Exam scheduling

Historically, final exam timings have been attached to courses before enrollment, meaning you knew your exam times in advance. However, this often led to many challenges – having to choose between two needed courses due to exam time conflicts, ending up with exams back to back at different campuses, or having three or more exams in 24 hours. For the 2019 fall term, we had around 500 students with exam hardships.

Our new exam schedule has largely eliminated these problems. We collected instructor feedback on exam needs and combined it with live enrollment data to produce the exam schedule. This shift to after-enrolment scheduling has allowed us to:

  • Completely eliminate instances of exam hardship, where students have three (3) scheduled seated exams in 24 hours;
  • Reduce the number of students with back-to-back scheduled seated exams by more than 50%;
  • Reduce the number of students with two (2) scheduled seated exams in 24 hours by more than 60%; and
  • Eliminate instances where students couldn’t enrol in a class because of overlapping exam times.
  • Be in line with most other Canadian universities who create and release the exam schedule after enrollment.

Please note that take-home exams, which are assigned and completed over longer periods of time, are not included in these calculations. If you are concerned your take-home exam schedule puts you into an official exam hardship situation, it is your responsibility to contact your instructor(s) and department at least one month prior to the exam date

FAQs

Does this change help me get the courses I need?

Over the past five undergraduate surveys, roughly one third of students said they could not enroll in a required course – and an exam conflict with another course ranked as one of the top three reasons. By producing the exam schedule after enrollment, we will eliminate enrollment/exam enrollment conflicts completely.

Will exams be spaced better?

Previously, due to the early release, many departments scheduled exams “just in case”. As a result, each term nearly 20% of scheduled exams were cancelled or modified to a different format. That meant that 20% of available exam blocks were wasted. By changing to a later release, we’ll be able to use all of the exam blocks to the fullest extent possible, and spread exams more evenly.

How will we know if the new system is working?

Our goal is to reduce hardship through the entire student body, and we will be transparent with the results and numbers this new process produces as we move forward.

How will we find out when our exams are?

Students will be sent an email when the exam schedule is released. If a course has an exam, it will show up in goSFU. The full exam schedule will also be posted on the exams website www.sfu.ca/students/exams.html when ready.