Memory Aid Accommodation Guide

What a Memory Aid is

A memory aid is an academic accommodation that is used to cue or trigger recall of information that the student has learned. The memory aid is student-created and is intended to allow equal opportunity to demonstrate competence, and to display knowledge and understanding of course content. A memory aid is uniquely developed and can be in a variety of formats (visual, auditory/digital/tactile/other).

What a Memory Aid is Not

A memory aid is not meant to record all the facts, concepts or processes being tested. A memory aid does not compromise academic integrity. A memory aid is not helpful to students that have not engaged in class content or do not comprehend the material. A memory aid is not any of the following:

  • A “cheat sheet”
  • Actual course/textbook content – only triggers and cues
  • Full course notes or an answer sheet
  • Specific examples of how formulas are used unless allowed by the professor.
  • A formula sheet – A formula sheet is a specific type of testing accommodation for math and/or science courses.

How is a Memory Aid Determined?

The memory aid accommodation is determined by the Accessibility Counsellor after reviewing the student’s documentation. The accommodation appears on the “Testing Accommodations” section of the Accommodation Letter. The Accommodation Letter may also indicate the use of a formula sheet. A formula sheet is a specific type of testing accommodation which contains formulas for math/science based courses. Some students may have accommodations for both memory aid and formula sheet.

Process for Using the Memory Aid Accommodation

  1. The Accessibility Counsellor approves the memory aid accommodation and puts it on the student’s Accommodation Letter
  2. The Accessibility Counsellor refers student to the Adaptive Technologist and Learning Skills Advisor for training on creating a memory aid
  3. Faculty and student discuss memory aid format and time lines. Development of the memory aid should be at least 5 days in advance of the test or at another mutually agreed upon time
  4. The student books his/her test, and will indicate “memory aid for tests/exams” in the OTHER section on the accommodations page of the online test booking system
  5. The student creates his/her memory aid
  6. The memory aid is given to the professor for approval. The professor will approve the memory aid, if it maintains the integrity of the test. Faculty are encouraged to provide feedback and have final approval over the content of the memory aid
  7. The professor will attach the memory aid to the test/exam booked in the testing centre. Only the mutually agreed upon memory aid will be allowed during the test

Memory Aid Formats

There are a wide range of possible formats for the memory aid based upon the student’s learning style.

  • Visual - Pictures, symbols, diagrams, mind maps Language Based - acronyms, acrostics, and keywords
  • Tactile - Manipulatives and/or other tactile objects or creations Auditory – Language based cues in an auditory format
  • Digital - Any of the above could be submitted via a USB for students unable to access paper format

Tips for Students

  • Email your Accommodation Letter to your professor(s)
  • Let your professor(s) know you will be using a memory aid and set a timeline to go over your memory aid
  • Meet with the Adaptive Technologist/Learning Skills Advisor for memory aid support
  • Share your memory aid with your professor(s)
  • Include the memory aid accommodation when you book your test
  • Only include cues and triggers to help recall material during the test

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Have Questions? Need Assistance? Want to Book an Appointment?
We are here to help. Contact Accessible Learning Services by email at als [at] or by phone at (905) 575-2122.