8.6 Exam Environment Policy- Foundations

Purpose and Scope 

In order to support a professional and productive learning environment, students are expected to follow exam schedules and environment policy.  

Policy Statement 

Students are required to attend scheduled examinations and adhere to rules conducive to a functional testing environment with academic integrity.   


Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines
Examination schedules are developed by careful consideration of students’ need for preparation time and cognizance of the University’s administrative holiday schedule and religious observances. As part of the students’ professional development as a physician-in-training, there will be times when they are expected to prioritize their medical school schedule. With the exception of documented illness, personal or family emergencies or religious holiday observation, a student will not be permitted to take the exam at a different time.

Examination Schedules
During the Foundations Phase, exams are scheduled on fixed dates. With the exception of documented personal illness or personal/family emergencies, students are not permitted to take exams at a different time. All personal plans must be made around scheduled exam dates.

Students are on their honor not to discuss course information or share answers during the examination.

Examination Environment

Arrival for Examination
Students must arrive on time for examinations. The start time for an exam is posted in the Curricular Management System, Elentra, and is the time at which all students are expected to arrive. Due to the nature of starting exams with large numbers of students, the actual start time may be delayed after the posted start time. Exams will begin as quickly as is feasible after the posted start time.

Exams have specified start and end times. Students will not be allowed to continue exams beyond the posted end time. The consequence of this is that students who arrive late may not receive the full allotted exam time. Students will not be seated for exams more than 30 minutes after the actual exam start time. Exceptions may be given for emergency situations at the discretion of the Block Director.

During the Examination
Items allowed at seat during examinations:

  • Computer/laptop/tablet (if using for exam)
  • Mouse/keyboard (if using for exam)
  • Soft foam earplugs
  • Green laminated sheet
  • Dry erase pen
  • Beverages in covered containers

Items not allowed at seat during examinations:

  • Cell phones
  • iPads/tablets (unless using for testing)
  • iPods/media devices
  • Watches with alarms, computer, or memory capability
  • Calculators (will be provided if needed for particular exam)
  • Paging devices
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Recording/filming devices
  • Reference materials (book, notes, papers)
  • Backpacks, briefcases, luggage
  • Coats, outer jackets, headwear (religious headwear is allowed)
  • Food

No questions or requests for clarification of exam items are permitted during the examination. Identification of typographic errors or formatting issues may be raised with the proctor. If necessary, corrections will be posted. If students wish to share a problem with a particular question, leave a comment within the computer software, which will be reviewed by the Block Faculty.

Technical Difficulties
If students encounter technical problems during an exam, they should raise their hand to immediately notify a proctor.

Students may not leave the testing area during the examination, except to go to the restroom.

  • Only one student is allowed to go to the restroom at any given time.
  • For NBME exams, students must be accompanied to/from the restroom by a proctor.
  • Students should not be absent for more than five minutes.

If a student begins an examination and does not complete it for any reason, their exam will still be scored and applied toward their grade.

Irregular Behavior
Students seen to engage in any of the following behaviors will be noted and reported to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Curriculum:

  • Disrupting testing conditions of other students
  • Copying answers from another student
  • Allowing answers to be copied by another student
  • Receiving or providing unauthorized information about the examination content
  • Using notes during the examination
  • Writing on green laminated sheets prior to starting exam
  • Making notes on anything besides the green laminated sheets
  • Removal of green laminated sheets from the testing room
  • Continuing to work after time is called by the proctor

Resources for Standards of Academic Conduct

Exam Accommodations
Students who have a letter of accommodation from Disability Resources for Students (DRS) at UW can receive accommodations for examinations. After DRS has granted accommodations to a student, the School of Medicine will put these into place as soon as is reasonable depending on the particular course, the exam format, and the accommodations required.

Related Policies:

Effective: Current
Last updated: March 16, 2023
Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Curriculum Office, somgov@uw.edu; Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu