The Yale College Faculty established reading period between the end of classes and the beginning of final examinations in order to provide a period of five days during which students might conclude their course work and prepare for final examinations. The instructor of each course determines whether the course will observe reading period. A course that does not observe reading period is identified in chapter III of the YCPS by the abbreviation RP after the course description and in the online course listings (under Subjects of Instruction and in OCI) by the phrase "Meets during reading period."
The assumption underlying the faculty's institution of reading period was that no additional assignments would be required during reading period in a course observing it, but that students would use reading period in their own way to consolidate and augment the work of the course. Such being the case, no final examination may be administered during reading period. A final examination in a course, whether or not the course observes reading period, must be administered during final examination period. No take-home final examination may be due during the reading period.