Reading and Examination Periods

Reading Period

At the end of each term, a period of six or seven days prior to the start of the Final Examination Period is designated as Reading Period. Reading Period is intended to be a time for students to reflect, review, and synthesize what they have learned during the semester. To protect this educational purpose, the following rules apply during Reading Period:

  • With the exception of designated intensive language courses, no regular instruction may take place during Reading Period. Sections and review sessions may take place during Reading Period as may class sessions that must be made up due to weather or other emergencies.
  • Courses may not assign new material during Reading Period.
  • All seated final examinations, of whatever duration (up to three hours) or scope, must take place during the course's Exam/Final Deadline Group as assigned by the Registrar's Office. (See also, section on Final Examination Period below.)
  • Final papers, take-home exams, projects, presentations, and other culminating course assignments due after the end of regular classes must be due on or before the day of each course’s assigned Exam/Final Deadline Group, but no earlier than the fourth day of Reading Period. Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled beginning on the fourth day of Reading Period and may extend through the Final Examination Period.*
  • Short, regular assignments that address material covered in the last two weeks of classes (such as problem sets or response papers) may be due during the first three days of Reading Period.

Regardless of whether a class meets during Reading Period, that time is an integral part of the term. Students are expected to remain in the immediate vicinity of Cambridge throughout this period.

* Each course will be assigned an Exam/FinaDeadline Group to spread out student deadlines and to establish grading due dates. While instructors may establish earlier deadlines per faculty legislation, the spirit of this recent change is to spread students’ final assignment deadlines across the entire exam period to avoid having all assignments due at the same time. If an instructor decides to use an earlier deadline it is very important that students are well informed about this change from the posted deadline.

Final Examination Period

Courses that culminate in a final examination of any duration (up to three hours) must hold their exams during the designated Final Examination Period and during the Exam/Final Deadline Group assigned by the Registrar’s Office. There are two exam sessions each day: morning exams begin at 9:00 AM, and afternoon exams begin at 2:00 PM.