Academic Consideration during the Exam Period

In the Faculty of Arts and Science, students who are too ill to write the examination or are experiencing extenuating circumstances are to submit a request for consideration using the Academic Consideration Request Portal(select the “Submit Request” button to access the Portal). (. Students must submit the request before the exam begins; if they leave once the exam is in progress, they will not be able to submit a request as the Interrupted Exam policy will be in effect. Please see Academic Regulation 8.4.3 for more information.

All requests for academic consideration during exam periods require supporting documentation. Instructors are asked to recognize the University's good faith approach and provide the student with Consideration, as appropriate based on a student’s academic progress in the course. Once a request has been received and verified by the faculty office, it is the responsibility of the student to follow up with the instructor. It is up to the instructor to determine new deadlines, in accordance with their departmental policy, if applicable. In an Incomplete grade is granted, deadlines can be scheduled up to the end of the subsequent term. Any further extensions based on continued extenuating circumstances will require the submission of an Academic Appeal to the Associate Dean (Academic).

Please consult the Academic Consideration Instructor Resource page for further information, including access to the Instructor Handbook.

Confidential Exam Guidelines

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 confidential exam status is approved, instructors are obliged to provide students with sample study questions.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

As of Fall 2019, instructors no longer need to seek approval each term to have their exams treated confidentially. Upon initial approval, the course will be included on the Faculty of Arts and Science's Confidential Exam master list. The approval will apply to all future iterations of the course, until the Faculty Office is notified by the department that the exam no longer needs to be confidential. Please contact the Academic Operations Manager in the Faculty office for inquiries about whether a course is on the Confidential Exam master list.


New requests for confidential exams must be made to the Associate Dean (Academic) by the following dates:

Exam PeriodDate
December Exam PeriodOctober 1
April Exam PeriodFebruary 1
June Exam PeriodMay 1
July Exam PeriodJune 1


Please contact the Faculty Office for inquiries about whether a course is on the Confidential Exam master list.

Where confidential status is appropriate for an exam that has not previously been approved, the instructor will fill out a Confidential Exam Request Form and forward it to the Faculty Office by the deadlines noted above.

  1. For new requests, the Associate Dean (Academic) will respond by e-mail within 10 days of receipt of the form.
  2. The Associate Deans (Academic) 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.

Please note: In every semester that a previously approved confidential exam is run, the instructor will need to indicate on the exam request webform, sent by the exams office, that an exam should be treated confidentially.

Deferred Exam Period

Tentative Deferred Exam Period Dates (pending approval by Faculty Board)

  • Fall term 2022: January 12-16, 2023
  • Winter term 2023: May 11-14th 2023
  • Summer 6W1 2023: August 8-16, 2023
  • Summer 6W2, 2023: September 6-11, 2023 (6-9 for online, 10-11 for on-campus)
  • Summer 12W, 2023: September 6-11, 2023 (6-9 for online, 10-11 for on-campus)


  • The Faculty of Arts and Science has a fixed deferred exam period for the fall and winter terms for instructors to use if they choose.
  • Covers both mid-year (6.0 unit course) and final (3.0 unit course) examinations
  • If an instructor wishes to use the deferred exam period, they must include a short statement in the course syllabus and make an announcement at the start of the term to make students are aware of the dates and expectations.
  • Instructors can stipulate that students receiving permission to write a deferred midyear or final exam are expected to write their exam during this deferred exam period. Instructors can also stipulate that requests for individualized deferred exam dates will not normally be accommodated.
  • The deferred exam is considered an official exam to which all the exam regulations apply.
  • The Exams Office will set a conflict-free schedule for each student and, if needed, ITS Support Centre will provide technology support for remote exams.

Information for Instructors

  • As long as the deadlines are met (see table below), the Exams Office will administer all in-person exams (including accommodations). For online exams, the accommodations will be made available through Ventus for the instructor/department to implement.
  • Students will receive two (2) notifications about their deferred exams. The first will be from the course instructor indicating that they are approved for a deferred exam. The second will be either from the Exams Office (for in-person exams) or Arts and Science Online (for remote exams) indicating the date, time, and location or remote access details. The communication from Arts and Science Online covers both proctored (i.e., Examity) and non-proctored exams.
  • A statement about deferred exams must be included in course syllabi. For example:

The Faculty of Arts and Science has designated specific periods for deferred exams. The decision to defer an exam for a student is at the discretion of the course Instructor based on a documented academic consideration. An academic consideration can be requested by students experiencing extenuating circumstances using the Faculty of Arts and Science request portal. Students can only write an exam early with approval from the Associate Dean (Academic) and support from the instructor. Approval for early exams is only granted in exceptional circumstances. 

The deferred exam period is held during the start of the subsequent academic term (see the Faculty of Arts and Science [website] for this year’s dates). Note that you are expected to be available to write a deferred exam at any time during the deferred exam period.

Deadlines for the Deferred Exam Process

Approximate DatesActionNotes
Dec 28th / May 4th / June 26th/ August 23rdInstructor sends the list of students approved for deferred exams to Exams Office.The list should be sent by email to exams@queensu.ca using the spreadsheet template (to be provided by the Exams Office). The template will be used to indicate course code and whether or not a new exam is to be sent. The list must include each student’s name, ID and email.

Jan 3rd / May 9th / June 28th/ August 25th


Exams Office to send instructors a draft Deferred Exam schedule with a 2-day turn around for approval.All accommodation information will be made available in Ventus shortly after the deferred exam schedule is finalized

Jan 5th / May 11th / June 30th/ August 29th


Exams Office notifies students of their deferred exam schedule.For remote exams, Arts and Science Online will follow up with an invite for students to book an Examity Exam appointment, or with instructions for how to access the exam in onQ.
Jan 12-16 / May 11-14 / August 2-10 / September 6-11
Deferred Exam PeriodExams will be run in the evenings on weekdays, and mornings through evenings on weekends.

Exam Disruptions

The policy approved by the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures states that exams will be continued after a disruption provided that the exam hall can be cleared for re-entry within one hour. If the exam hall cannot be cleared for re-entry within one hour, the exam will be abandoned and instructors consulted. (This step is taken to ensure that the exams scheduled for the next time slot are not delayed.) The policy reads:

“If an examination is evacuated with greater than 30 minutes remaining in the exam period, students should expect that the exam will resume if the venue is declared safe within a reasonable time interval. Instructors will be notified as soon as possible and will have the responsibility to decide how to deal with the interruption and its effect on the exam. In all cases, information will be posted on the departmental web site as soon as possible after a disrupted exam.”

Role of instructor in minimizing the impact of a disrupted exam

1. Be present at exam.

To minimize the impact of a disrupted exam, instructors should be present at the exam. If an exam is disrupted, an instructor is a reassuring presence to students and also has first-hand knowledge of the opportunity students may have had to discuss the exam and judge the extent to which the exam may have been compromised

2. Follow up with students.

If the exam resumes after evacuation, or if it is discontinued because of a lengthy delay or real emergency, students will be anxious to know how their performance on the exam will be assessed given the time lost during evacuation, the break in concentration, individual differences in the order the exam questions were answered, etc. Communicating instructions and plans to students clearly and without delay is key to minimizing the effects of a disrupted exam.

Options for ensuring fairness in assessment as a result of an exam disruption are noted in Assessing the Impact of Exam Disruption on Students’ Grades (below).

3. If the exam must be re-scheduled.

If the exam cannot be continued due to a real emergency, or if the instructor determines that the integrity of the exam has been compromised and results of the exam unusable, the instructor will be given the opportunity to request a re-scheduling of the exam. If the decision is made immediately after the disruption, the exam may be rescheduled for the next available exam time or to a Sunday afternoon or evening).

Assessing the Impact of Exam Disruption on Students' Grades

ScenariosOptions for Instructors
Disruption occurs in only one building, but you have students writing in multiple buildings.When posting instructions, keep in mind that instructions apply only to the students whose exams were disrupted and do not apply to students who wrote the exam without disruption.
Before resuming exam, students may have accessed texts, notes or talked with other students while waiting outside exam hall. 


Exam is abandoned as a result of a real emergency. 

i. Use exam results as set out in existing marking scheme. 

ii. Provide alternative marking scheme for whom the timing of the disruption worked against them. 

iii.Re-schedule exam for later in the exam period with an alternate exam paper (make request through the departmental exam liaison staff). Note that there will be students who cannot write at the new time and will need a deferred exam for which the instructor is responsible for arranging and administering. 

iv. Schedule an optional exam early in next term. 

Post instructions for the affected students to Departmental Website.

Extenuating Circumstances Occurring During an Examination

Additions to Academic Regulation 8, Final and Mid-Year Examinations, were recently approved by Faculty Board. The Academic Regulation 8.4.3 is meant to provide instructors with the discretion to allow re-writes of final and mid-year exams in rare situations where it is determined that the student's exam attempt was affected by extenuating circumstances and is deemed not to be a valid attempt:

"Students who experience serious illness during the course of writing a scheduled examination that prevents them from completing the examination, must notify an Examination Proctor prior to leaving the examination hall, or prior to exiting the examination session of an online proctored examination. The Faculty Office will liaise with the instructor of the course to determine if the examination attempt is considered valid. If students leave the examination hall or exit an online examination without notifying and Examination Proctor, the examination attempt will be considered valid and no retroactive consideration will be possible.

If, after consultation with the instructor, the examination attempt is not considered valid, permission for the student to re-write the final examination may be granted for documented cases at the discretion of the instructor(s) and the Associate Dean (Academic). Alternatively, other options for the student to complete the course may be provided."

Incomplete Grades (IN)

When the deferred final examination is scheduled after the submission of grades, the instructor should submit an incomplete grade as either IN (if current grade is a fail) or their current grade in the course without the final exam (if current grade is a pass, as defined in Academic Regulation 10.3.4. Please note that the latest date by which the course requirements may be completed is the end of the subsequent term. Any further extensions based on continued extenuating circumstances will require a written appeal to the Associate Dean (Academic). Students with extenuating circumstances who have been unable to complete the majority of their work in a course should instead consider submitting an appeal to drop the course.

The Faculty Office is currently revising the "Permission for an Incomplete Grade or Deferred Examination" form to align it with the new Academic Consideration Policy and Protocol. In the meantime, instructors are welcome to use it or adapt it if they wish to formalize their agreement with the student regarding the date of the deferred exam.

Re-weighting of Marks

The option of re-weighting marks i.e. allocating /shifting marks associated with missed work to another academic requirement that assesses similar learning outcomes should be used mainly when:

  1. a student has missed a small component of academic work and/or
  2. a) it is not possible to have the same assessment at a later time because the component has been compromised (i.e. answers posted or material covered in class) or 
    b) when it is not possible to set an alternative assessment (with the same learning outcomes).

It is possible to redistribute marks on a mid-term to a final exam when the final exam assesses the same learning outcomes as the mid-term. However, it is not recommended if it puts the student in a Pass/Fail situation.

It is not possible to retroactively redistribute marks from a missed final exam (or a comprehensive/end of term assignment) to a previous component of the course. If this final component of the course is missed, the preferred option will be to give the student an Incomplete (with a deferred exam or an extension of the assignment). The alternative option would require an appeal to the Associate Dean (Academic) for Aegrotat Standing, which is only possible when the student has completed at least 60% of the course.