting documents - to servicepoint [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Decision%20Review%3A%20Deferred%20Exam) from your McGill email account, ensuring that the subject line reads “Decision Review: Deferred Exam”

Decisions are reviewed by a committee consisting of the following individuals: Director, Service Point; Registrar and Executive Director of Enrolment Services; and either the Associate Dean (Arts OASIS) or the Director of Advising (Science SOUSA), depending on your Faculty.

The Decision Review Committee will review the original request and any additional information or supporting documentation provided as part of the request for decision review in light of the eligibility requirements listed on this website and taking into consideration the student’s academic record and prior requests for deferred exams or for late course withdrawals. The committee will only review documentation and written statements; requests to present verbal statements or arguments in-person will not be granted.

Decisions made by this committee are final.


Supplemental Exams

If you are in satisfactory or probationary standing and received a grade of D, F, J, or U, you may be eligible to write a supplemental exam, which will count for a large percentage of your final grade. Your initial grade will still appear on your transcript, and both will be calculated into your CGPA.

Contact an advisor in your Student Affairs Office to discuss whether writing a supplemental exam is the right option for you.

Note: Supplemental exams are not available for courses administered by Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Management, Music, or Engineering (except for some Science, Humanities, and Social Sciences courses).

Do I qualify for a supplemental exam?

You must refer to the Supplemental Exam Regulations to determine if you qualify.

Students who apply for a supplemental examination but find themselves unprepared for it have the option of not writing the exam (see note below). There is no penalty for not writing a supplemental exam except for the loss of the supplemental examination fee.
NOTE: Students in the Faculty of Law and School of Physical and Occupational Therapy must consult their Student Affairs Office  

How do I apply?

Applications can be made on Minerva. A supplemental exam fee will apply.
 

Rules and regulations

  • For the detailed regulations on supplemental exams, consult the eCalendar.
  • The format of the supplemental exam will not necessarily be identical to that of the final exam of the same course. Students are responsible for contacting the course professor for information about the supplemental exam format.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to find out the date, time, and location of the exam by consulting the Supplemental Exam Schedule when it is posted.
  • All students are strongly encouraged to consult their Student Affairs Office to determine the supplemental exam policies of their faculties and/or schools.
     

Application deadlines and exam periods

  • Visit the "Final Exam Dates" page to view supplemental exams' application deadlines and exam periods.

 

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