The comprehensive exam is administered in both the fall and spring semesters for students who students who are in their last semester at SILS. For students who are planning on graduating in December, the exam is given the Friday before fall break. For students who are planning on graduating in May or August the exam is given the Friday before spring break. Students are given from 8:30am to 3:30pm to complete their answer and return their response to Lara Bailey. The exam is emailed to the student by Lara Bailey on the day of the exam.
Students have the option to select on of two questions presented to them. Students are told to select a context (ex: public library) and setting (ex: children's librarian) when answering their question which is used to match the exam with faculty who are knowledgeable about that particular subject area. Faculty are usually required to read and grade between 1-2 exams in the fall and 3-5 during the spring. Each reader is given a copy of the questions and grading sheet to record their comments and grades. It is important to read and grade the exams by the deadline. Delays in grades hold up not only the releasing of pass letters to students but also the graduation process.