For many former students, the sight of a blue (or green) examination book might cause stomachs to churn and bring back memories of frantic essay writing and cramped hands. With the permission of some good-natured UVA students and faculty, we’ve captured moments from final exams, from an an essay spilling over to the back cover to an exhausted parting note to a professor.

Blue exam books originated at Butler University in the late 1920s. First printed by Lesh Paper Co., they were given blue covers because Butler’s colors are blue and white.


Blue books come in two sizes: 8.5 by 7 inches, which was the original size, or 11 by 8.5 inches.


In 2007, Roaring Spring Paper Products introduced the “green book,” an exam book with the same dimensions as a blue book, but made with recycled paper and given a green cover.

THE Overachiever

The UVA Bookstore orders about 17,000 blue books and 10,000 green books a year for students to purchase during exam time.

The Apologist

The Apologist 2

The Mad Dash