Wellesley's Unique and Honorable Self-scheduled, Unsupervised Exams

Wellesley College has a strong and successful history of self-scheduled examinations. This tradition survives due to our community's commitment to it the Wellesley College Honor Code.

In accordance with the Honor Code, and to ensure that each student experiences equitable testing conditions, students are barred from speaking about an exam with any student. This includes discussion of the difficulty, content, format, or any other aspect of the exam. The standard response to questions regarding an exam should be, "It's over."

On this page:

New Exam Center Location as of Spring 2018

Due to renovations in the Science Center, the Exam Center will be relocated to the Academic Quad beginning Spring 2018. There will be two Exam Centers, and exams will be split alphabetically by student last name between them.

  • Founders: Last names A-L

  • Pendleton East: Last names M-Z

Fixed Exams will be scheduled in Green Hall and Jewett.

PLTC-managed self-scheduled exams for students who need accommodations will be scheduled in Clapp Library as usual.


Exam Schedules (Spring 2018)

Fixed Exam Grid

Fixed Exam Schedule

Self Scheduled Exams

General Exam Information

Typically there are three standard exam sessions each day but the final schedule may vary each semester. Check the 5-year Calendar and watch this site for detailed listings of sessions and times.

Session 1: 9:00 A.M. - 11:30 AM
Session 2: 1:30 P.M. - 4:00 PM
Session 3: 6:00 P.M. - 8:30 PM
(there is no evening session on the last exam day)

Centers will start giving out exams 30 minutes prior to official exam start time. Exam time is 2-1/2 hours from time noted on the exam and no later than 11:30 AM for Session 1, 4:00 PM for Session 2 and 8:30 PM for Session 3.

To ensure the integrity of the examination process, photo ID must be presented at the exam center for each exam taken.  Please bring your student ID and a driver's license or passport to the exam center.


This year the beginning of Exam period coincides with the beginning of Ramadan. Students observing Ramadan have the option to elect a self-scheduled exam during a late evening exam session that begins at 9:00 pm and ends at 11:30 pm. This session was created in consultation with Tiffany Steinwert in response to student interest. The exam session starts after the evening meal. The Registrar's Office will host this session in the large and small conference rooms and the reading room of the Schneider Center if the daily demand remains under 20 students. Any questions about this exam session specifically can be directed to Tiffany Steinwert at tsteinwe@wellesley.edu.

Students’ Guide to Final Exams

For courses with a final exam, the professor has chosen to offer either a self-scheduled exam or a fixed (scheduled) exam. A fixed exam is given at a specific time and place for the entire class at the same time. A self‐scheduled exam is one that each member of the class takes at a time of the student’s choosing within the exam period.

The Honor Code applies, regardless of the type of exam.
Students must always do their own work, using only those materials allowed by the professor, and taking only the designated amount of time.

Students with disabilities and in need of extended time or other accommodations must have their arrangements pre-approved by Jim Wice, Disability Services. These students will report to an exam center in Founders Hall.  Details will be provided to these students individually in advance by the Disabilities Services Office.

Fixed Exams

Fixed exams are scheduled within one of the exam sessions in the five day exam period.  Students will know in advance from their professor regarding the time and place for the exam.

The professor will specify whether any materials can be used during the exam. Students should be at the specified room in advance of the start time. The professor or a colleague will administer and then collect the exams at the end of the time period.

If a student has three fixed exams scheduled in a 24‐hour period, the student may arrange with a professor to reschedule one exam to a different day and time slot. Professors are required to honor these requests, as long as there is no element of the exam that requires it to be administered to the entire group at once (for example, slides need to be shown or there is an oral component). Other emergency requests for taking a fixed exam at a time other than the scheduled time are at the professor’s discretion. If granted, the exam must be administered within the final exam period and may not conflict with any other scheduled exam.

Self-Scheduled Exams

Self-scheduled exams may be taken during any of the available exam periods scheduled throughout the five-day long exam period. Students are free to pick the day and time they wish to take any given self-scheduled exam.

Students need to report to one of the two Exam Centers in the Academic Quad to pick up any self-scheduled exam. Students with last names beginning with letters A through L need to go to the 3rd floor Founders Humanities Commons. Students with last names beginning with letters M through Z need to go to the Pendleton East Atrium.

Students should arrive at the examination distribution knowing their course and section number of the exam they wish to pick up. Students should bring their OneCards, as those will be used to check exams out and back in.

Students will receive an envelope labeled with their name and course. On the envelope it will be noted if blue books are required and/or calculators are allowed, if the exam is an Open-Book or Closed-Book exam, as well as the rooms in which the exam can be taken.

NOTE: Open-Book exams and Closed-Book exams must be taken in separate, designated rooms.

In most cases, the envelope will contain the exam but no blue books or scrap paper. If the envelope indicates "Blue Books Needed", students should be sure to pick up blue books before leaving the exam center.  Please return any unused blue books to the exam center when you have finished your exam.

Once in the room, the student is free to begin taking the exam. There is no proctor in the room during the exam.

Students are responsible for watching their time and taking no more than 2 ½ hours for the exam. When they finish, they should put the exam and any blue book(s) back in the envelope, seal and sign it, and then proceed back to the exam center to return and check-in the packet.

When an exam is checked-in, the return time is noted. Regardless of when you begin an exam, all students must stop their work at the end of the specified exam period.

Exam Information for Faculty

The exam schedule is determined early in each semester. Faculty are asked to watch for and respond promptly to all requests for exam preferences. Some of this information may be collected through online tools. Please review the information below.

Self-Scheduled Exam Option

Exams are self-contained, scheduled by student during designated exam period.
Consider the following:

  • Did you indicate open book or closed book?
    The term "open book" means that the students are permitted to use textbooks, dictionaries, their own notes from class, etc. None of these materials are permitted in a "closed book" exam room. If you have a question on the open/closed book policy, please contact the Registrar's Office. Any changes to exam types should be communicated before exam supplies go out to Departments for assembly and packaging.
  • Did you indicate calculators permitted for your exam?
    Calculators can be used in a "closed" book exam if indicated in Senta by the instructor. This notation will be on every student exam label, "calculators are permitted".  
  • Can you meet the exam preparation deadline?
    It will be the instructor's responsibility to complete their exams by the deadline.
  • What if a student wants to take the exam before the exam period?
    No exams can be taken before the designated exam period.
  • What if a student cannot take the exam during the exam period?
    Students are required to take their exams within the designated exam period. If the student requests an "incomplete", she may qualify to take her exam during the makeup period. Follow the link to find information regarding incomplete work. Legislation requires that makeup exams will be taken during the first week of classes the following semester.

Fixed Exam Option

Exams are scheduled by the Registrar's office. Instructors will proctor their exams on the specified day/time/location assigned. These exams typically involve slides, presentations, or an oral component.
Consider the following:

  • Check when your exam will be held, day/time: 
    All scheduled exams are scheduled according to the "exam grid". This schedule is designed to avoid student time conflicts. Locations will be announced by the Registrar's Office in September.
  • Are you available on campus to proctor your exam on the day and time indicated?
    Instructors are expected to proctor their scheduled exams.
  • What if a student wants to take the exam before the exam period?
    No exams can be taken before the designated exam week. You may schedule a mutually agreed day and time during the exam week at your discretion if a student is unable to attend the scheduled fixed exam. The agreed day/time must not conflict with any other fixed exam and must be within the designated exam period. Departmental space should be used for this option.
  • What if a student cannot take the exam during the exam period?
    Students are required to take their exams within the designated exam period. If the student requests an "incomplete", she may qualify to take her exam during the makeup period.  Follow the link to find information regarding incomplete work. Legislation requires that makeup exams will be taken during the first week of classes the following semester.

Faculty Exam Pick Up

Faculty may pick up their student's completed examinations during designated times at the Pendleton East Atrium Exam Center.

Wednesday, May 16 - Tuesday, May 22

9:30 am - 11:00 am (except the first day of exams, Wednesday, May 16th)

1:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Last Day of Exams - Special Evening Hours: Tuesday, May 22

5:15 pm - 6:15 pm


As of Wednesday May 23

Registrar’s Office, Schneider Hall, 1st floor

8:30 am to 4:30 pm


As a reminder, final grades are due shortly after the end of the examination period. The students appreciate your prompt submission of all grades.

Examination Information for Academic Administrators

Department Academic Administrators play a critical role in the examination process. Faculty should submit their examinations to their respective admins by the deadline suggested. The Department is then responsible for creating the necessary number of copies, stuffing them into envelopes, and labeling each envelope. The Office of the Registrar will coordinate the collection and secure storage of all examinations.