Have a question that isn't answered on this page?

Student FAQ: COVID-19

NOTE: Students who are eligible for exam accommodations must sign up to take exams with the OSD as follows:

Undergraduates/Graduate students:
Use the exam sign-up form. All exam accommodation requests must be submitted a minimum of 7 days prior to the date of your exam.

Continuing Studies students:
Fill out the Continuing Studies exam request form. For quizzes and midterms, this form must be submitted 3 weeks prior to the date of your exam

UGME (Undergraduate Medical Education) students:
Use the UGME student exam sign-up form. All exam accommodation requests must be submitted a minimum of 7 days prior to the date of your exam.

Contacting the OSD

How do I contact the OSD?

Please email us!

  • To reach our frontline staff to ask questions or book a skype appointment with an advisor, email disabilities.students [at] mcgill.ca.
  • To reach our exam coordinators, email exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca.


Please note that during the suspension period, all physical OSD offices on campus are closed.

How do I book a virtual appointment with OSD advisors, the Learning Skills Advisor or Adapted Technology Advisor?

Absolutely! Please email our front desk at disabilities.students [at] mcgill.ca to book a virtual appointment.



How do I access accommodations for midterms, quizzes and tests?

Note the deadline to register and receive accommodations for midterms, quizzes, and tests during the semester is 7 days prior to the date of your assessment.

Please complete the online exam sign-up form at least 7 days prior to the date of your assessment. Only indicate authorized accommodations you are requesting for that particular assessment. We will then communicate with your Professor to obtain updated details concerning the new format of your assessment. Prior to the date of your assessment, an email will then be sent from the OSD Exam Center to your professor indicating your time-based accommodations. Students are expected to follow-up with the professor if additional information is required.

If you have missed the deadline to register for accommodations, we ask that you use this exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Late%20registration%20%E2%80%93%20%5BEnter%20course%20code%5D, body: Date%20of%20exam%3A%0A%0AExam%20start%20time%3A%20%0A%0AExam%20length%3A%20%0A%0AStudent%20ID%3A%20%0A%0ACourse%20Code%3A%0A%0ASection%3A%20%0A%0AProfessor%20name%3A%20%0A%0AProfessor%20e-mail%3A%20%0A%0AAuthorized%20accommodations%20required%20for%20this%20assessment%3A%20%0A%0AAny%20additional%20information%3A%20%0A%0AI%20consent%20to%20sharing%20my%20approved%20accommodations%20with%20my%20instructor%20and%2For%20with%20the%20exam%20administrator%20of%20my%20Faculty%20for%20this%20assessment.%20I%20understand%20that%20there%20is%20a%20possibility%20that%20this%20late%20request%20may%20not%20be%20processed%20for%20administrative%20reasons.) (email template to contact the OSD Exam Centre and make a late request) as soon as possible (please make sure to enter your course code in the email subject line and fill in all the information listed). Late requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and we will try our best to add you to the exam schedule given the current circumstances.

Please note that by signing-up for your exam accommodations using the online exam sign-up form or the above email template, you are consenting to disclose your registration with the OSD to your professor and/or the exam administrators in your Faculty.


Note that time-based accommodations for exams DO NOT APPLY if your class has been given 48 hours or more to complete the assessment.

For any support regarding adaptive software, please see FAQ "Will I have access adaptive software (reader, text to speech) during online exams?” below. Students are expected to follow up with the professor if additional information is required.

How are accommodations applied to assessments in a remote learning environment?

During exams in a remote learning environment, accommodations may be applied in the following ways:

  • Your professors may opt to hold a time-bound, online exam, using one of the authorized platforms (most often myCourses). In this case, you are required to complete the online exam sign-up form. Your time-based accommodations will then be communicated to the professor, who will need to make the adjustments themselves.
  • Your professors may opt to assign an exam of 48 hours or more. While time-based accommodations do not apply to exams that are 48 hours or more in duration, you may still require other disability-related accommodations, which will be coordinated by OSD.


Please note there may be greater variability in exam format for midterms, quizzes, and tests.

How will I know if my accommodations have been applied to my assessment?

Prior to your exam date, OSD Exam Center will send an email to your professor indicating your accommodations. Your professor will then communicate directly with you to inform you of any modifications to your exam (format, start time, or duration), so that you may prepare accordingly.

I was informed that my professor is applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning to my exam and that my time-based accommodations may not be needed. What does this mean?

As McGill University is shifting to a remote learning environment, for the Summer and Fall 2020 terms, instructors are encouraged to set shared norms and expectations about assignment logistics from the beginning of the course. As such, many instructors are partnering with the OSD to adopt flexible assessment strategies in their course planning. The aim of this partnership is to create greater access for all students by incorporating principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Applying UDL principles ensures access to course content and assessments for most learners, thereby reducing the need for specific accommodations. The desired outcome in doing so is to make both learning and assessment goals achievable by all learners.

One such UDL strategy is to increase the available time to complete an exam, for all students. This is often achieved by doubling the typical assessment duration. For example, an instructor may plan a one-hour exam, but provide students with two hours to complete the assessment. In most, but not all instances, increasing the exam time for all removes further need for time-based accommodations, because time-based considerations have been built into the assessment strategy from the onset of the course.

There may be exceptional circumstances in which other disability-related accommodations may still be needed. If you feel this is the case for you, please reach out to our exam coordinators at exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca so that they may assess the situation and coordinate with your instructor, when necessary.

Do I have access to adaptive software (reader, text to speech) during online exams?

Yes, your adaptive software should be compatible with most platforms used for online assessments. TLS is working hard to coordinate with your instructors to ensure the widest possible access to students.

Please e-mail isabella.scurfield [at] mcgill.ca (Isabella Scurfield) for questions or concerns regarding access to adaptive software. You can also refer to our personal technology resource page to help you find a tool that works for you.

What do I do if I have an exam conflict?

There are three possible categories of conflicts for students: academic conflict, religious conflict, and OSD conflict:

Academic and Religious Conflicts

To see if you meet the criteria for an academic conflict or religious conflict, consult the McGill Exams website and follow their procedures for a resolution. Please communicate the resolution to the OSD Exam Center at exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca.

OSD Conflict

A conflict may occur for students registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities for whom, by virtue of their disability-related accommodations, are scheduled to write more than 8 hours of exams in one day (i.e. within a 24-hour period).

In an online context: If you are writing 2 or more exams that are assigned on the same day, which are all due in 24 hours, and the total writing time (including the exam duration and your time-based accommodations) is equivalent to more than 8 hours, then you qualify for an OSD conflict.

If you believe that you qualify for an OSD exam conflict, please contact exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca via e-mail and include the following information for EACH exam occurring within the same 24-hour period: 

  • Date of exam 
  • Start time 
  • Course Code 
  • Professor’s name 
  • Professor’s e-mail 


Based on the information that you provide, the OSD Exam Center team will notify you via e-mail of the following steps. 

Is the procedure to access accommodations for midterms and final exams different for MacDonald campus versus Downtown campus students?

No, the procedure is the same. All students registered with the OSD with an active accommodation plan are required to fill out the online exam sign-up form. To access their exam accommodations, regardless of their location. Please see FAQ “How do I access accommodations for Midterms and Final exams?” for more information.



Am I entitled to accommodations in a remote learning environment?

Yes! The same legal requirement to provide disability-related accommodations exists in a remote environment.

I am not registered with OSD but am currently experiencing academic barriers in a remote learning environment.

Please feel free to email disabilities.osd [at] mcgill.ca to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor via Skype as soon as possible.

Do I have access to my accommodations in a remote learning environment?

McGill OSD is committed to ensure that all students registered with the OSD continue to remain supported during this time. Rest assured that accommodations will be available and in place in a remote learning and assessment environment. The OSD is working closely with other units on campus to ensure that accessibility is planned for in remote learning environments.

Note that time-based accommodations for exams DO NOT APPLY if your class has been given 48 hours or more to complete the assessment.

I have stop watch time as an accommodation. Do I have access to this accommodation during online assessments?

Yes. Please sign up for your accommodation(s) using the exam sign-up form and indicate stop watch time as your accommodation. Students that have the stop watch time accommodation for online quizzes, tests and exams will be entitled to additional time, which is calculated on the basis of the exam’s original length.

Students are entitled to 30 minutes of additional time for all assessments that are more than 1 hour in duration, 10 minutes of additional time for assessments of a duration of 31 to 60 minutes, and 5 minutes of additional time for assessments of a duration of 30 minutes or less.

Please be reminded that the intention of the stop watch accommodation is to provide students with the possibility to take short breaks during their exam, that do not count towards the assessment duration. These breaks are intended to provide students with time to address barriers they may experience during the exam (e.g. specific medical needs, or self-regulation strategies).

Note that time-based accommodations for exams DO NOT APPLY if your class has been given 48 hours or more to complete the assessment.

I previously received accommodations on take home exams that were assigned for a duration of 48 hours, why has that changed?

How accommodations are applied may change from time to time dependent upon context. The changes to our context have led us to review how accommodations are applied to the learning and assessment environments. A review of common practices indicates variability across universities regarding the application of accommodations for take home exams. Many universities employ a case-by-case assessment of applying time-based accommodations to take home exams, while others do not apply accommodations to take home exams at all. McGill’s OSD is committed to providing time-based accommodations to exams that are less than 48 hours in duration. This process is now consistent with McGill’s other directives, including the exam format recommendations.

Are there any exceptions to this rule?

Yes. Extenuating circumstances will continue to be assessed on a case by case basis. Should it be determined that individual time-based accommodations are required, this will be communicated to your instructor. Reach out to us at disabilities.students [at] mcgill.ca if you feel your case requires consideration.

What do I do if my professors assign a pop quiz or an assessment during a virtual class?

If you are assigned an assessment in-situ during class for which you feel accommodations are needed, please reach out to our exam coordinators at exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca to discuss options that are available to you

What do I do if I can't use a computer for extended periods of time?

If you experience barriers using a computer, please contact an advisor in order to discuss options that are available to you. Please email our front desk at disabilities.students [at] mcgill.ca to book a Skype appointment.

I’m worried about how remote learning and assessments will be for me, what can I do?

The following resources and supports are available to students learning remotely:


Note-Sharing and the Tutor Matching Program

Is the note-sharing program operating in a remote learning environment?

Our note-sharing program is a peer-based, volunteer note sharing service. While we hope that notes can continue to be shared, we recognize that all students are experiencing challenging circumstances. If notes are no longer being uploaded for a class in which you previously had access to notes, feel free to book a Skype appointment with one of our advisors by e-mailing disabilities.students [at] mcgill.ca so that we can explore alternate options with you.

In remote learning environments, you may experience greater access to materials than in a traditional sit-down classroom, thereby reducing the need for peer shared notes. We are working with faculty and course instructors to support them in providing accessible content and we are updating our learning resources and webinars to include strategies for online learning.

How can I meet with my tutor?

Students that are matched with a tutor from Tutorial Services will continue to be able to meet with their tutors online. We suggest using platforms such as Skype or Google Hangouts. More information coming soon.



What if I do not have the technology required for a remote class?

If you do not have access to technological equipment that is required for an online class, we would encourage you to please reach out to your Student Affairs Office.

Do Smart Pens work with online classes?

Yes! Find a comfortable and quiet environment to watch and listen to your course lecture, ensure that the sound is loud enough from your speakers, and continue to take notes with the smart pen.

What adaptive technology do I have access to at home?

For a list of adaptive technology you can use at home, check out the OSD’s Personal Technology Solutions page. Here you will be able to find a list of resources you can use for everything from reading and writing to dictation, scanning and more.

Is the adaptive technology lab in the library open?

No. All library branches and study/work spaces on both campuses, including print stations, are closed until further notice. Please check the Library’s COVID-19 webpage for up-to-date information on the Library closure and service disruption.

How do I get inaccessible materials converted so that I can use reading software?

If access to digital text is one of your accommodations, we can continue to provide the service using the usual online request form.

Is the adapted transport running while classes are being offered remotely?

Please note that the adapted transport service will not be running during the suspension period. Information on ongoing operations of this service will be forthcoming.


Learning Strategies and Supports

Where can I find resources to help me with topics like time management, note-taking and writing exams?

Tutorial Services offers a host of Learning Strategies resources available to help you achieve your academic goals. Check out their Learning Strategies pages for more information.

Are there any Learning Strategies webinars I can attend?

Yes! Tutorial Services will be hosting a suite of Learning Strategies webinars through myInvolvement. They also have additional Learning Strategies resources available on their website that all students can access.

How can I stay motivated and avoid procrastination in a remote learning environment?

Structure is key! We all need structure in order be effective and motivated in our work. When this schedule is no longer provided to you by your classes, it’s important you create a schedule and some structure for yourself. Make yourself a weekly schedule that includes blocks of time for each class (~6-8 hours per class each week). Give yourself a morning and nighttime routine. These transition periods allow your body and mind to get ready for working and to calm back down for the end of the day. Finally, give yourself a designated workspace. Try to always work in the same space every day and avoid working in areas you associate with fun/relaxing such as your bed or the living room couch. Giving yourself some structure will allow you to stay motivated and avoid procrastination

How can I stay focused on my work when my family/roommates/children are also at home?

It’s important to talk to the people who are sharing your space in order to establish your “new normal”. Talk to them about your schedule for work/school. Discuss boundaries – can they interrupt you with questions while you are working? Or do you need to be left alone in order to be effective? Is there a sign or symbol you can use to distinguish what you need from them? Talk to them about expectations around the house – who is responsible for child care and on what schedule? Who is responsible for chores? You are all going to be sharing your space and each person has their own top priorities that need to be met. It’s important that you plan with your family/roommates in order to ensure everyone’s needs are being met.

I'm feeling anxious, what supports are available to students?

It is important to rest and focus on being well. Here are some supports and resources that are available to students:

Back to top