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COVID-19 Update: All 2021 Harvard Summer School courses and activities will be offered online.

Learn about the types of exams offered in Summer School courses, and review policies regarding exam absences, conflicts, and make-ups. If you have questions about exams, contact Academic Services at academicservices@extension.harvard.edu.

Types of Exams

Quizzes, Hour, and Midterm Exams

Students are expected to take their exams on time and as scheduled by their instructors. Students who are unable to take a quiz, hour exam, or midterm due to extenuating circumstances should contact their instructor immediately. Instructors have varying policies regarding make-up quizzes, hour, and midterm exams.

Exams in Online Courses

Many distance education courses have exams, which may be take-home, online proctored, or online open book. Instructors will inform students of the format of course exams.

Online Exams

An online exam is a timed exam that is taken on a specific date and within a specific 24-hour period. Students enrolled in web conference courses should plan to take exams during class meeting times. Instructors may elect to administer exams online via Canvas (for open book exams) or with Proctorio (for remotely administered exams), or in limited cases, using a third party testing tool. Students should refer to the syllabus or contact course staff members with any questions about online exams. Students enrolled in online courses are expected to have the necessary computer systems (hardware and software) and internet access to take online exams. Paper exams will not be administered in lieu of the online exam except for accommodations approved by the Accessibility Services Office.

Final Exams

A final exam, paper, or project is required in all courses. Seminars and workshops in which students are evaluated on the basis of reports and ongoing weekly assignments are the exceptions to this policy. Only registered undergraduate- and graduate-credit students are allowed to take final exams and submit final papers and projects.

Final exams are generally three hours long and are administered according to the exam schedule set by the registrar. Your instructor will inform you of the date, time, and format of the final exam in your course.

If you are not able to start your final exam at the scheduled time, you may not make separate arrangements with your instructor to take the final exam at an earlier or later time. Grades are not accepted for students who do this. If you cannot take your final exam at the scheduled time, you may be eligible to appeal for a make-up final exam.

If you begin your final exam and are unable to complete it for any reason, you are assigned a failing grade (E), or zero, for the incomplete portion of the exam. You are not allowed to complete the final exam at another time or appeal for a make-up final exam. If you do not take your final exam and did not withdraw from the course by the withdrawal deadline, you are assigned a failing grade for the final exam.

Final Take-Home Exams

Students who cannot submit a take-home exam by the deadline should contact their instructor immediately. The instructor may approve an extension of time (EXT) grade and write a new take home exam or assign the student a failing grade for the exam depending on the instructor’s policies. If it is the instructor’s policy to grant extension of time, the student should use the extension of time form to request more time to submit their new take-home exam. To qualify for the extension the student must be in good academic standing in the course.

Make-Up Final Exams

Students who cannot take their final exams as scheduled because of a religious conflict, documented serious illness, or compelling, unexpected circumstances may appeal for a make-up final exam. Students who begin a final exam but do not complete it for any reason, including illness, are not eligible to appeal for a make-up final exam.

Make Up Exam Eligibility

Make-up final exam appeals are considered only for students who:

  • Provide documentation of a compelling reason for missing the exam
  • Owe no other work in the course than the final exam and are eligible to pass the class (minus the final exam)
  • Have met course requirements for attendance and participation
  • Are in good financial standing with the Division of Continuing Education.

Appeals staff will contact instructors to verify students’ academic standing in courses for which they’ve applied for make-up exams as part of the appeals process.

The Make-Up Exam Committee makes every effort to be accommodating when there is a documented, extenuating, and direct conflict with a final exam. The following are examples that are not considered compelling reasons to grant a make up exam:

  • Lack of preparation or limited time to study
  • Negligence or misinformation
  • Undocumented circumstances
  • Planned vacations and other events

Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation must accompany an appeal. Two pieces of documentation are required, except in cases of personal illness. Documentation must be:

  • Written in English or submitted with official translation
  • Written on official letterhead or stationary (when possible)
  • Confirm the reason for missing the exam
  • Be signed by the appropriate person in an official capacity

Medical documentation should meet the requirements above and must be in the form of a letter and based on an exam or consultation within close proximity (2-5 days) of the missed exam. When applicable, the signed letter should include a description of the illness, specific dates or range of dates of the illness, and physical and functional limitations of the illness that prevented taking the exam as scheduled. Documentation written on prescription pads will not be accepted.

Documentation submitted as part of an appeal will become the property of Harvard Division of Continuing Education and will not be returned to the student. Documentation is only viewed by members of the Committee during the review and members of the appeal staff during the processing of an appeal. Documentation will be securely destroyed within one calendar year of the appeal review.

Submitting Your Make Up Final Exam

Students may appeal for make-up exams by submitting a make-up final exam appeal no later than three calendar days after the missed exam. Incomplete and late appeals will not be considered.

Students can submit their Make Up appeal, including submission of documentation, through online services:

  • Login to Online Services
  • From the Main Menu, select the “Make-up Final Exam Appeal Form”
  • Review the instructions on the first page, then select “Next Page” to continue to the form.
  • Complete the form to the best of your ability:
    • Enter the course information. Course information can be found in your academic schedule in the MyDCE student portal.
    • Select the credit status for which you have registered in the course
    • Select the original type of exam administered*
    • Type your appeal statement detailing the circumstances that caused the missed final exam.
    • Upload official documentation to support your Make Up appeal request**
  • Once all aspects of the form are complete and documentation is provided, select the confirmation of information in your appeal, then submit your appeal.

* Note: in the 2020-2021 Academic and Summer term, all courses that offer a final exam will be offered as Online Exams.

** Students are required to provide documentation with the exception of students who have already provided relevant documentation to the Accessibility and Student Services office. Students that do not provide documentation may find their appeal review is delayed as our appeal staff connects to request the required documentation for the appeal.

If you have trouble submitting your appeal or have questions that are not answered on this page, please contact the appeals staff in Academic Services at appeals@extension.harvard.edu for additional assistance.

Review and Scheduling of Make Up Final Exams

Appeals staff and committee will start to process and review Make Up appeals after the withdrawal deadline of each term and will review appeals on a rolling basis once the review period starts. Unfortunately, the appeal committee cannot guarantee appeal review and decision prior to the originally scheduled Final Exam.

Once appeals are reviewed a decision will be released via email – students should check their email to ensure they do not miss the decision.

If approved, make-up exams for courses that have an online final exam are administered on:

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2021 for summer courses

Students who do not take a make-up final exam as scheduled are assigned a failing grade for the exam.

Exam Absences for Religious Reasons

A student may request that an exam be rescheduled without penalty if the exam is scheduled on a day of religious observance for the student. Students should speak with their instructor no later than two weeks before the exam date to reschedule the exam.

Students who have a religious obligation that conflicts with a final exam must submit a completed make-up final exam appeal form to Academic Services within three calendar days of the exam. The make-up final exam appeal fee is waived for students with religious conflicts. However, students must include documentation from an appropriate religious or spiritual leader confirming the conflict with the exam. Exams are rescheduled for August 18. Students who also have religious conflicts with the scheduled make-up date should indicate this in their appeal statement.

Additional Information

For more information, email distance_exams@extension.harvard.edu.