For students who have documented disabilities that affect memory, using a memory aid sheet may be a reasonable accommodation. The memory aid allows the student to demonstrate knowledge of course material by helping prompt the student’s memory, not by providing the answer. Students are responsible for learning course materials, discerning which materials may require cues or prompts, developing the cues that will appear on the aid, and securing the instructor’s approval of the aid.

This accommodation appears on the student’s “Notification of Academic Accommodations” email as “Permission to bring and use a memory aid as pre-approved by the instructor.” "Cue Sheet," "Formula Sheet," or both will be specified on the student's eligibility email and the notification letter sent to instructors.

If the instructor is concerned this accommodation is unreasonable because it will lower standards, compromise an essential component of, or fundamentally alter a course or program, such concerns should be addressed to DAS upon receipt of the “Notification of Academic Accommodations” email. The determination that an accommodation is unreasonable is an institutional decision that must be made within legal parameters and in consultation with DAS. Instructors should not unilaterally render and attempt to implement a judgment that an accommodation is unreasonable.

The Memory Aid accommodation should NOT:

  • Include course notes, lists of specific facts, details, concepts, or processes being tested;
  • Include complete terms and definitions;
  • Include specific examples of how formulas are used;
  • Include full course notes, copies of course slides, or all information from the course being evaluated;
  • Exceed one page (single sided);
  • Include open textbooks;
  • Serve as a substitute of studying (a cue sheet will not help if a student has not studied the material).

Who receives the Memory Aid Accommodation?

Students with a disability that interferes with their spontaneous retrieval of learned information may be approved for this accommodation.

Students seeking this accommodation must provide documentation that includes the following:

  1. Validated measures of performance validity
  2. A memory assessment that provides the following:
    • Demonstrates actual learning of information took place
    • Requires the student to recall the learned information after a standardized period of time
    • Confirms that the student failed to retrieve the learned information
    • Confirms that the student could recall it when given cues
    • Confirms that the difference between the student’s spontaneous recall and cued recall is significantly larger than it is for other students (e.g., normed comparisons)

Working Memory:  Low scores on measures of “working memory” and “auditory working memory” are not sufficient evidence to support the need for a memory aid accommodation. Working memory does not require actual storage of information. Auditory working memory does not require the transferal of temporarily-held information into long-term storage.

What does a memory aid look like?

Styles of memory aids may vary and are at the discretion of the instructor. Generally, they can be written or typed using a size 10 or 12 font on a large index card, OR up to one side of an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper.  A memory aid may or may not contain acronyms, short phrases, pictures, schematic diagrams or mind maps, names, definitions, tables, charts or key terms and certain formulae.

There are two types of memory aids that may be approved of as an accommodation:

  • Cue Sheet – a document containing information that serves as “prompts” to help cue a student’s recall of previously learned information. Click here for examples.
  • Formula Sheet – a document containing formulae. Formulae refers to a set of rules or principles that are expressed using symbols, figures, or both. Students are permitted a formula sheet only on exams or tests that test students on their use and application of formula. Instructors may not permit students the use of formula sheets on exams that evaluate student’s recall of formulae itself.


  • DAS will email the Notification of Academic Accommodations to the instructor regarding the support of a memory aid for quizzes, midterms and final exams.
  • The instructor should contact DAS if there are any concerns regarding this accommodation.
  • If the instructor believes this accommodation is not reasonable, then the process for an accommodation dispute should be followed.
  • Instructors must complete an Alternative Testing Agreement before DAS can proctor an exam.
  • Students are responsible for sending the proposed memory aid to their instructor for approval at least two business days before the exams.
  • The instructor must review the memory aid and upon approval, send it to the DAS Testing Center.  Students may not bring the approved memory aid/cue sheet with them to the exam.
  • Students must select this accommodation (memory aid) when scheduling course exams.

It is important to note:

  • Given the specific analysis for each course, a memory aid may be allowed for some exams but not others.
  • DAS will consider requests for a memory aid on a case-by-case basis.

DAS will not approve use of memory aids as a reasonable accommodation when doing so results in a fundamental alteration of academic standards.


Student Responsibilities

Instructor responsibilities

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 08/2022