Confidential Exam Guidelines for Instructors

In the early 1990s Senate endorsed a policy that would ensure that final examination question papers used in a course would normally be made available to students for reference purposes.

The goal was to ensure that all students had equal access to final exams administered in earlier versions of their courses. In practice, exams from the previous academic year are published in October on the Exambank.

The release of exam question papers also encourages good practice in terms of academic integrity by encouraging instructors to construct new exam questions in subsequent offerings of the same course.

While exams should normally be released to the Exambank, exceptions to the Senate policy may be granted under rare and occasional circumstances. Exams designated as “confidential” will never be released to the Exambank. If your exam contains the following, it may be considered for confidential status:

  • exam questions are taken from copyrighted test banks
  • multiple choice exam formats are being used for very large classes
  • limited material is available for testing (e.g. anatomy, physiology), and a limited pool of exam questions exist

A request for confidential exam status must be made each time the course is offered since permission is granted only for a final exam in a particular term and year, not for all final exams in the course in future years. If confidential exam status is approved, instructors are obliged to provide students with sample study questions.


Requests for confidential exams must be made to the Associate Deans (Studies) by the following dates:

December Exam Period

October 1

April Exam Period

February 1

June Exam Period

May 1

July Exam Period

June 1


Where confidential status is appropriate for an exam, the instructor will fill out a Confidential Exam Request Form and forward it to the Associate Deans (Studies), F200 Mackintosh-Corry Hall by the deadlines noted above.

  1. The Associate Deans (Studies) will respond by e-mail within 10 days of receipt of the form.
  2. The Associate Deans (Studies) will provide the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) with a list of approved courses.
  3. The OUR will stamp the exam papers “Confidential”.
  4. The OUR will arrange for the collection of exam papers at the end of the exam.
  5. The OUR will return confidential exam papers to instructors. Copies of all other exam papers will be held in the OUR (and remain temporarily confidential) until they are released to the Exambank in October of the following academic session.