Testing Accommodations

You must first register with Disability Services (DS) in order for DS to determine your eligibility for this accommodation. Refer to the registration page for further information.   

In some cases, students with disabilities are eligible for accommodations related to the administration of examinations.  Testing accommodations are provided for students whose disabilities impact their ability to complete exams under standard conditions in the classroom.

Typical testing accommodations may include but are not limited to:

  • Extended time to complete the exam
  • A smaller proctored environment to take the exam
  • Use of a computer to type the exam
  • Alternate format (e.g. exams in large print)
  • Use of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs
  • Permission to have water and food in the exam room (medical necessity)

The testing accommodations indicated above modify, in a specific manner, the way an exam is administered to the student.  However, the intent of testing accommodations is not to alter the performance requirements or lessen course standards; rather, their purpose is to ensure access to the testing setting for students whose disability-related needs warrant modifications.

Students approved for testing accommodations must follow standard procedures for accessing this accommodation each semester.  Please note there are exceptions to these standard procedures for certain undergraduate courses. The standard procedures are as follows:  

Undergraduate students:

  • Request your accommodation letters via the online form
  • Your accommodation letter will be emailed to you 2-5 business days after you have made your request
  • Have your professors sign your accommodation letters
  • Return the signed accommodation letters to DS in order to access this accommodation
  • Submit your Request Test Accommodation forms.  This request form is known as the Testing Accommodation Request Form (TARF) and must be submitted at least three weeks in advance of any upcoming exam date. For final exams, the TARF is generally due six weeks in advance.
  • Submit your Request Quiz Accommodations forms. This request form is known as the Quiz Accommodation Request Form (QARF) and must be submitted at least 21 days in advance of the first quiz. All quiz dates should be indicated on one QARF.

 Exceptions to the standard procedures:

  • “Big 4” Chemistry courses (General Chemistry I & II and Organic Chemistry I & II):
    • Accommodation letters are not needed for these courses.  As such, accommodation letters do not need to be signed by the professors for these courses nor the staff in the Chemistry department.
    • Submit TARFs at least three weeks in advance of any exam dates.
      • Only the student section of the TARF should be completed (the professors for the “Big 4” courses do not need to complete or sign the instructor section of the TARF)
    • Submit QARF 21 days in advance of the first quiz date with all quiz dates indicated on one form.
      • Only the student section of the QARF should be completed (the professor or TA do not need to complete or sign the instructor section of the QARF)
         
  • Contemporary Biology with Professor Mowshowitz:
    • Accommodation letters are not needed for this course.
    • Submit your Request Test Accommodation forms. This request form is known as the Testing Accommodation Request Form (TARF) and must be submitted at least three weeks in advance of any upcoming exam date. For final exams, the TARF is generally due six weeks in advance.
      • Only the student section of the TARF should be completed (Professor Mowshowitz does not need to complete or sign the instructor section of the TARF)

Graduate students:

  • Contact your Graduate Liaison at the start of the semester
  • DS Graduate Liaisons generally require at least 1-2 weeks of advance notice in order to coordinate testing accommodations 
 

FAQs

I am registered with Disability Services, how do I coordinate my exams with accommodations?

Students must submit a complete Testing Accommodation Request Form at least two weeks in advance in order to take an exam with accommodations at Disability Services. This form must be completed and signed by your professor in order to complete your request to take your exam at Disability Services.

Do I need to submit a TARF/form for every exam?

Yes. Students must submit a TARF for each exam they wish to have DS administer with accommodations.

Students taking certain Chemistry and Biology exams submit a TARF with only the Student Section completed – the professor does not complete the Instructor Section. Instructor Section is not required for Columbia General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry or Contemporary Biology courses.

Where will my exam be held?

Exams are administered in various locations on campus. Students must check in at the DS office in person at least 15 minutes before the start of his/her exam. At that time, DS staff will direct the student to the exam location.

What do I do if I have a conflict with another class because of my extended time accommodation?

First, students should speak with their professors to arrange alternate dates or times for their exams. If a student is unable to reschedule a conflicting exam, the student should notify DS at dsexams@columbia.edu with exam conflicts. DS staff will make an effort to coordinate alternate exam times with professors and other staff.

What if I miss an exam because I am sick?

If student informs DS prior to exam that s/he is unable to take exam due to illness, the student must contact professor to ask for permission to reschedule exam. Students should be aware that the professor’s make up/missed exam policy may apply. If permission is granted, DS will coordinate an alternate exam date and time as per the professor’s instructions.

If a student informs DS during an exam that s/he cannot continue due to illness, DS will contact the professor to ask how and if DS is able to reschedule the exam. DS may not be permitted to reschedule the exam, and students should consider the professor’s make up/missed exam policy when deciding if he/she is well enough to complete the exam.

I am taking a class at Barnard, what do I do for those exams?

Columbia students taking classes at Barnard should follow the same instructions for scheduling an exam with Columbia by filling out and submitting a TARF with the DS office at least two weeks in advance of the exam. DS will coordinate administering the exam with the appropriate accommodations.

My exam has a listening or visual component to it, how do DS manage these exams?

In cases where there is a listening or visual component to the exam that you will require DS to administer, please provide instructions as to how this portion will be administered to the class during the exam. DS will provide appropriate accommodations based on the professor’s instructions.

Art Exams - additional time is needed to configure any slide shows. As such, please send your exam at least 2-3 business days in advance.

Language Exams - if your exam has a listening component, we recommend scheduling a separate time to administer this section to the student. Alternatively, you may provide a pre-recorded file, or create a recording at our office (Suite 108-A, Wien Hall).

Music Exams - please send audio files in mp3 or WAV format, or drop off a CD with the selections at our office (Suite 108-A, Wien Hall).

I am already registered with DS, how do I arrange accommodations for an exam?

Graduate students should communicate with the appropriate Graduate Liaison to arrange exam accommodations at least one week in advance.

Last updated October 12, 2016