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Student Wellness Centre

A view from the balcony of a busy open house showing student, stafff and faculty at the Athletics Centre

Student Wellness Centre

Cue or Formula Sheet as an Exam Accommodation

What is a cue sheet?

A cue sheet is a memory aid which can be used during exams by students with significant memory processing deficits. A cue sheet is meant to aid a student in triggering the recall of information stored in their long-term memory. It is not meant to provide a student with answers. Any information that is to be remembered as part of an essential learning outcome should not be included on a cue sheet.

A cue sheet should be no more than one 8.5x11 single-sided sheet of paper and may or may not include the following in a unique way:

  • Acronyms
  • Short phrases
  • Mind maps
  • Rough sketches

A formula sheet that is given by professors would be for students to demonstrate their ability to apply, rather than recall, formulas. A cue sheet, however, is a unique mechanism for an individual student to manipulate concepts in order to get them into long-term memory. The creation of the cue sheet assists students as they study.

Cue sheets are to be reviewed and approved by both SAS and the course instructor/professor before they may be used by a student during an exam. The course instructor has the final say in granting approval for a cue sheet as the course instructor is the content expert who determines the learning outcomes and objectives for the course.


Cue sheets must be approved by the SAS advisor who will forward the sheet to the course instructor(s) a minimum of 1 week (7 days) before the test/exam is to be written. This deadline is in place to allow sufficient time for communication and collaboration to occur between the student and course instructor(s).

  1. The student registers with SAS and Cue Sheet is approved as an accommodation based on a documented disability-related need.
  2. The cue sheet process starts at the beginning of term. The student works with a SAS advisor to create a cue sheet that meets the SAS criteria.
  3. The SAS advisor forwards the cue sheet to the course instructor(s) as a PDF or .jpeg/png.
  4. The course instructor(s) reviews the cue sheet and either approves the sheet, advises that changes/revisions are required, or rejects the cue sheet with rationale. Should changes be required to the cue sheet, the student makes those changes with the support of a SAS advisor and Step #3 is repeated.
  5. Once a cue sheet is approved by the course instructor(s), the SAS advisor contacts the Centre for Academic Testing (CAT), forwarding the approved cue sheet as a PDF or .jpeg/png. The course instructor(s) and the student are copied on that email.
  6. The CAT prints the approved cue sheet and adds it to the student’s exam envelope. The student uses the cue sheet during their exam and returns it along with their exam materials when submitting their exam upon completion.

A well-designed cue sheet is unique to each student.

Can you guess what discipline this is? For which course?


Sample of student cue sheet

The student worked with a SAS advisor through the process of creating a cue sheet that would help trigger their memory without providing the student with answers.