Notebook, pencils, and pencil shavings

Exam Regulations

These regulations shall apply to undergraduate and graduate courses, up to and including 500-level, that are evaluated by the use of written final examinations. These regulations are governed by the University Student Assessment Policy.

Conduct during examinations is also governed by the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities.


These regulations pertain to final examinations that are supervised by Enrolment Services for the faculties of Arts, Education, Engineering, Management, Religious Studies, and Science, and the School of Nursing. Except where otherwise indicated, these regulations shall also apply to all faculties and schools who administer their own examinations.


For a full list of university exam regulations, consult the eCalendar.

Pre-requisites to examination

  1. It is the responsibility of the student to confirm the date, time, and place of the examination by checking examination schedules.
  2. It is assumed that upon entering the examination room, it is the intent of the student to complete the examination. Students are warned that it is their personal responsibility to judge their own state of health before entering the examination room to assess whether they are able to undertake the examination. Note that once a final examination is written, the student’s earned grade will appear on the student’s transcript.
  3. Students writing examinations must have with them their valid McGill student ID card ready for presentation upon entering the classroom and visible on the desk during the exam. If you have lost your McGill ID, please provide a government-issued ID with your full name written on it. Verification of your ID will be made at the time of your exam.

Conflict of examinations

When the final exam schedule is announced, some students may find they have conflicting exam times or are scheduled on an exam date that interferes with religious observance. Consult the Conflicts page to see if you qualify for an academic or religious conflict. If so, follow the steps to report the conflict.

Note: Travel arrangements do not constitute a conflict. Students should not make travel arrangements based on the tentative exam schedule, as it is subject to change.

Use of computers, calculators, dictionaries, and other electronic equipment

  1. All mobile phones, smart phones, smart watches, and web-accessible electronic devices must be turned off and must not be in the student’s possession during the exam. Unauthorized items found on the person or desk will be confiscated and turned over to the relevant Disciplinary Officer. In the Gymnasium, it is permitted to place these devices on the floor, under the chair.
  2. Calculators:
    • For examinations requiring the use of a calculator, unless otherwise specified by the examiner, only non-programmable, non-text storing calculators are permitted.
    • For the Faculty of Engineering examinations, only faculty-approved calculators are permitted.
  3. Dictionaries:
    • Unless expressly forbidden by the examiner, translation dictionaries are permitted, except in courses where knowledge of a language is one of the objectives of the course.
    • Translation dictionaries must not include any definitions or synonyms. Other dictionaries (thesaurus, definition, technical) are not allowed, unless otherwise specified by the examiner.
    • Electronic dictionaries are not permitted, whether they are translation or other.

Guidelines for conduct of examinations

  1. Final examinations are 3 hours long. The duration of in-department final examinations and midterm examinations may vary.
  2. Any material brought into the examination room may be inspected.
  3. The University is not responsible for the loss of personal belongings during an exam, and students are encouraged to leave valuables at home.
  4. Books, notes, other material containing information pertaining to the examination, pencil cases, and calculator covers should be left with other personal belongings, away from the desk area.
  5. Talk or any other form of communication between students is forbidden.
  6. Students may not leave the examination room during the first hour. No student will be allowed to enter an examination later than one hour after it has started.
  7. Students who arrive after the examination has begun, within the first hour of the exam, will not be given extra time.
  8. Students must enter their name and McGill ID and sign all examination materials, as well as the signature sheet confirming the row, seat, and room where they are writing the exam.
  9. Students must be accompanied to the washroom, and cannot leave the examination room unescorted.
  10. Students may not leave the examination room during the last 15 minutes of the examination period, and will remain seated quietly until the invigilator announces the end of the examination period.
  11. Once the invigilator indicates the end of the examination period, students will not be given extra time to write their names on the examination materials or for other reasons.
  12. Students are required to submit all examination materials at the end of the examination period. Completed work must be done in accordance with the examination instructions, and must be handed in to the invigilator.

Examination seating

  1. During all written examinations - midterm, in-department and finals – alternating seats should be used, so as to create some distance between each student.
  2. For multiple-choice examinations with two or more versions, the invigilator will spread out or “stripe” the examination by alternating the versions, so as to create distance between students with the same examination version.
  3. Final examinations conducted by the Enrolment Services Examination Office will have assigned seating with the exception of examinations held in the Gym.
  • Students must sit where they have been assigned.
  • Signature sheets will display where the students were seated.

Illness during examinations

Students who fall ill or feel that they cannot continue the examination should report this to the invigilator, hand in their paper, and follow the steps below. The invigilator will complete an incident report, which will be placed in the student’s file.

  1. The student must immediately consult a recognized medical authority and obtain a medical note.
  2. The student must submit the medical note, the next day or as soon as possible, to their Student Affairs Office, or to Service Point for students in the faculties of Arts and Science.
  3. Students in the faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts (including Social Work), Education, Religious Studies, and Science, or in the School of Continuing Studies, Nursing, or Physical & Occupational Therapy must also apply through Minerva to request a deferred exam.

Assisting students who are ill during examinations:

  1. If a student falls ill and discontinues the examination during the first hour, depending on the severity of the illness, the student will be supervised by the onsite medic until the first hour has elapsed.
  2. If a student falls ill and discontinues the examination after the first hour has elapsed, the student will be assessed and supervised by the onsite medic until they are able to leave the exam venue.
  3. If a student is deemed too ill to leave the examination area, the onsite medic will call an ambulance and McGill Security Services will be advised.

Interruption of an examination by an external event

  1. During an exam, if there are any emergencies, including health issues that require an ambulance, or security-related issues, 911 should be called first, followed by 3000 if calling from a McGill line, or 514-398-3000 when calling from a mobile phone. Invigilators are also instructed to call the Deputy Invigilator or the Chief Invigilator. The telephone numbers are found on the Exams telephone list remitted to invigilators during training sessions.
  2. If the fire alarm sounds, the building must be evacuated immediately. Students must follow the invigilator’s directives and leave the classroom in a quick and orderly manner. They must leave all examination material on their desk and leave their personal belongings behind. The invigilator will escort the students out of the building and keep the students together a safe distance away from the building until given instructions to return to the classroom by Security Services.
  3. A decision to resume the final examination will be made by the Chief Invigilator in consultation with the faculties concerned and by the Examiner for midterm and in-department examinations.

Role of the Examiner, Associate Examiner, and TAs for the course

  1. The Examiner and/or the Associate Examiner for all final examinations is required to be present for a minimum of 30 minutes as per section 5.6.1 of the University Student Assessment Policy, and must be available for questions or consultation during the full duration of their examination. A contact telephone number should be provided.
  2. Before entering the rooms where the final examination is being held, the Examiner or Associate Examiner should identify themselves at the local Examination Office where the final examination is being held. They should present photo ID (and, in some examination locations, receive a name badge), so they are more easily identified by invigilators in the examination rooms.
  3. Designated TAs should identify themselves at the local Examination Office where the final examination is being held, present photo ID (and, in some examination locations, receive a name badge). If TAs are not accompanied by the Examiner, they must provide the Examination Office with a signed introductory letter from the Examiner.
  4. Examiners are not permitted to grant any special treatment (e.g., extra time) regarding examinations to any student.
  5. Invigilators will not answer questions concerning examination content. Questions concerning possible errors, ambiguities, or omissions in the examination paper will be directed to the invigilator, who will forward them to the Examiner or Associate Examiner.

Multiple-choice examinations

Responses on multiple-choice examinations are normally checked by the Examination Security Computer Monitoring Program. The program detects pairs of students with unusually similar answer patterns on multiple-choice examinations. Data generated by the program can be used as admissible evidence either to initiate or corroborate an investigation or charge of cheating under Article 17 of the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

Take-home examinations

  1. Take-home examinations are scheduled with regular examinations to balance the student examination load. By default, the deadlines for submissions of take-home examinations are set by the Examination Office, unless otherwise specified by the instructor.
  2. The date assigned to take-home examinations will be either the 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM or the 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM examination slots. By default, the students must hand in the work by the end of these periods, unless otherwise specified by the instructor.

Reasonable accommodations during examinations

The University will make every reasonable effort to provide an appropriate environment for examinations. This includes providing an adequate degree of seating space and writing surface, and prevention of excessive disruption and environmental noise. If a student has concerns about the quality of the examination environment, these concerns should be expressed to the invigilator, who is obliged to take note of them and take appropriate action, if possible. All such concerns should be reported formally to the Chief Invigilator or to the Associate Dean of the student’s faculty as quickly as possible.

Breaches of regulations

Any alleged breach of these regulations will be reported in an incident report to the Chief Invigilator and to the relevant Disciplinary Officer (or Dean) for appropriate action.

After the exam

Each faculty has its own procedures for grading, re-grading, or returning exams. Consult your Student Affairs Office for more information.

If you've received a low grade in your course, consult your faculty's policy regarding supplemental exams. Consult the general regulations on supplemental exams, then consult your Student Affairs Office for specific instructions.


Enrolment Services, November 2015


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