Rules and Policies about Exams

1. Exam Technology: All exams at the Law School must either be taken through the Exam4 software or be handwritten in bluebooks. Students are expected to use their own computers to take exams, although a student may request to use a Law School–owned computer to take an exam if (a) a computer-related emergency exists and (b) a Law School–owned computer is available. Students who choose to handwrite their exams obtain bluebooks from the Registrar.

A laptop or desktop computer is required to take exams. William & Mary requires all incoming students to own a notebook computer. Laptops or desktops must be capable of running full Windows or full Mac operating systems.

Students taking exams by computer must download the Exam4 software each semester and take a practice exam to test the functionality of Exam4 on their computer and to familiarize themselves with the features and options available within the platform.

2. Exam Location: Each faculty member will designate whether the exam in their course is in-person or remote and the length of time that students have to complete the exam. In-person exams take place at the Law School in an assigned room on a designated date and time. Remote exams are taken at a place of the student’s choosing within the exam period and may be designated as required to be taken at a specified time, on a specified day, or at any time during the exam period.

Students may not take an in-person scheduled exam remotely.

A faculty member may allow students to take an in-person exam outside of the designated exam room so long as students remain in the Law School building. Such students who elect to take the exam in the Library should expect the normal activities of patrons and staff to continue as usual and should not expect (or request) complete silence. Students may not reserve space in the Library for the purpose of taking an exam. Students may not take exams in Library study rooms, on computers in the Library’s technology classroom, or in student organization offices.

Students with exam accommodations will take in-person exams in a room designated by the Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support.

All students should arrive at the assigned room for an in-person exam at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the exam to receive the exam questions and instructions. Students who are permitted to leave the assigned room to take the exam may not leave the room until the proctor announces that the exam has begun. All students taking an in-person exam, whether they remain in the assigned room or not, must return the exam questions to the proctor or leave the questions at the front of the room after submitting their exam answer.

3. Exam Instructions: Each faculty member shall designate with specificity, both in writing to students prior to the exam date and in the exam instructions:

  • the length of the exam;
  • type of exam (in-person or remote), and mode of exam (closed, open laptop, open laptop plus Internet, or take-home);
  • whether students taking an in-person exam may take the exam outside of the designated exam room (but within the Law School building);
  • the materials that students are permitted to use when taking the exam, such as self-prepared, group, and/or commercial outlines, dictionaries, the casebook, and materials distributed during the semester;
  • whether permitted materials may be consulted on the student’s computer or may be consulted only in hard copy; and
  • whether students may access the Internet during the exam, along with any limitations on which Internet sources may be accessed (including ChatGPT or other generative AI technologies).

Additionally, each faculty member shall indicate in the exam instructions the nature of any word limits for individual questions or for the exam as a whole.

The Registrar will set the exam mode in Exam4 for each exam to reflect the mode indicated by the faculty member (closed, open laptop, open laptop plus Internet, or take-home).

Unless otherwise indicated by the faculty member, the following default policies apply:

  • Students who are permitted to consult material on their computers or on the Internet may use a search function, hyperlinks, a table of contents, or similar functions to locate material within a document or on their computer.
  • Students taking take-home mode exams ONLY may copy and paste material from external documents into the Exam4 software. The Exam4 software does not permit copy and paste in any other exam mode; copy and paste is not allowed for in-person exams, closed, open laptop, or open laptop plus Internet modes. 
  • Students may use noise-cancelling headphones during an exam and may use a phone or other device to listen to music through headphones during an exam so long as that device is not connected to the Internet, sounds are not audible to others, and all ringtone and alerts are silenced.
  • Students may use a second monitor or device to display material during the exam so long as the exam is not set in closed mode in Exam4.

4. Anonymity on Exams: All exams are identified by examination number only. Students are provided with examination numbers each semester after the Add/Drop period concludes. Students may not reveal their examination number to faculty members before grades are posted. Faculty members who include participation or similar activities as part of the final grade shall provide a list of names to the Registrar with scores by the indicated deadline to obtain a numerically sorted list of examination numbers to be used in determining the final grade.

5. Exam Accommodations: William & Mary accommodates students with disabilities in accordance with federal laws and university policy. Students who feel as if they may need an exam accommodation based on the impact of a learning, psychiatric, physical, or chronic health diagnosis should contact Student Accessibility Services staff at (757) 221-2509 or at to determine if accommodations are warranted and to obtain an official letter of accommodation. The Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support will provide information to students about the implementation of exam accommodations. To preserve anonymity on exams, students should not contact faculty members about exam accommodations.

6. Exam Conflicts and Reschedules: Students may reschedule an exam only under the following circumstances:

  • Two exams are scheduled within 23 hours — for example, an exam that begins at 8:30 am followed by an exam that begins at 1:30 pm.
  • Two exams are scheduled at the same time.
  • Three or more exams are scheduled on consecutive days.
  • A qualifying illness, injury, or emergency precludes the student from taking the exam, as determined by the Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support after reviewing supporting documentation.

All exam conflicts will be administered by the Registrar. Students rescheduling an exam due to a conflict must take the conflicting exam on the first available make-up date that breaks the conflict.

All exams that are rescheduled due to a qualifying illness, injury, or emergency will be administered by the Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support, which will arrange a new exam date, and require documentation from your health care provider. Typically, students must make up an exam at the earliest practicable time and within five weeks of the originally scheduled exam date.  If the circumstance necessitating a rescheduled exam continues past the fifth week, the student shall take the exam as soon as reasonably practicable following the end of the disability, but in no event later than the end of the exam period for the succeeding fall or spring term. If the circumstance continues beyond that period, the student shall be withdrawn from all courses for which an exam was not taken. Students who become ill or otherwise unable to take the exam during the examination session should contact the Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support.

Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to take an exam earlier than the scheduled exam date.