LYNX Exam Creation Rules

Once you have an exam creation extract set, you’re ready to set up the rules that specify when each section's exam should occur. (It's possible to create more than one exam per section; see "Exams and multiple meeting patterns" below for more information.)

Before you define exam creation rules in LYNX, it's best to map out exactly how you plan to schedule exams. It's also good to understand the different parts of a rule. Use the sidebar links to find information about each topic.

How Do Exam Creation Rules Work?

Exam creation rules in LYNX are "if-then" statements: "if a section looks like X, then its exam is Y". The exam date is always very simple, but the conditions for what a section looks like can be as broad or narrow as you need them to be.

You can also set exceptions for your exam rules by specifying individual sections. These sections will have the designated exam date, overriding any other rules which may apply. These exceptions are particularly useful with Common Exam Groups, which often have unique exam times.

Image: Exam creation rules and exceptions for Fall. 

All exam creation rules have these parts:

  • Section start time
  • Section end time
  • Section meeting days
  • Exam date and start/end times

The section start time and end time are defined as ranges so that you can have one rule that covers multiple times. For example, if your start time range is from 9:00 am to 9:30 am, the rule will apply to sections with a start time anywhere within that half-hour. This is very useful for irregular departments who schedule classes at 9:00 am, 9:05 am, and 9:15 am as part of the "same" time block.

Section End Time Range

Because most schools only care about the start time when defining exam rules, the default end time range is 12:00 am - 11:59 pm (all day). This means fewer clicks for you since you don't have to change anything. As long as a section fits the start time and meeting days, it is covered by the rule.

The section meeting days are a list of day combinations that allow you to group several meeting patterns into the same rule. For example, you could set up a rule with meeting days of "TR | T | R" and it would apply to Tuesday/Thursday classes as well as ones that meet just on Tuesday or Thursday.

The exam date and time are exactly what you think. If a section starts and ends within the specified ranges and meets on one of the designated day patterns, then its exam will be at the designated date with a specific start and end time.

Exams and Multiple Meeting Patterns

A section with multiple meeting patterns (MMP) can generate multiple exams from a single set of rules, one for each meeting pattern that fits into an exam creation rule. Depending on your SIS, you have different options in the LYNX Settings - Exam Creation area for disabling this behavior:

  • Only create an exam for the first (or last) meeting pattern on a section
  • Exclude meeting patterns with certain types (e.g. LAB)
  • Exclude meeting patterns with certain Banner session indicators

These options apply universally and are not limited to a specific extract set.

Defining Exam Creation Rules

Adding an exam rule allows you to define all the parts described above. There are three ways to add rules to an extract set:

  • Starting from scratch
  • Copying an existing rule in the same extract set
  • Copying all rules from another extract set

As you get started you'll need to spend some amount of time with the first method, but with planning and consistency, you can reduce your workload with the other two.

Image: Defining an exam creation rule. 

Creating Rules From Scratch

  1. From the LYNX Utilities menu, choose Exam Creation.
  2. On the Extract Sets for Exam Creation page, select an extract set and then click Exam Creation Rules.
  3. Click Add New Ruleto open the Add New Exam Rule window. You must fill out all fields.
    • Enter the range for the meeting pattern start time.
    • Enter the range for the meeting pattern end time. The default is 12:00 am - 11:59 pm so you can choose to leave this alone if you don't need to be more specific.
    • Click the Edit icon on Meeting Pattern Days of the Week to select the weekday combinations this rule applies to.
    • Enter the date, start time, and end time for the exam that will be generated by this rule.
  4. If you don’t want the rule to be active now, click No. You can always activate it later by editing the rule. Inactive rules will not generate exams when you import the extract set.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Repeat these steps as needed to create additional exam creation rules for this extract set.

Copying Existing Rules

Once you've already created a rule, you can copy it to get a head start on defining the next one.

  1. Define a rule using the steps above.
  2. Click Clone in the Actions column next to that rule.
  3. Click Edit to open the Edit Exam Rule window.
  4. Change the fields as desired and click Submit.

Copying Rules From Another Term

If you have the same exam schedule from term to term, you don't need to reinvent the wheel with each new extract set. You can copy rules from one extract set to another.

Pitfalls When Copying Exam Rules

Keep these in mind when you copy exam rules from one extract set to another:

  • Copying rules will wipe out ones that you previously created. Only copy rules from another extract set if you want to replace what's already there.
  • If you are copying rules from a different term, you'll need to update the exam dates so that they are during the correct finals week.
  1. From the LYNX Utilities menu, choose Exam Creation.
  2. On the Extract Sets for Exam Creation page, select the extract set whose exam creation rules you want to copy, then click Exam Creation Rules.
  3. Click Copy Rules to Another Extract Set.
  4. On the Copy Exam Rules page, select the extract set you want to copy the rules to.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Go back to the exam creation extract set list and select the one you copied to, then click Exam Creation Rules.
  7. Edit or delete the rules as needed. Make sure that the exam date is in the correct month and year!

Image: Copying exam rules from Spring Last Year to Spring Next Year. 

Defining Exceptions

If you know exactly when a specific section should have its exam, you can set up an exception. An exception behaves like a rule which applies only to one section rather than a range of meeting patterns. It overrides any other rules which may apply to that section.

Use Exceptions With Common Exam Groups

Common Exam Groups are groups of sections that all share the same exam; for example, MATH 101 01 and MATH 101 02 are scheduled with a combined exam at the same place and time. The first section in the group determines how the exam is created. You can set a normal rule which encompasses that section, or you can use an exception.

Exceptions are useful for common exam groups because those often require special exams which don't fit the same pattern as other classes.

Adding an Exam Exception

  1. On the Exam Rules page, click Select Meeting below the list of exceptions.
  2. Use the Meetings Section Identifier field to type the course record number of the section you're looking for. LYNX will automatically search as you type.
  3. After selecting a meeting pattern on your desired section, complete the rest of the fields for the exam date and time.
  4. Click Submit to save your exception.

Image: Filling out fields for an exam exception.