Each term, Scheduling Services typically schedules exams for 1,700 courses, roughly 40,000 students, resulting in almost 100,000 student exams. This is over an exam period that is 13 days long.
The exam schedule must attempt to avoid conflicts and minimize hardships for students taking diverse and varied course loads, while taking into account additional constraints, such as trying to avoid evening exams for daytime courses. The number of potential combinations and permutations is astounding.
On this page:
Our primary aim is to minimize student conflicts and exam hardships.
- A student conflict occurs when a student is scheduled for two exams at the same time.
- An exam hardship occurs when a student must write three exams within 24 hours.
We are typically able to keep the number of conflicts and hardships very low. To give students the best chance to succeed, we want to provide optimal time to study both before and between exams, without dragging out the end of the term.
Sometimes students, faculty, or staff wonder why the exam schedule isn't released sooner as it is available at some universities before the semester starts. At UBC we do things differently – and we do so precisely because of the students.
- Scheduling Services begins working on each term’s exam schedule after the course add/drop deadline in order to schedule with accurate registration information.
- We usually have a complete exam schedule three weeks after the add/drop deadline.
- This gives students maximum flexibility when registering for courses.
The alternative way to schedule exams is through a course-based schedule and we’ve explored this option in the past. This method allows students to receive their exam schedules when they register. The problem, however, is that students are limited in their course selection: they cannot take courses that have the same final exam date. This can result in extended graduation dates and unsatisfactory course selection.
This option has been presented to and explored with the AMS, and the result was that students preferred to have the flexibility of selecting courses when registering instead of an early exam schedule. At UBC, we prefer to maintain as much student choice and flexibility as possible, especially as academic programs and student interests get more and more interdisciplinary.
View the Exam Schedule published each term on students.ubc.ca.
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