Are you curious about what would happen if someone were to die during an exam? Would the entire class get a passing grade? Or, would you have to retake the exam later?
To answer these questions and more, keep reading!
What Would Happen If Someone Passes Away During an Exam?
The exact response can vary depending on the situation as well as the institution – the most likely outcome is that the exam is postponed until the students can come to terms with the trauma and be prepared for the next exam.
Pass by Catastrophe – Myth or Fact?
If you are a college student then it is quite likely that you have heard of something known as Pass by Catastrophe. This is something that is popular in other parts of the world as well.
The theory here is that if any unforeseeable catastrophe should befall students taking an exam, then the entire class will automatically pass.
A student dying while taking a test is often seen as grounds for Pass by Catastrophe.
Before you get too excited, however, you should know that this is a total myth. It is an urban legend that was likely cooked up by college students and passed around so much that people believed it to be fact.
It is very rare that an entire class will be given a passing grade, even after witnessing a tragedy.
What Circumstances Would Result in a Passing Grade
It is possible that if you are enrolled in a Pass/Fail course or a prerequisite that the college may decide to give you a passing grade. This is especially likely if the course is known to be a rather easy one.
The college may not see much use in forcing students to retake a test that they were likely going to pass in the first place.
The other instance that the entire class may receive a passing grade is if the situation was especially traumatic.
For instance, if the other students had to witness the student suffering a great deal or if the death was particularly violent, then the university may decide it is too cruel to force students to take the exam again.
If the death is a high-profile one and features in the media quite a bit, this may cause the university to forego another exam as well.
Will the Exam Be Cancelled?
It is difficult to predict whether or not your exam may be canceled altogether. This will once again depend on the stance that the college takes as well as the circumstances.
If your exam is canceled, you should be aware that this doesn’t automatically mean that you will pass the class.
This is because the final grade will be calculated some other way. For instance, your professor may look at how the students have performed overall throughout the semester to determine what grade each person should get.
Or, the college may ask the professor to redistribute the weight of other assignments and exams to get a final grade.
It is also possible that the professor will come up with a predictive grade for each person based on how they have performed on previous exams.
What is the Most Likely Outcome?
As mentioned, it is most likely that your exam will simply be postponed. It is difficult to know how long the exam will be postponed, however.
If it is in the middle of the semester, then you may have some leeway. In fact, an unimportant mid-term exam may be canceled altogether.
To make up for it, you may have to do an additional assignment. Or, your final exam may carry greater weight to make up for the lack of this one.
However, if it is a final, then the exam may be held rather soon. This is because the grades need to be inputted into the system so that it can be added to your overall number of credits.
If the students are quite traumatized or the university is worried about how students may have reacted to the situation, then it is likely that the exam may be postponed for a while.
How Do You Know What Will Happen If Someone Dies During an Exam?
The main reason that it is so difficult to predict what course of action the university will take is that this is a very rare event. Most college students are young and unhealthy so it isn’t often that you hear of someone passing away in the middle of an exam.
The only way to know for sure what will happen is to check with your university. There may be a book of guidelines online or in the library that you can refer to.
Your only other option would be to ask the administration. As you can imagine, however, this is a rather odd thing to ask your school if such an event hasn’t already occurred. In fact, you may look like you are planning something!
Due to this, you should only broach this subject if such an event has already taken place.
If you do know some seniors or grad students, you could try asking them. As they have been around for a lot longer, they may know someone who has had such an experience and can brief you on the protocol.
What Would Be the Outcome If Someone Passed Away During an Exam?
It is difficult to know what would take place as this is an unusual scenario – it is most likely that the exam will be postponed to a later date – in rare instances, the exam may be canceled and in even rarer circumstances, the students may receive a passing grade.