Exam Guidelines

All students must comply with Undergraduate Examinations Policy as approved by Senate. Students who do not observe regulations will be required to withdraw from the examination.

3 Tips to Prepare for Exams:

  • Check the Exam Schedule and your Personal Timetable in Mosaic.
  • Visit the Location Legend to find your exam locations.
  • Make sure you have your student card – it’s required for writing exams. Lost your card? Visit the Registrar’s Office in advance to have it replaced (charges apply).


  • If you miss or leave an examination for medical reasons you must submit a Petition for Special Consideration form with supporting documentation of illness, personal or family reasons. The form is available from the Office of the Associate Dean (Studies) of your Faculty. Your petition, along with supporting documentation is normally required within five (5) working days of the missed examination.
  • A student who becomes ill during an examination may be excused by the Chief Presider or designate.
  • Deferred exam status can be viewed in Mosaic (Student Centre > Academics > Deferred Exam Approvals).

Use of Calculators For Examinations:

The McMaster Standard Calculator is designated by the appropriate Associate Vice-President on behalf of the Undergraduate Council and may be specified as an aid for a final examination. If an instructor permits the use of the McMaster Standard calculator, the student will be informed and it will be included as part of the course outline.

The McMaster Standard Calculator is the Casio fx-991 MS or Casio fx-991 MS Plus. The Casio fx-991 is available with various letter configurations, however only the MS or MS Plus models are acceptable when the McMaster Standard Calculator has been designated for use. The McMaster Standard Calculator may be purchased at the Campus Store. Students who have accommodations with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) may use an equivalent accessible calculator.

At the Exam:

  • ID – McMaster student photo identification cards are required at all examinations.
    • Students who arrive without their McMaster photo ID cards will be required (before being seated) to obtain a single-use verification photo for that exam only; a $30.00 fee applies. This verification can be obtained from the Ivor Wynne Centre room B122 or MDCL room 1016; no extension of the examination will be permitted to compensate for any delay encountered.
    • Students who seat themselves at an examination without photo I.D. cards may be required to withdraw from the examination.
  • Punctuality
    • Punctuality is essential and no extra time will be allowed to those arriving late. No student will be admitted to an examination room more than 30 minutes after the start of any session.
  • Conduct
    • No conversation or any form of communication between candidates is permitted. No communicating devices or cell phones are permitted. No books, papers or instruments may be taken into any examination room unless specifically prescribed on the examination paper. No examination books or supplies are to be removed from the examination room. Small personal belongings must be left beneath the chairs, not on the desks. The University can assume no responsibility for lost articles.
  • Exam Accommodations for students
    • Students registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) should contact SAS for any accommodation requirements prior to the start of the examination period.
    • Religious Accommodations – students who have requests for rescheduling of exams on the basis of religious beliefs should contact the Examinations Office in Gilmour Hall room 114, at least 10 working days before the start of the examination period.
  • Exam Conflicts
    • The following types of problems are resolved by the Office of the Registrar before personal timetables are posted in Mosaic.
      1. More than one examination scheduled at the same time.
      2. Three examinations in one calendar day (midnight to midnight). Examples follow:
        • 9:00am, 12:30pm and 4:00pm
        • 12:30 pm, 4:00pm and 7:30pm
        • 9:00am, 4:00pm and 7:30pm
        • 9:00am, 12:30pm and 7:30pm
        Exam Start Time Day 1
        9:00 am Exam 1
        12:30 pm Exam 2
        4:00 pm Exam 3
        7:30 pm
        Exam Start Time Day 1
        9:00 am Exam 1
        12:30 pm  
        4:00 pm Exam 2
        7:30 pm Exam 3
      3. Three consecutive examinations over two days (e.g. December 14th and 15th). Examples follow:
        • 4:00pm,  7:30pm and 9:00am on the next day
        • 7:30pm followed by 9:00am and 12:30pm on the next day
        Exam Start Time Day 1 Day 2
        9:00 am   Exam 3
        12:30 pm    
        4:00 pm Exam 1  
        7:30 pm Exam 2  
        Exam Start Time Day 1 Day 2
        9:00 am   Exam 2
        12:30 pm   Exam 3
        4:00 pm    
        7:30 pm Exam 1  
  • Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO):
    • If you have a scheduling conflict between a Registrar invigilated final examination and religious, Indigenous or spiritual observance, please complete the RISO form and submit it to Gilmour Hall, Room 114 or by email to exams@mcmaster.ca.
    • The McMaster RISO Policy can be found here.

After the Exam:

  • Leaving the Exam
    • No candidate may leave the room to withdraw from an examination during the first 45 minutes of any session. Candidates must leave the room immediately after handing in their examination materials.

Deferred Exam Information is available on the Deferred Exams page.

What’s New

Repeat codes in effect, January 21, 2019. Click here.

Common enrolment error messages Click here.

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