Final Exams

At Wellesley College, faculty can choose from a number of different options for a final assessment in their course, including one of three types of final exams - Fixed Schedule; Self-Scheduled; or Virtual. These final exams must be taken during the designated Final Exam Period at the end of each semester.

Final Exam Information for Fall 2022

The Final Exam Period Dates are: Monday, Dec 19th - Thursday, Dec 22nd.

Posted Monday, Sept 26th. Subject to change.

Important Information Below:

  • Overview

  • Guide to Final Exams

  • Specifically for Faculty

  • Specifically for Academic Administrators


Fixed Schedule Exams 

These exams are scheduled by the Registrar’s Office on a specific day and time during the Final Exam Period. The entire class takes the exam at the same time in the same designated space. The Fixed Exam Schedule provides students with the scheduled date and location of their Fixed Schedule exam. The instructor proctors the exam (or arranges for an alternate faculty or staff proctor). Check the Guide to Final Exams below for more information about Fixed Exams.

Self-Scheduled Exams

For courses that have a Self Scheduled Exam, students can choose when to take their exam during any of the exam sessions during the Final Exam Period. Students go to an Exam Center organized by the Registrar’s Office to check out their exam and have a set time in which to take the exam and check it back in at the Exam Center.

Self-Scheduled Exams are specified as either Closed Book (no reference material of any kind is allowed) or Open Book (the instructor provides details to students about the permissible reference materials they may use during the exam).

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

Virtual Final Exam

Prepared by the instructor and administered by the instructor (for example, via the course’s Sakai Site) during the Final Exam period, to be completed at the latest by 4PM on the last day of the exam period. This option must be offered to all students in the class and is not available to individual students if the instructor has chosen a Self-Scheduled or Fixed Schedule exam.

The Honor Code

The Honor Code applies at all times and to all examination circumstances.

Students are expected:

  • To do their own work
  • To use only materials the instructor has explicitly allowed during the exam (including use of a calculator)
  • To complete the exam in a designated exam classroom
  • To return the exam within in the designated amount of time
  • To leave all their materials and the exam at their desk if they use the restroom during an exam

Students should not:

  • take the exam out of the exam room except to return it to the exam center
  • speak with other students about any of their exams, including discussion of the difficulty, content, format, or any other aspect of the exam

Check the Guide to Final Exams below for more information about Self-Scheduled exams such as exam session times and exam center locations.

If you have any questions about Final Exams, please email the Registrar's Office at registrar@wellesley.edu or call 781-283-2307.

Guide to Final Exams

There are three standard exam sessions each day, except on the last day of exams. Fixed Exams are scheduled by the Registrar’s Office for a specific day and time during the Exam Period. Students may take their Self-Scheduled Exam during any session on any day of the Exam Period.

Morning Session: 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Afternoon Session: 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  There is no afternoon exam on the Wed, Dec 21

Evening Session: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM  There is no evening exam on the last day of exams Thu, Dec 22


Fixed Exams

Check the list of Fixed Exam Schedules & Locations for specific information.

The instructor will specify whether any materials can be used during the exam. Students should be at the designated room in advance of the start time. The instructor (or an alternate faculty or staff member arranged by the instructor) will distribute exams and then collect the exams at the end of the time period.

In the rare case that a student has either two Fixed Exams that overlap or three Fixed Exams scheduled for the same day, the student may arrange with one of their instructors to reschedule one exam to a different day and time slot. Though faculty are expected to honor such a request, the rescheduled exam must be at a time workable for both the instructor and the student.

Self-Scheduled Exams

Exam Center Locations

Students pick up and return their Self-Scheduled Exams at the Science Center Hub Focus.

Students should bring their College ID cards, or another form of ID. The Campus Map is helpful in locating campus buildings.

Checking out an Exam

When students arrive at the exam center, they will see exam checkout tables arranged alphabetically by student last name. Students may pick up an exam as early as 30 minutes before the exam session begins.

Students have 2 ½ hours to complete their exam plus 10 minutes time to travel to and from the exam room, starting from the time they pick up their exam. An exam that is picked up after the exam session begins must be returned no later than the exam session end time (that is, the student agrees that they will use less than the normally allotted time to complete the exam). When the exam is checked out, the latest return time allowed will be noted on the exam packet. Students must return their exam by the time noted on the exam packet. If the exam is returned later than this time the instructor will be notified.

Open-Book exams and Closed-Book exams must be taken in separate, designated rooms. These rooms will be listed on the label of each student exam packet and on signage outside of each classroom. 

If the exam requires blue books, it will be noted on the envelope. Students should pick up blue books before heading to their exam room. Students must include any blue books they use in the envelope when they return their exam, even if they were only used as scrap paper.

Students will be asked to sign the Honor Code on the back of their exam packet before they leave the checkout table

During the Exam

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

In the room will be displayed several posters reminding students of general guidelines for Self-Scheduled Exams, the Honor Code and what a student should do if they witness a violation, and what a student can do in case they feel ill during the exam.

Students are responsible for keeping careful track of the time and for returning their exam back by the time it is due. 

Students may use the restroom but must leave the exam in the exam room when they do. Students may take the exam out of the exam room only when they have completed their exam, put all exam materials including any blue books they used into the exam packet and sealed it, and are ready to return it to the exam center.

Returning the Exam

To check an exam back in, students need to deliver it to the Exam Center.

Exam Accommodations (Accessibility and Disability Resources)

Fixed Exams

Students who need to take their Fixed Exam with accommodations must contact their instructor to make arrangements. Instructors will work with the Registrar’s Office to book a space for exams which allow for extra time. If students need accommodations beyond extra time, they also need to work with the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources to make additional arrangements.

Self-Scheduled Exams

Students who need to take their Self-Scheduled Exam with any kind of accommodations must have their arrangements pre-approved by the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources. Details about the exam accommodations will be arranged with these students individually. Students with arranged accommodations will check their exams out from the PLTC in the Clapp Library and will take their exams in the Clapp Library.

Religious Observance & Scheduled Exams

Students who observe a religious holiday that coincides with an scheduled examination or an academic deadline will follow the process of providing their faculty with a notification of religious observance and a request for accommodation. The Religious Life website explains these policies and procedures.

Specifically for Faculty

The Registrar’s Office collects information about final examinations for courses from faculty during the first two weeks of each semester. Faculty can choose to offer a Fixed Schedule exam, an Open Book or Closed Book Self-Scheduled Exam, or an alternative final assessment such as project, paper or presentation. After collecting information from faculty the Registrar’s Office sets the fixed exam schedule and compiles a list of all sections that will require a self-scheduled exam and publishes the information to the community.


Fixed Exams

These exams typically involve slides, presentations, or an oral component which is why it makes sense for the whole class to take it at the same time.

Fixed Exams are scheduled by the Registrar's office. All scheduled exams are scheduled according to the Fixed Exam Grid. This schedule is designed to avoid student time conflicts. Location assignments will be made by the Registrar's Office.

Instructors are responsible for proctoring their exam(s) at the specified day, time, location or arranging for a proxy to do so.

Self-Scheduled Exams

These exams can be taken by students during any exam session during the Exam Period. Students come to Exam Centers organized by the Registrar’s Office to check out an exam and have a set amount of time in which to take it (2 1/2 hours), and a specific set of rooms where they can go to take the exam.

Choosing Self-Scheduled Exam Preferences

Faculty need to consider whether to offer an Open Book or Closed Book exam. 

  • The term "open book" means that the students are permitted to use textbooks, dictionaries, their own notes from class, etc. Faculty provide their students with explicit instructions about what materials students are permitted to reference during their exam. 

  • No reference material of any kind is permitted in a "closed book" exam room. 

If you have a question on the open/closed book policy, please contact the Registrar's Office.

Faculty can also indicate when submitting their exam preferences whether they will allow students to use calculators on their exam (this is applicable to both Open or Closed Book options).

Faculty can indicate whether students will need to pick up Blue Books when they check out their exam in order to have enough paper to write out their answers.

Preparing the Self-Scheduled Exams

During the week before exam period, exam materials are provided to Departments by the Registrar’s Office (envelopes and labels for each student in the class). Faculty are responsible for providing their Academic Administrators with the exams so they can be prepared by the morning of the day before the Exam Period begins. 

Faculty Exam Pick Up

Faculty may pick up their student's completed examinations during designated times at the Science Center Hub Focus.

Each Exam Day:

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM (except the first day of exams)

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Last Day of Exams: Special Evening Hours

5:15 PM - 6:15 PM

As of the day after Exam Period ends:

Faculty can pick up all remaining exam materials at the Registrar's Office, Schneider Hall

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • 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", they may qualify to take their exam during the makeup period. Follow the link to find information regarding incomplete work. Makeup exams are scheduled during the first 5 days of classes the following semester.


The deadline for grades to be submitted is available on the Academic Calendar.

Specifically for Academic Administrators

Department Academic Administrators play a critical role in the process of preparing Self-Scheduled Exams. Faculty submit their examinations to their respective Academic Administrators, and the Registrar's Office provides the materials to use to make exam packages (envelopes and labels for each student in the class). The Department is then responsible for creating the necessary number of copies, stuffing them into the envelopes and labeling them. The Office of the Registrar will coordinate the collection and secure storage of all examinations.