Deferred Exams

What you need to know before you request a deferred exam?

Deferred exams are intended to assist students who—as a result of a severe diagnosed illness or a set of unforeseeable and significant extenuating circumstances—are unable to write the final exam for a course at the originally scheduled time.

A deferred final exam is held on an alternate and centrally scheduled date, and the deferred final exam grade will have the same weight on the overall course grade as the original final exam. For more information, refer to the University eCalendar entry pertaining to Deferred Exams.

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, first take a moment to consider the following:

  • Deferring an exam merely pushes it to the future—and it may end up being scheduled at a time when you have a full course load and other exams or assignments.
  • Regular final exams take place within a few days after the end of the course. Deferred exams are held much later, meaning course material won’t be as fresh in your mind.
  • Applying for a deferred exam doesn’t guarantee approval. Requests due to minor illnesses (cold) or scheduling conflicts (travel plans) won’t be approved.
  • You cannot defer a deferred exam. If you fall ill right before your deferred exam, you won’t have the option to defer it again.
  • You have to provide supporting documentation for your request if this isn’t your first deferral.
  • A deferred exam may have an impact on future plans, such as exchanges, studying abroad, internships, etc.
  • McGill offers many resources to help you avoid having to defer, including McGill Tutoring Services, McGill Counselling Workshops, faculty-specific resources, and other academic resources.
  • Your academic advisor can help point you toward valuable resources and support services, as well as outline how a deferral might affect your particular academic program and/or degree timeline, especially if it is a prerequisite course for something else.

The Student Affairs Office reserves the right to make final decisions regarding what accommodations are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.

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