The end is coming! After a long semester, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel — the end of classes, time to relax, freedom from constant deadlines, and a chance to go back home and be with family. Unfortunately, there’s a big fat barrier in the way: FINAL EXAMS.
At the end of each semester, after the last day of classes, there is a week of final exams. Each of your classes has a two hour block scheduled for a final exam during this week. Not all professors choose to hold a comprehensive final exam (covering all material in the course); some simply hold the last unit exam, others require presentations, etc. But all classes, with the exception of some special types of courses such as science labs, are required to meet and have a graded assignment during this time. It is not uncommon for the final exam to make up a significant part of your final grade in the course.
The schedule of final exams is posted before the semester begins. It is your responsibility to know when your exams are scheduled and make sure you can be there. Don’t buy a plane ticket that leaves before your finals are done or make other plans that would interfere. Taking a final exam early or late is not just a matter of asking permission from your professor — university policy requires you to write an essay explaining why you need to take the final early and get permission from the appropriate dean as well as your professor. If you miss an exam, you are at the mercy of your professor, who may or may not allow you to take it late. This stringency is important to protect the integrity of final exams; a student who takes it early could pass on information to other students, and one who takes it late could likewise receive unfair hints from classmates who have already taken it.
As you can see, it is important for you to be able to figure out when your finals will be. To find the Final Exam Schedule:
Reading the Final Exam Schedule
- Look for the day(s) that your class is taught — is it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (MWF), Tuesday and Thursday (Tues/Thurs), or some other combination? Find the rows that have this heading.
- Look under “Class time” in each of these rows for the time your class meets. For daytime classes, look at the first table; for evening classes, look at the bottom table.
- Go across under “Exam Day” to see what date the exam will be held. Then continue across to “Exam Time” to see when the exam will be held.
- This schedule does not cover all possible class times. If you can’t find your class time here, check your syllabus or ask the professor when the final will be held.
The final exam schedule does not give locations. Nearly all of your final exams will be held in the classroom in which you took the course — a professor has to get special permission to give a final exam in the Testing Center. Check your syllabus or ask your professor to make sure.
Notice that the final exam schedule has been designed to ensure that you can’t have two different finals at the same time (because you can’t take two classes that are held at the same time). Also, finals for a course are held on one of the days of the week that the class is held. Finally, course times are staggered throughout the week, so that if you have a class at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m., the finals will not be on the same days.
Before the end of the semester, you should take a look at the Final Exam Schedule and make a list of when your finals will be held. Check this information against your syllabus and make sure they match — ask your professor about any discrepancies. Then make a plan for when you will study for each of your finals. Write the final exam time for each course on your calendar and double check it for accuracy. Missing a final exam because you wrote down the wrong time is a little mistake that can cost you big (and give you nightmares for the rest of your life).
Final exams are a chance for you to show how much you’ve learned during the semester. Don’t slack off when you are so close to the end — finish strong, and you’ll enjoy your vacation even more, knowing you did your best right up to the finish line!