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Official policies of St. Mary's University

Law School Exam Policies and Procedures for Students


Academic Council

Authorizes release:

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible office:

School of Law

Review cycle:

Annually or as required



Last update:

September 2017

Next review:

June 2017

General policies

Faculty will not proctor exams. This task will be undertaken by outside, independent proctors hired by the law school. Proctors are to supervise the exam process, enforce rules, and eliminate the opportunity to cheat. Each Proctor shall treat all students with respect at all times. Each exam room will have assigned seat numbers prominently displayed in front of the seats in the room. Students will be seated, following the check-in process described below, according to the randomly-assigned seat numbers provided to the Proctors by the Office of the Associate Dean. Students will not have access to this list prior to the check-in process.

Check-in procedure

Students may not enter their exam room any earlier than 15 minutes (i.e., 7:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., or 5:45 p.m.) before the scheduled start. No student will be checked into the exam room until fifteen minutes before the scheduled exam time. Any student who is in the exam room before the official check-in time will be asked to leave the exam room by the proctor until the formal check-in process begins.

Students will be checked-in to their assigned exam room by presenting their St. Mary’s-issued student photo ID to the proctor. The student will be confirmed by the proctor and told her/his seat number for that exam. Students without the proper ID will not be allowed in the exam room. The check-in table will have ear plugs, pencils (if the exam is using a scantron), and, if the exam allows both laptop and handwriting, a blue book for students who are handwriting. Students who are handwriting may pick-up only one (1) blue book upon check-in. If a second blue book is needed once the exam is underway, the student will raise her/his hand and the proctor will bring a second blue book to the student.

Students arriving late to the exam will be checked in according to the above procedure in the regular exam room, and will not be given any additional time to complete their exam.

Proctors will NOT have access to the students’ exam numbers at any time during the exam administration. It is the responsibility of the student to have her/his exam number prior to entering the exam room.

Students must keep their photo ID face-up on their desk top by their seat number throughout the exam.

Students can have only their photo ID, pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, pens, and highlighters at their seat. If a student is using a laptop computer with ExamSoft already loaded, the student may also have the laptop and its power cord at their seat.

Items not allowed in the exam room

Students may not bring any of the following banned devices into the exam room:

  • Cell phones
  • Smart watches
  • Tablets
  • Any other electronic device (except for a laptop if the exam can be taken using ExamSoft or as otherwise approved by the individual professor)
  • Drinks in any sort of container
  • Food, candy, gum, etc.

Students are strongly urged not to bring any backpacks, purses, clutches, rolling bags, or the like into the exam room. If a student attempts to check in with any backpack, purse, laptop bag, rolling bag or the like, the student will be instructed to place all of these items at the front of the room behind the podium. Please note that if a large number of students bring these items to the exam room and place them at the front of the room, it may be disruptive or a nuisance when it comes time to retrieve them at the end of the exam.

For an exam that is modified closed (faculty may allow their students to bring in specific items such as textbook, code book, printed notes, printed outlines, or non-wireless calculator, and this will be conveyed to the proctor in the manifest) the student must carry the items in her/his hands. If a student attempts to check in with any backpack, purse, laptop bag, rolling bag or the like, the student will be instructed to place all of these items at the front of the room behind the podium.

Hats, caps, sunglasses, keys, etc. must be placed in the students’ bags at the front of the room OR on the floor by their seat. These items may not be on the desktop.

The Associate Dean’s Office will inform the proctor if the professor has approved the usage of scratch paper.

Exam pledge and handing out exams

Students will be required to complete the School of Law Exam Pledge, placed by their assigned seat prior to check-in, for each exam in each course. By completing the Exam Pledge, the student certifies that he/she does not have a cell phone or other banned electronic device, and acknowledges that the student will submit all required exam materials at the end of the exam.

The Exam Pledge will be kept in the Office of the Associate Dean and will NOT be given to the professor.

Other material that may be placed at each assigned seat, depending on the type of exam and instructions by the professor, include a scantron, blue book (if laptops are not allowed and answers are to be handwritten only), or scratch paper (if allowed by the professor).

The exams will be handed out to each student while picking-up the completed Exam Pledge according to their numbered seat/test number at the start of the scheduled exam time (i.e., 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.) unless there is still a line for students waiting to be checked in by the proctor. The Proctor will not give an exam to a student without first picking up the completed Exam Pledge. No exam will be placed at a seat unless the student is in her/his place.

Preparing to start the exam – handwriting and laptopping

Students must place their exam number on all exam materials. Student names must never be written on any exam materials.

All laptop users must bring and use a power adapter for their computer. If they do not bring it with them, they must write their exam in a bluebook.

Students planning to type their exam must run the law school’s prescribed exam software regardless of whether the exam is open book or closed book. Students must download ExamSoft (for exams where allowed) prior to the start of the exam period.

Students who intend to laptop must immediately launch ExamSoft when they enter the exam room and shall not turn on their computers and pull up their notes, outline, etc. to study in the exam room. Students cannot connect to the internet except for the SoftTest website.

Students who are laptopping must get to the “Stop” (PC) or “i” (Mac) screen and wait for further instructions from the professor. The “Spell Check” feature has been disabled for ExamSoft users.

Students planning to type using ExamSoft who are not able to successfully launch SoftTest at the start of the exam must handwrite. Any lost time will not be given back to the student to complete the exam.

The start of an exam will not be delayed to wait for a laptop user to finish uploading or launching the exam. A laptopper MUST be ready and at the “STOP” (for PC) or “i” (for Mac) when all other students in the exam room are ready to begin. Any laptop user who is NOT ready MUST handwrite and will be handed a blue book by the proctor.

If a laptop crashes or freezes during an exam, the student will be given a blue book and allowed to complete the exam by handwriting the remainder of the exam, but no extra time will be allowed for the exam, The Administration will ensure the professor receives both the portion of the exam completed on ExamSoft and the portion completed in a blue book.

If a student arrives late to an exam she/he will NOT be allowed to laptop and MUST handwrite.

Bluebook writers and laptop users will begin their exams at the same time.

During the exam

Proctors will use the on-screen stopwatch to post the exam time for the room; it will provide a countdown of the time remaining on the exam that all students can see.

Proctors are required to QUIETLY walk around during the examination approximately at unpredictable intervals every hour of the exam. In rooms where there are 2 proctors, 1 proctor will be at the back of the room and 1 proctor at the front throughout the exam.

Students who are handwriting receive 1 blue book at check-in. If a student needs a second blue book to complete the exam, the student must raise his/her hand and the proctor will bring the blue book to the student. A student should not rip pages from the Bluebook.

Students will be instructed to raise their hands if they have a question or problem once the exam is in progress. Proctors will walk to the student to answer any questions once the exam is in progress.

Students are permitted to use the restrooms only in the building where they are taking the exam; only one student is allowed to be out of the exam room for a restroom break at a time. Students must leave their student ID and all exam materials with the proctor in the front of the room and may not take any materials with them during an exam break. Students will provide their test number to the proctor, who will log the departure and return time of the student on a log sheet. Each restroom will have a dedicated proctor. Students must return within five minutes and will not receive additional time on their exam.

Students are not permitted to leave the building where they are taking an exam for any reason until they have completed their exam.

Students are not permitted to leave their seats during the last 5 minutes of the exam.

Exam conclusion

No student is allowed to leave the room, or turn in her/his exam, during the last 5 minutes of the exam.

The proctor will announce when 5 minutes are remaining and that all students are to remain in their seats until time is called proctor will loudly announce “STOP WORK” at the end of the exam time. Any student who continues to write or type will be noted on the Exam Manifest by the proctor and reported to the Administration, with the exact amount of time the student continued to write or type.

Students using ExamSoft must upload their completed exam at the end of the exam administration once time has been called by the proctor. A “Congratulations” screen will appear after a successful upload. A student shall not leave the classroom until she/he has received this notice. If a student fails to upload their exam immediately after the exam has ended and before leaving the exam room, the professor will be notified of the delay and the extent of the delay by the law school administration. The professor may lower the student’s grade based on the reported delay.

Once the student has turned in the examination and any required supporting materials (scantron, blue book, scratch paper) he/she must leave the room as quickly as possible and proceed outside.

Students must leave the building once they have completed their exam and are not to remain in the hallways where they could cause a disturbance to other students still taking an exam.

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