Beyond the Blue Book: Maximize Your Exam Accommodations

If you're taking this Two-Minute Training, you probably already have exam accommodations approved and set up with your professor and Disability Services (DS).

If not, and you have a disability that impacts how you take tests, visit the Disability Services office on your campus. You'll need to provide "documentation" from your doctor or other clinician that shows why and how taking tests under standard conditions (e.g. timed and in a classroom) may pose a barrier to you.

After talking with you, the Disability Services office may be able to identify some aids or services (AKA accommodations) that will help address barriers in taking exams. They do this on an individualized basis with you, given your particular situation. The NCCSD Clearinghouse has more information about what accommodations are and how they are used in college.

Learn more about how Disability Services can be a resource for you.

When it comes to exam accommodations, you really need to be on top of things. You need to communicate with both your instructor and Disability Services since they have to make arrangements for a testing space, and how to get the test to and from the professor securely.

  • Make sure your instructor knows that you need or have accommodations for exams. Don't wait until the day of the exam to tell the instructor! Talk with Disability Services early in the semester about this so they can write a letter to your instructors with an explanation of what you need, as well as their procedures for proctoring an exam
  • Most schools have the DS office proctor exams for professors. On a few campuses, the faculty proctor tests themselves, so check that out.
  • Make sure to double-check your syllabi for exam dates, then follow the DS process for reserving a testing space. Many DS offices use an online form; some ask you to come in for an appointment. Whichever way they do it, you can usually schedule all of your exams. Make note of their deadlines for reserving rooms!
  • It's a good idea to check again with DS about a week before your exam, just to make sure everything is in place. They really appreciate that.
  • Show up on time (early if you can)! Know that you won't be able to take backpacks and other things in the test room with you, unless pre-approved.
  • Follow their instructions for beginning and ending the exam, and respect the "time's up" alert that they give you. If you feel that you need more time for an exam, it doesn't help to argue with the test proctor on the spot. You need to have that discussion with your DS Coordinator afterwards, to see if the accommodations you have might need to be adjusted.

Learn about a few common exam accommodations on the next page.