William and Mary Law School

Tips for Computer Use on Exams

During exams, being paranoid about your computer can be a good thing. Every year at least two students show up at our offices, and while we are trying to recover their exam, reveal that their computer has been having all sorts of trouble lately, or that they had worked on their exam for three hours and had not bothered to save it before it crashed. While we still make every effort to help, inside we are thinking to ourselves, "If only they had come in before exams."

To help avoid losing your exam, we suggest that you make frequent backups of your exams as you go. By this we mean save your work every few minutes to both your hard drive and another medium, such as a floppy, a USB flash drive, or your "H" drive on the network. To be even safer, save the document using different names as you progress. For example, save it as "Contracts1", then a few pages later save it as "Contracts2", and so on. This way, if the file gets corrupted, you will have an older version to fall back on. Do not count on your word processor's "auto-recover" feature to bail you out.

If you have been having trouble with your computer lately, consider writing out your exam by hand. Many students worry that their handwriting isn't good. Frankly, almost nobody under the age of 35 has good handwriting anymore--your handwriting probably isn't any worse than that of your classmates.

If you do have some trouble, come see us in the IT suite, room 217. We will do our best to help you.