The last day of classes has traditionally been known as the "last day for written work." Many students will have multiple assignments due on the last day of class: papers, lab reports, lab exams. In addition, any late work must be turned in by that day.
Following the last day of classes is a brief review period and then the examination period. Final examinations may be either scheduled or self-scheduled. Examination information for each course is collected by the Registrar's Office and distributed to all students several weeks before the beginning of the examination period. It is also posted on the Registrar's website.
Generally, scheduled exams take place during the first four weekdays of the examination period. Any professor may elect to give a scheduled exam, but certain types of courses are more likely to have scheduled exams. These include film and art history courses and elementary and intermediate language courses, where visual or audio material is often part of the exam. Introductory science courses often also have scheduled final examinations.
Self-scheduled examinations are administered through the Registrar's office, with the assistance of the Student Curriculum Committee and the Honor Board. Self-scheduled examinations are a privilege conferred by the faculty in recognition of the Honor Code.
In their first semester, students may be somewhat confused about how exactly self-scheduled exams work. A detailed description of procedures and regulations is distributed by the Registrar's office. One basic thing to understand is the degree of flexibility involved in self-scheduled exams. Having self-scheduled exams does not mean getting to take an exam whenever you want to. Instead, there are set examination periods (generally 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. , 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. , and occasionally 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. ) during which exams may be taken. Conversely, having self-scheduled exams also does not mean being required to devise and submit a schedule of when you will take particular exams. You should develop a plan for yourself, but you don't have to inform anybody, and you may adapt it as circumstances dictate.
Some professors choose to give take-home exams, and the rules and guidelines for these exams differ enormously. They may be open book or not; they may be limited-time or not; the questions may be known in advance or not, etc. If you have a take-home exam in a given course, make sure you know and understand what is expected.
Finally some classes have no final exams at all. They may have a paper or other project "in lieu of exam," or they may have no assignments at all after the end of classes.
Advice on managing your time during examination period:
Most Bryn Mawr students highly value the flexibility conferred by self-scheduled exams. However, self-scheduled exams pose certain temptations. Consider these two scenarios, and try to avoid them.
"I only have three exams; I can take one a day; I can leave Wednesday."
Students are often eager to get home as soon as possible, especially for the winter holidays. Please remember that final exams and other final projects may constitute a significant portion of your grade. Studying for and taking exams can be a time-consuming and tiring business, especially since many students may be worn out from hard work and seasonal colds by the end of the semester. It is important that you give yourself adequate time to study for your exams. The Dean's Office recommends that students plan to be on campus for the entire fall examination period.
"I'm not ready for my calc exam, so I'll give myself another day to study."
It is nice to be able to postpone an exam if you're really not ready for it. But it is unrealistic to expect that you'll ever be 100% ready to take an exam, and overstudying for one exam may steal precious time from another. Generally, you should develop a schedule for yourself and stick to it as much as possible. First-year students should talk to customs people, HA's, peer mentors, and their deans about how to make the best use of examination period.
Dorms open at noon
Martin Luther King Day (No Classes)
First day of classes
PE registration begins
Language Proficiency Exams
PE classes begin
Confirmation of Registration for all students
Guild Hall -- 3rd floor
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for first-quarter classes
Last day to drop a fifth class
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for semester classes
First-quarter (including PE) classes end
Spring break begins after last class
Spring break ends at 8a.m.
Second-quarter classes (including PE) begin
Last day to add a second quarter class
Last day to drop a second quarter class
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for second quarter classes
April 5 - 12
Language Proficiency Exams
Preregistration for Fall 2013 begins
Preregistration for Fall 2013 ends
Last day of classes
May 4-May 5
Final examinations begin
Final examinations end for seniors
Final examinations end for other students
Dorms close at noon