Hour & Midterm Examinations

According to the Information for Faculty Offering Instruction in Arts and Sciences,

The administration of hour and midterm examinations is the responsibility of the instructor; these exams should normally be scheduled during regular class meeting times.  In cases where hour and midterm examinations must be given outside regular class meeting times the course head must offer a makeup examination for documented academic conflicts.  The Office of the Registrar has no role in the administration of hour or midterm examinations.  Instructional staff is responsible for administering Accessible Education Office-approved accommodations, in consultation with AEO staff.

Instructors are required by law to offer makeup examinations to students who are absent from hour and midterm examinations for the observance of a religious holiday.  Instructors are not required to offer makeup examinations to students who are absent from hour and midterm examinations for other reasons.


If an exam has multiple choice questions or if the usual lecture hall is not well designed for taking exams, the Head TF may choose to request an additional room for the exam.  Courses meeting in Sanders Theatre, for example, often choose to give their exams in rooms in which the chairs are equipped with a writing tablet.  The Registrar’s Classrooms Office (classrooms@fas, 617-495-1541) can provide information about available rooms.  Please also consider the needs of any students with disabilities.


Teaching staff are welcome to photocopy exams themselves using the copiers in the Gen Ed Office during regular business hours.  The Gen Ed Office has two photocopiers available for teaching staff use.  The office is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, and demand is often heavy in the morning hours, so teaching staff should plan accordingly.  The Gen Ed Office does not have funding to reimburse you for copies made elsewhere.  We recommend that you do not entrust any exam, whether midterm or final, to a commercial establishment for photocopying because there is no way to ensure that undergraduates using or working in the shop will not have access to the exam.

Exam Booklets

It is the responsibility of the teaching staff to pick up a sufficient number of exam booklets for any midterm exam.  Exam booklets are available at the Science Center Mail Room (Monday-Friday from 10am to 4pm, Science Center basement, 617-495-5347--please call ahead for quantities over 50) and the FAS Registrar's Office (Smith Campus Center, 4th floor, please email exams@fas.harvard.edu with the quantity needed and date you plan to stop by the office).  You will be asked to show your Harvard ID when you pick up exam booklets to verify that you are a TF.

Teaching Staff Responsibilities

It is also the responsibility of the teaching staff to distribute the exam questions and exam booklets, to proctor the exam, to facilitate the examination process for students with disabilities, and to collect and sort the exam booklets at the end of the hour.  The Head TF should bring a copy of the enrollment list to the exam room to check if any students did not take the exam.

Exam Accommodations

For student with disabilities, the teaching staff is solely responsible for any alternative format or equipment needed for hour exams and midterm exams, for reserving a separate exam room if necessary, and for proctoring any exam that must be administered in a separate room.  With sufficient notice, suitable space may be available in the Gen Ed Office (Smith Campus Center, 4th floor).   The Accessible Education Office (aeo@fas, 617-496-8707) is available for consultation regarding complex accommodations.