Methods of Instruction and Examinations

Methods of Instruction

The case method of instruction is employed in the majority of courses, particularly in the first three quarters. This traditional method of law study involves a thorough analysis of assigned cases and the rules and principles of law deduced from the cases. Through this approach, the student develops an ability to recognize, analyze critically, and evaluate legal issues and positions while learning basic rules and principles of law. Classroom discussion is encouraged, and related statutory and non-legal material is correlated with the cases studied. Other methods of instruction are used where appropriate to the subject matter and objectives of the course. In certain courses, for example, students are given assignments which resemble the type of problems a practicing attorney encounters in daily practice.


A written final examination is generally given at the end of each course with the student’s grade for the course determined largely by that examination grade. The final examination is given only in the examination time slot as scheduled by the Associate Dean and announced in advance of the course. The scheduled final examination time slot can be changed only upon unanimous consent of all students in the course and approval of the professor and the Associate Dean. Moreover, the rescheduled time slot must fall during officially scheduled examination weeks.

An individual student shall be excused from taking the examination only under extraordinary circumstances, such as hospitalization, and only if, prior to the scheduled examination time, he or she has been excused by both the instructor and Associate Dean. If excused, the student will be given an "incomplete" and the student will take the exam the next time a regularly scheduled exam is offered for that course. Absence from a scheduled final examination when a student has not been excused by both the instructor and Associate Dean will require a grade of "F" to be given for the course.

Policy on Rescheduling Final Exams

Rescheduling of final exams is generally discouraged and should only be considered in instances of genuine conflict, as defined below.

Definition of Conflict

This policy defines a conflict as a circumstance where a student has a conflict with the scheduled exam due to one of the following:

1. Participation in official activities: Involvement in official university or law school activities. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Traveling to or participating in an advocacy competition as a representative of the Law School. Advocacy competitions would include moot court, mock trial, alternative dispute resolution, transactional, and any similar type competitions.
  • Participating in a Baylor-sanctioned activity, such as an academic conference.

A faculty member administering an examination may, in consultation with an advocacy team coach, determine that a genuine conflict exists when a student is preparing for or has recently returned from an advocacy competition. If the faculty member and team coach disagree, the Associate Dean will determine whether a genuine conflict exists.

2. Overlapping exams: An instance where a student is repeating a required course and the final exam for that course is scheduled at the same time as another exam.

3. Health or family emergencies: Serious health issues or family emergencies that are unforeseeable and require the student’s immediate and full attention. Documentation may be required.

4. Religious Observances: Absences due to religious observances that conflict with the exam schedule.


The following reasons are generally not considered to be genuine conflicts for purposes of this policy:

  • Personal travel plans.
  • Employment interviews or job-related activities.
  • Social events or engagements.
  • An exam schedule that a student finds inconvenient, such as one with exams on consecutive days or two exams on the same day.
Delaying Exam Start Times

This policy does not prohibit a faculty member from beginning an exam later than the designated start time, so long as the exam period remains within the assigned length for the exam. For example, a professor whose exam is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon can delay the exam by 30 minutes, so students would take the exam from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nevertheless, the start times for accommodated students will be determined by the Academic Services Business Manager.

Procedure for Rescheduling

For any known conflict, including overlapping exams or religious observance, a student must request to reschedule an exam before the first day of class. A student who encounters a health or family emergency or becomes aware of a conflict during the quarter must request to reschedule an exam no later than one week before the beginning of the final exam period. A faculty member whose final exam is to be rescheduled will consult with the Academic Services Business Manager to reschedule the exam.

Where a genuine conflict does not exist, the Associate Dean may approve the rescheduling of a final exam based on a student’s individual circumstances.