Dead Week, also known as Reading/Review/Recitation (RRR) week, is the week of each UC Berkeley semester that follows the final week of class instruction and comes before the week of final exams. During this week, students are given a grace period with limited homework deadlines, no formal class, and no final exams. It is intended to be a time of revisiting course material to prepare for the series of final exams held the following week. While many students utilize this time for its intended purpose, others are critical of Dead Week for its lack of structure and fanciful expectations.
The original guidelines issued by the UC Office of the President in 1954 stated to instructors that no new material should be presented in the 15th week of the UCB Academic Semester, for autumn and spring alike. This originally meant that normal classes would still commence, but instructors were suggested to focus on reviewing old material in preparation for the final exam. However, in 1984 the Academic Senate released new guidelines recommending that RRR week become an active time of consultation and feedback from professors, done so through optional attendance to office hours and organized review sessions.
Rules and Regulations
Exams and quizzes or other mandatory scheduled activities cannot be scheduled by a professor during RRR week, but there are few exceptions. “Special format” courses, such as performance-based or studio-based courses may schedule a capstone presentation due to possible time constraints. Also, projects, papers, or other homework can be assigned to be due during RRR Week as long as it is not a substitute for final assessment. If a student finds that their instructor is not adhering to these rules, The Ombuds Office For Students and Postdoctoral Appointees provides a dispute process to resolve the matter as a mediator between instructor and student.
Reality of Dead Week
Many have described Dead Week as an advanced exemplification of procrastination. Half of the week, including the first weekend, if oftentimes spent in extended periods of socializing, recreation, and resting. Little to no attempts to review or revisit course material is ever made by a large portion of students. During the second half, the stark reality and pressure of time sinks in, leading to long periods of frantic study. Every student has his or her own unique story of Dead Week due to the oftentimes-bewildering feeling of complete freedom. Nevertheless, RRR week is a special event that only happens once per semester.
"Frequently Asked Questions about the Academic Calendar." Reading/Review/Recitation FAQs. Office of the Registrar, 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. <http://registrar.berkeley.edu/RRRFAQ.html>.
Hunt, Chloe. "The Most Accurate Description of Dead Week at UC Berkeley - The Daily Californian." The Daily Californian. The Independent Berkeley Student Publishing Co., 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014. <http://www.dailycal.org/2013/12/04/accurate-description-dead-week-uc-berkeley/>.
Shabazz, Rashees. "10 Dead Week Commandments: Tips on How to Survive and Thrive During RRR Week at UC Berkeley." The Onyx Express Black UC Berkeley News Arts Culture and Events. N.p., 9 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <http://onyxexpress.org/2013/12/09/10-dead-week-commandments-tips-on-how-to-survive-and-thrive-during-rrr-week-at-uc-berkeley/#sthash.hrj41Fcn.dpbs>.