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Deferred and Supplemental Exams

Deferred and Supplemental Exams


Deferred Exams

If you are unable to write your final exam due to illness or another extenuating circumstance, you may be eligible to apply for an exam deferral, depending on your faculty rules and regulations.

Step 1: Understand your options and the consequences

Deciding whether or not to defer a final exam can be difficult. While there are obviously times when taking that step is necessary, there are usually more cons involved than pros. If you’re contemplating applying for a deferred exam, consider the following first:

⇨ Exams during the regular period are scheduled shortly after the end of the course. Deferred exams are held much later after the end of a term, meaning course material will not be as fresh.

⇨ Applying for a deferred exam does not guarantee approval. Deferred exam requests are not automatically granted, even with supporting documentation. Consult the “Eligibility” section for more information.

⇨ Deferrals are meant to help students who are severely ill or dealing with unforeseeable, significant extenuating circumstances. Requests due to minor illnesses (cold), minor personal matters, or scheduling conflicts (travel plans) will not be approved.

Do not use deferral requests to manage your exam schedule or to reduce your exam load. If you request to defer one exam due to illness, then write another exam the same day or the next, your request will likely be refused. It is your responsibility to plan how you will meet the academic requirements of your program.

Deferred exam requests will not be approved if you attend your exam and partway through decide that you were not well enough to perform at full capacity.

⇨ In cases of incidental illness (e.g., a cold, cramps, nausea, etc.) that affected your study time leading up to the exam, but where you recovered on the day of your exam, you are expected to write your exam, and a deferral will not be granted.

⇨ If you have requested a deferred exam in the past, any future requests will be reviewed more stringently, and requests with similar reasons or circumstances as previous requests will not likely be approved.

⇨ If you have made requests due to disability or chronic illness in the past, it is your responsibility to take measures to manage your condition and your course schedule to avoid relying on deferred exams in subsequent exam periods. Please refer to resources available (listed below) and consult with your academic advisor to assist you in this process.

You cannot defer a deferred exam. If you fall ill right before your deferred exam, you will not have the option to defer it again.

You will have to provide supporting documentation for your request if this is not your first deferral.

⇨ A deferred exam may have an impact on future plans, such as exchanges, studying abroad, internships, etc.

Deferring an exam merely pushes it to the future—to a time when you may have a full course load of other exams to prepare for. You are strongly advised not to defer more than two exams in an exam period, as this could make for an unmanageable deferred exam period and workload for the following semester.

⇨ The course with a deferred final exam will show a grade of “L” on your transcript until the deferred exam is written and graded. Both the grade of "L" and your final grade will display on your advising/unofficial transcript.

⇨ McGill offers many resources to help you avoid having to defer, including McGill Tutoring Services, McGill Counselling Workshops, faculty-specific resources, and other academic resources. If you have a disability or a chronic illness, register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) to help you manage your accommodation needs.

⇨ Your academic advisor can help point you toward valuable resources and support services, as well as outline how a deferral might affect your career and timeline.


⇨ PROCEED TO STEP 2

Step 2: Find out if you are eligible for a deferred exam

The following are the eligibility requirements for a deferred exam:

  • Requests are submitted according to your Faculty Guidelines (see “Submitting a request”)
  • You must cite a valid reason for requesting a deferred exam, even if this is your first-time request. Valid reasons are:
    -Serious medical illness;
    -Serious personal issues/circumstances;
    -Serious unforeseeable or extenuating circumstances.
    Note: Travel plans are not a valid reason
  • If this is not your first deferred exam request, you must also provide supporting documentation (such as a medical note) which confirms your inability to write the exam on the original date. Documents should be submitted as soon as you submit your deferral request in Minerva. Incomplete requests will be cancelled, and late documents will not be accepted. See “Submitting a request” for details on accepted supporting documents and how and when to submit supporting documents.
  • First-time requests: Students in eligible faculties (listed below) who request a first-time exam deferral due to illness or other serious extenuating circumstance may be granted the deferral without the need for supporting documentation (such as a medical note). Students requesting a first-time deferral are nonetheless required to have a valid reason, and all other requirements and deadlines for submitting a request for a deferred exam will apply.

Eligible faculties:

-Science (including the Bachelor of Arts & Science)
-Management
-Law
-Engineering (including School of Architecture)
-Education
-Arts (including Schools of Social Work and Religious Studies)
-Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Ineligible faculties/schools:

-Continuing Studies
-Nursing
-Information Studies
-Physical and Occupational Therapy
-Dentistry
-Medicine
-Music
-Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

For ineligible faculties/schools, the guidelines for your home faculty or school are applicable.


PROCEED TO STEP 3

Step 3: Submit your request

  1. Read the “Options and consequences” and “Eligibility” steps first.
  2. Check the deadlines for submitting a request applicable to you.
    Visit the "Final Exam Dates" page to view deferred exams application deadlines.
  3. Submit your request. 
    You must do this by the posted deadline in your faculty guidelines. Make sure to cite a valid reason in your request before submitting it. See “Eligibility” step.

    Faculty

    How/Where do I submit an exam deferral request?

    Where do I submit supporting documents (e.g. medical note)?

    Where can I seek academic advising?

    Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Student Affairs at Macdonald Campus

    Student Affairs at MacDonald Campus

    Arts (including Information Studies and Social Work)

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Current Student Contact Form

    OASIS at Dawson Hall

    Continuing Studies

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at School of Continuing Studies or joey.settino [at] mcgill.ca (by email)

    Continuing Studies Front Desk (688 Sherbrooke W., 11th floor)

    Dentistry

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Associate Dean or Student Affairs within Dentistry

    Student Affairs within Dentistry – or norman.miller [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Deferred%20Exam) (Norman Miller)

    Education

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Student Affairs (3700 McTavish, room 243) or sao.education [at] mcgill.ca (by email)

    Student Affairs at Education (3700 McTavish, room 243)

    Engineering (including Architecture and Urban Planning)

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Frank Dawson Adams building (3450 University, Room 22)

    Student Affairs at Frank Dawson Adams building (3450 University, Room 22)

    Graduate Studies

    Consult with the Graduate department - your Graduate Program Coordinator must submit a Deferred Exam Request on your behalf

    Consult with your Graduate department

    Departmental Supervisor

    Law

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Law Student Affairs (3644 Peel, room 433)

    In person at Law Student Affairs (3644 Peel, room 433)

    Management

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Management Student Affairs (1001 Sherbrooke W., room 110)

    In person at Management Student Affairs (1001 Sherbrooke W., room 110)

    Medicine

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Medicine Student Affairs (3708 Peel Street)

    Medicine Student Affairs (3708 Peel Street)

    Music

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Student Affairs at Music – Elizabeth Wirth Music building (527 Sherbrooke St W., 7th floor)

    Student Affairs at Music – Elizabeth Wirth Music building (527 Sherbrooke St W., 7th floor)

    Nursing

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Student Affairs (Wilson Hall, 3506 University, Room 202)

    Student Affairs (Wilson Hall, 3506 University, Room 202)

    Physical and Occupational Therapy

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Student Affairs (3630 Sir William Osler)

    In person at Student Affairs (3630 Sir William Osler)

    Religious Studies

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Service Point or servicepoint [at] mcgill.ca (by email) (BA in Religious Studies)

    Religious studies (Birks Building, 3520 University)

    Science (including B.A. and Sc.)

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    Current Student Contact Form

    SOUSA at Dawson Hall

    Summer Studies - Special Students

    Minerva

    (Student Menu>Student Records Menu>Deferred Exam Application)

    In person at Service Point or servicepoint [at] mcgill.ca (by email)

    n/a
  4. Submit supporting documents (see below).
     

What do you need to provide?

Supporting documents must substantiate your claim of incapacity or inability to attend your exam(s) on the given date(s).

Medical notes must be from a health practitioner who has observed and diagnosed your condition directly and in-person (telephone or remote diagnoses are not permitted). The following is a list of registered and licensed health practitioners deemed acceptable:

  • A Dental Surgeon or Dentist
  • A Psychologist, Psychotherapist, or Social Worker
  • A Physician, Psychiatrist or Surgeon
  • A Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
  • A health professional from any of the McGill health services (ie. Rossy Health Hub)
     

All supporting documents must be clear, complete, and include the following:

  1. Your full name (and McGill ID#, where applicable)
  2. Information about your health practitioner:
    • their name, address, and license #
    • their signature
    • the date you met with them
  3. Information about your circumstances:
    • a statement of capacity, indicating that you weren’t/aren’t able to attend your exam and why;
    • the date(s) that you were/are incapable of doing so;
    • the date on which you’ll be able to resume your studies/exams.
       

When do you need to provide it?

Supporting documents must be sent as soon as you have submitted your Minerva request. Note that incomplete requests will be cancelled.

PROCEED TO STEP 4

Step 4: Understanding your decision (approved or refused)

  • It is your responsibility to verify the Deferred Exam schedule for the exact date, time, and location of your exam. The schedule will be posted at www.mcgill.ca/exams approximately two weeks prior to your deferred exam period.

⇨ Exams deferred from the December exam period (i.e. from the Fall term) are scheduled in the Winter term study break.
⇨ Exams deferred from the April exam period (i.e. from the Winter term) are scheduled in the 3rd week of August.
⇨ You are expected to be available during a deferred exam period to write your exam.

  • You can only defer your final exam once. If you request a late course withdrawal (late-W) from a course with an approved exam deferral and the reasons for the late-W are similar to those for your deferred exam request, then your request will not be granted.
  • If you requested a deferred exam and then ended up writing the original final exam, you will no longer be eligible to write the deferred exam, even if your request was approved. It is your responsibility to inform your Student Affairs office (or Service Point, for Arts and Science students) that you wrote the final exam at the originally scheduled time. Failure to meet this obligation may place you in violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may involve disciplinary measures.
  • Take measures to avoid similar issues arising in your next exam period. If you have a chronic condition or disability, register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health issues, see a counsellor or therapist and talk to your faculty advisor regarding ways you can better manage your course load. McGill offers many resources to help you avoid having to defer, including McGill Tutoring Services, McGill Counselling Workshops, and other academic resources.
     

If your deferred exam request is refused

  • The refusal could be for any number of reasons, including but not limited to:

⇨ Not providing a valid reason for your request
⇨ Missing, inadequate, or non-specific medical documentation
⇨ You have made previous requests for similar or the same reasons and there is no evidence that you have taken measures to address the challenges you are facing during exam periods.

  • You must write the final exam at its originally scheduled date and time. If you do not or did not write your final exam, you will receive a grade of J, which counts as a failure in your TGPA and CGPA. If you receive a J, a supplemental exam may be an option for you if you meet the eligibility requirements. See “Supplemental Exams” tab.
  • If you are an Arts or Science student, you may make a written request to have the decision reviewed; there must be new information or documentation relevant to your initial request that you did not originally submit.

    If you believe that your situation warrants a decision review, submit your written request no later than 5 business days after the refusal of your initial request.
    • How to submit a request:

⇨ Write a concise (max 500 words) statement explaining why you are requesting a decision review, and what new and relevant information you are sharing to support your request.

⇨ Email your statement – including PDF-formatted supporting documents - to servicepoint [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Decision%20Review%3A%20Deferred%20Exam) from your McGill email account, ensuring that the subject line reads “Decision Review: Deferred Exam”

Decisions are reviewed by a committee consisting of the following individuals: Director, Service Point; Registrar and Executive Director of Enrolment Services; and either the Associate Dean (Arts OASIS) or the Director of Advising (Science SOUSA), depending on your Faculty.

Decisions made by this committee are final.


Supplemental Exams

If you are in satisfactory or probationary standing and received a grade of D, F, J, or U, you may be eligible to write a supplemental exam, which will count for a large percentage of your final grade. Your initial grade will still appear on your transcript, and both will be calculated into your CGPA.

Contact an advisor in your Student Affairs Office to discuss whether writing a supplemental exam is the right option for you.

Note: Supplemental exams are not available for courses administered by Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Management, Music, or Engineering (except for some Science, Humanities, and Social Sciences courses).

Do I qualify for a supplemental exam?

You must refer to the Supplemental Exam Regulations to determine if you qualify.

Students who apply for a supplemental examination but find themselves unprepared for it have the option of not writing the exam (students in the Faculty of Law and School of Physical and Occupational Therapy must consult their Student Affairs Office). There is no penalty for not writing a supplemental exam except for the loss of the supplemental examination fee.
 

How do I apply?

Applications can be made on Minerva. A supplemental exam fee will apply.
 

Rules and regulations

  • For the detailed regulations on supplemental exams, consult the eCalendar.
  • The format of the supplemental exam will not necessarily be identical to that of the final exam of the same course. Students are responsible for contacting the course professor for information about the supplemental exam format.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to find out the date, time, and location of the exam by consulting the Supplemental Exam Schedule when it is posted.
  • All students are strongly encouraged to consult their Student Affairs Office to determine the supplemental exam policies of their faculties and/or schools.
     

Application deadlines and exam periods

  • Visit the "Final Exam Dates" page to view supplemental exams' application deadlines and exam periods.