Exam Interruption Policy

Exam Interruption

This policy applies to situations in which a student begins, but does not complete, an examination.

I. During the Exam: Process for Handling an Extraordinary Situation Affecting a Student’s Ability to Complete the Exam

The Law School encourages students who are ill or experiencing an extraordinary personal situation to seek assistance from the Dean of Students Office before an examination begins. In addition, students with pre-existing conditions, illnesses, or situations that could cause an unexpected interruption during examinations should discuss the situation with the Dean of Students Office before the examination period.

If an incident occurs during the examination, the student must notify the proctor immediately. The proctor will then refer the student to a Law School administrator as per below. In the case of a remote-proctored exam, the student must notify the Assistant Dean of Academic Services (617-573-8160) or the Dean of Students Office (617-573-8157). Students in this situation must identify themselves before the examination ends, as accommodations cannot be made after the fact for illness during an examination.

If the student, after consulting with the Assistant Dean for Academic Services and/or the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students, is unable to complete an exam due to a medical or mental health issue, then he/she must report immediately to Health Services, his/her private physician or the Emergency Room at a hospital. The University Police, Academic Services Office and Dean of Students Office can assist with transportation to a local Emergency Room. It is important to note that a contemporaneous and comprehensive, professional evaluation of a student in this situation is an important element in a petition for excusal from the examination as outlined below.

II. Process for Requesting Relief after a Student is Unable to Complete an Examination

This portion of the policy applies in the rare case where a student begins an exam, is unable to complete the exam due to a medical reason, mental health issue or other extraordinary personal situation and has complied with the process outlined above. After receiving appropriate medical attention, the student may request to be formally excused from the exam. The decision to excuse a student will be made by the Associate Deans, in consultation with the Dean of Students, the Assistant Dean for Academic Services and/or the Law School’s Disability Services Officer.

Students wishing to request relief under this policy shall submit a written petition and supporting documentation as soon as possible after the examination interruption. A student may submit only one exam excusal petition per exam period. Thus, it should be emphasized that all extraordinary circumstances relating to the exam interruption must be raised in the petition for exam excusal. Once the petition is reviewed and decided upon by the Associate Deans, there will be no appeal of the decision.

Petitions for relief shall include information on the following:
  • History of treatment (if medical/mental health situation) including, but not limited to, age of diagnosis, recommendations for medical/therapeutic interventions, compliance, use, and side effects of medication, and treatment successes
  • The unpredictability and/or severity of the situation and the impact on functioning and performance across a variety of settings
  • History of communication regarding the specific issue or condition with the Dean of Students Office
In the case of a medical or mental health situation, medical documentation submitted to support the petition shall:
  1. be as contemporaneous as possible with the exam interruption;
  2. confirm that the condition has an element of unpredictability;
  3. include an opinion from the treating physician or clinician that the interruption was directly caused by the diagnosed medical/mental health condition

Please note that a medical diagnosis alone does not automatically guarantee relief. Furthermore, a diagnosis of test anxiety in and of itself is insufficient to support a request for relief.

Students who have been properly excused from a final exam will be subject to the examination excusal provision in Rules and Regulations III. F. Failure to Take Examinations. Should the interruption occur during a mid-term assessment, relief, if available at all, will be determined on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Dean of Students in consultation with the course instructor, an Associate Dean and/or the Assistant Dean of Academic Services and such determination shall be final.

Relief for Graduating Students

In the event that the student is due to graduate immediately following the exam period in which the exam interruption occurred and the matter cannot be resolved by withdrawing the student from the course in which the exam interruption occurred, the law school may offer alternative relief if reasonably available. The decision to offer alternative relief to a graduating student and the nature of such relief shall be made by the Assistant Dean for Academic Services, Dean of Students and Academic Associate Dean and such decisions shall be final.