Rock Valley College

Chapter 18: Memory Aid Guidelines

Guidelines for Reasonable Accommodations for Study/Memory Aid

For students who have documented disabilities that affect memory, using a study/memory aid may be a reasonable accommodation.  The study/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, for discerning which materials may require cues or triggers, for developing the cues that will appear on the aid, and for securing the faculty member’s approval of the aid. Given the specific analysis for each course, it is entirely possible that the use of a study/memory aid may be allowed for some exams, and not allowed for others.


  • Contact DSS office to request this accommodation by phone: (815-921-2371, Email: or stop by)
  • Eligibility for this accommodation is determined via an interactive conversation between the student and the Accommodations Specialist
  • Once approved for this accommodation, students must contact the DSS office by phone, E-mail, or stopping by, every semester to renew the accommodation for the upcoming term
  • Accommodations Specialist contacts the student and their Professor(s) by E-mail to provide information on the process and address any questions or concerns
  • Faculty are responsible for contacting Disability Support Services (DSS) if they are concerned that this accommodation is unreasonable because of a belief that the accommodation will lower standards, compromise an essential component of or fundamentally alter a course or program. Faculty should not unilaterally render and attempt to implement a judgment that an accommodation is unreasonable, but rather follow the Reasonable Accommodation Dispute Guidelines (see “process” section for link).
  • Students are responsible for contacting the DSS office regarding any questions or concerns they may have in relation to this accommodation. 
  • Students are responsible for sending the proposed study/memory aid to the faculty member for approval at least two business days before an exam.
  • The faculty member must review the study/memory aid, and upon approval, send it to the Testing Center. Students may not bring the approved study/memory aid with them to the exam.

What does a study/memory aid look like?

Styles of memory aids may vary. Generally, they can be written or typed, 10 or 12 font, on a large index card, OR up to one side of an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper.

At the discretion of the instructor, a study/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. 

A study/memory aid is not meant to record all the facts, concepts or processes being tested.  A study/memory aid should NOT

  • Exceed one page (single sided)
  • Include specific examples of how formulas are used
  • Include “answer sheets’ or complete terms and definitions
  • Include full course notes or all information from the course which is being evaluated
  • Include open textbooks
  • Serve as a substitute of studying – because a cue sheet will not help if a student has not studied the material.