Exam/Alternative Assessment Queries (COVID-19)

Are end of semester exams going to take place this semester as a result of the restrictions required as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Official exams for Semester 1 will run remotely/online from Monday 11th January up to, and including, Friday 22th January 2021. Please note that these exams do not apply to first-year students.  


Do reasonable accommodations still apply for remote course delivery and assessment? 

The reasonable accommodations recommended for a student registered with the Disability Support Service still apply for remote course delivery and assessment. However, you may find that some of these accommodations are not relevant while alternative arrangements are in place. 


I am a student registered with the Disability Support Service, can I still avail of exam accommodations for remote exams and alternative assessments? 

In general, exam accommodations apply to timed assessments only. However, certain accommodations may still apply when a student is struggling to keep up with their workload due to the impact of their disability. This should be discussed with your module leader. 


Where do I find out about my recommended exam accommodations? 

Exam accommodations and other recommended reasonable accommodations can be found on the Learning and Educational Needs Summary (LENS) report that every student registered with the Disability Support Service receives. 


Can I still receive extra time for remote exams? 

If extra time has been recommended as a reasonable accommodation for exams, then you can avail of extra time (10 minutes per hour) for any timed assessments that you are taking. 


Does an accommodation of extra time apply to any other assessments? 

In general, extra time is a provision for timed assessment only. If you are having difficulty getting assignments in on time as a result of your disability it may be possible to avail of leniency with deadlines. Please discuss this with your Disability Advisor (as detailed on your LENS report).


I have been given an SLD sticker/marking guidelines as part of my exam accommodations, will this still apply to remote exams? 

SLD sticker/marking guidelines will apply to all timed assessments taken by a student. In general, such an accommodation would not apply to an at-home assignment with a number of days to be completed. Students with an SLD sticker/marking guidelines should have access to literacy software such as Texthelp and Grammarly to assist them with these assignments.


How can I best prepare to do my exams/alternative assessments at home?


  • If possible, find a quiet space/area of the house away from busy rooms.
  •  Discuss with family/housemates and try to make arrangements for a quiet time with no interruptions for the full duration of the time your exam is scheduled.
  •  Where possible face your desk to a blank wall to reduce distraction and ensure you have adequate light.
  • -Remove clutter from the desk space.
  •  Set up your study/exam area well in advance of scheduled assessments.
  • Test any technology that will be used to ensure it works properly and that you are familiar with how it works



Can I use text to speech tools during an exam to read my exam?

As exams will be performed remotely your exam paper will be delivered in an electronic format. This will enable you to use the text to speech function. Texthhelp read&write is free for all registered students in NUI Galway; you can download it for free by going to http://www.nuigalway.ie/information-solutions-services/servicesforstaff/software/softwarelist/software-accessibility/texthelpreadandwritegold/ If you require further assistance or training on this topic, please email the Assistive Technology Officer, from Disability Service (Sylvia.nutley@nuigalway.ie)

I've used voice recognition previously in exams, can I use it at home for any remote exams?

As exams will be performed remotely, you will have full access to Dragon voice recognition or Dictate option within MS Word on your machine. You are free to use this method when completing all exam work. If you require further assistance on this topic, please email the Assistive Technology Officer, from Disability Service (Sylvia.nutley@nuigalway.ie)

How do I install Microsoft Word 365 if I do not have it on my computer?

Office 365 is free for all registered students in NUI Galway; you can download it for free by going to http://www.nuigalway.ie/o365/login/ For more information on this service please view the webpages at Information Solutions and Services webpages https://www.nuigalway.ie/o365/

I am worried about my intermittent/slow internet access?

Proceed and prepare on the basis that it will work as it should. If any issues arise relating to connectivity during your assessment contact your module leader as soon as possible and explain the situation. Email is the University’s default communication channel during exams. Your module leader will share instructions on how to raise your issues with them (or their nominated contact) in advance of the exams.

I am not familiar with some of the technology, can I get help learning how to use it ?

The Disability Support Service provides advice and training with assistive technology options to students registered with the service. You can contact your Disability Advisor (as detailed on your LENS report) or email disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie 

Who should I contact to ensure that the accommodations listed on my LENS report are in place for my assessments?

Your module leader is the point of contact for information and arrangements relating to your formal course content and assessment. Please ensure that you attach a copy of your LENS report when requesting exam accommodations.  Do give some thought as to which of your recommended exam accommodations you will actually need in each timed assessment before making your requests. 

Who should I contact if I have difficulties getting my exam accommodations?


If you encounter any difficulty with ensuring required exam accommodations are in place, please contact your Disability Advisor by email only. You can find their contact details at the end of your LENS report. You may also email disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie with any disability-related queries or concerns.  


General queries

Do I need to re-register with the Disability Support Service (DSS)? 

No, once a student has registered with the Disability Support Service, registration remains in place for the duration of their studies.

I am studying at Shannon College of Hotel Management and have a question about the reasonable accommodations I had last year.

Contact Gwen Ryan who is the local disability support contact for the Shannon campus: gwen.ryan@nuigalway.ie

Do I need to send my LENS report to my lecturers?

Yes, it is your responsibility to send your LENS report to your lecturers/ course coordinator at the beginning of each semester. It might be easiest to send this in one email to all of them once you know their names and email addresses.

What is the best way to contact my Disability Advisor?

The best way to contact your Disability Advisor is by emailing them directly. Your Disability Advisor’s name and contact details should be given at the bottom of your LENS report. Alternatively, you can contact our Administrators at disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie for Disability Advisor contact details.

Are my exam accommodations still in place?

Yes, they will remain in place for all official end-of-semester campus-based exams run through the Examination Office. For in-class assessments, it is your responsibility to give adequate notice of your required accommodations to your lecturer/examiner. If you need to review your exam accommodations you can contact your Disability Advisor. Please note that any changes to your exam accommodations must be finalised by November 20th 2020 at the latest.

Are all my other supports e.g. personal assistant still in place?

Most supports and accommodations will remain in place, although the rollover of some supports may require action on your part. Students who qualify for transport, Irish sign language interpreting or personal assistance, for example, should contact their Disability Advisor for further advice.

Can I request a review of my supports and accommodations?

If there has been a change in your disability/health condition, course requirements, or if the supports in place are no longer suitable, you can contact your Disability Advisor to request a review. Please note that the beginning of a new academic year is extremely busy for the Disability Support Service with new registrations, but we will do our best to meet your needs in a timely manner.

I am going on placement this year and feel that I may need additional support. What should I do?

You should contact your Disability Advisor to discuss your placement plans and any supports you may require.

I am due to go on Erasmus this year and I am unsure what is happening due to Covid 19 restrictions with travel. What should I do?

You should contact your course coordinator, Disability Advisor or the international office for advice on study abroad.

 I am changing my course or progressing to postgraduate studies, do I need to contact the DSS?

Yes, you should contact your Disability Advisor who will update your LENS report with this information. You should forward your LENS report to the lecturers/course coordinator of your new course.


My course has labs/tutorials/seminars - how will these be delivered this year?

Please check out the link for Indicative Schedules for semester one of academic year 2020-21.

Do I need to attend campus for face to face classes?

You will need to check with your course handbook/webpage/course coordinator for more information on how this semester's lectures will take place. The academic departments are currently working on finalising timetables and course delivery methods, in line with government health and safety guidelines.

Due to health issues I have been advised not to come onto campus. Who should I contact about this?

We understand that a small number of students will be unable to come to campus in Semester 1 due to their own personal health, access or other reasons such as regional lockdowns in their home counties. Please contact your course coordinator for more details on how you can be accommodated until such time as you can safely come to campus. The departments are working hard to ensure that all learning will be made available online or accessible through some alternative means.


Is it still possible have my Assistive Technology needs assessed even though I am not on campus?

Yes, our Assistive Technology Officers are working remotely and continuing to provide this support to students. Please contact your Disability Advisor to discuss the possibility of referral for assistive technology support.

Is it possible to record online lectures?

Most of your online classes should already be recorded, however if you are experiencing issues with respect to this, please contact your Disability Advisor.

How will I access books and journals from the library to help with my studies if I am studying remotely?

Please find all details of Library service here

FAQs about registering with the Disability Support Service (DSS):

Is NUI Galway accessible to students with mobility difficulties?

All of the University's newest buildings are fully accessible and when renovations to existing buildings are carried out, works to improve access are carried out.

The University recognises that the age and design of some of its buildings may pose some constraints to students with reduced mobility. A universal access audit of the South Campus is underway to identify and prioritise improvements to access for all.

You should contact the DSS if you find difficulty accessing a particular building.

What is the DARE programme?

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education. For more information please check out www.accesscollege.ie.

Who can apply to DARE?

DARE is for school leavers with a disability under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2018, who have been educationally impacted as a result of that disability. Applicants to DARE can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and other EU qualifications.

Who should register with the Disability Office at NUI Galway?

Support is available to students with a disability:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder including Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Blind/Visual Impairment
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Dyspraxia/Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)
  • Mental Health Condition
  • Neurological Condition
  • Physical Disability
  • Significant On-going Illness
  • Specific Learning Difficulty (including dyslexia or dyscalculia)

Why should I register with DSS?

Support is available to students with a disability and is granted on the basis of medical evidence.

There are many different kinds of supports available such as:

  • Assistive Technology (linked back to AT in supports)
  • Learning Support (linked back to LS in supports)>
  • Examination Accommodation (linked back to EA in supports)
  • Personal Assistants (linked back to ESW in supports)
  • Academic Support

How can I register with the DSS? What do I need?

  1. To register with the Disability Office you must provide verification of your disability, which can either be an Evidence of Disability Form Evidence of Disability Form  ‌or a Medical Report .
  2. All students must complete this online registration form to register with the Disability Office. This online form will only take about 5 minutes to complete.
  3. The third step is to meet with a member of the Disability Support Service team who will carry out a full needs assessment.

Visit the  How to Register page for more information. 

What do I need to register?

To register with the Disability Office you must provide verification of your disability, which can either be an Evidence of Disability Form or a Medical Report with the same level of detail from the appropriate professional practitioner, please see table under 1. Who can Register and eligibility for information on the type of report required and the age limit of the report.

If I register will it be marked on my college results?

No, there will be no record on your transcript of results from the university.

What supports are available if I register with DSS?

Supports are determined on an individual, case-by-case basis in a needs assessment meeting between the student and a member of DSS. Examples of the kinds of supports that are available include;

  • Learning Support: time management, organisation, learning styles, academic writing, study and revision techniques.
  • Assistive Technology: digital recorder, Echo Smartpen, specialist software for reading and writing (TextHelp), or speech to text software (Dragon Naturally Speaking).
  • Exam Accommodations: extra time, alternative venue or SLD sticker and marking guidelines.

Where is the DSS? How do I contact the DSS?

The DSS is located in Room AUC 1004, Áras Uí Chathail.
Tel. + 353 (0) 91 492813
Email disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie

I think I have dyslexia. What should I do? What if a student thinks they may have Dyslexia/Learning difficulty?

If a student thinks they have an issue with reading, writing and/or spelling the Disability Support Service can offer you a screening for Dyslexia. This screening is a series of short tests the results of which should give an indication of whether they are ‘at risk’ of Dyslexia or not.

What if I fall behind from being hospitalised or sick when at college?

You should advise your department(s) if you are sick or hospitalised and submit a medical certificate for your absence. If you are out for long periods of time you should also get in touch with a member of the DSS team to discuss how this has affected your studies.

I didn't tick the CAO box to say that I have a disability? Is it too late to register?

No, you just need to contact the DSS to make an appointment or follow the steps in How to Register with the Disability Support Service. You will need to meet the criteria as outlined in step 1.

I have a mental health or medical condition which is controlled by medication, why would I register with the Disability Office?

The DSS would recommend that you still register with them to make sure that if your condition changes throughout your studies which can be very demanding, any necessary additional supports can be put in place.

Does the University need to know that I have a disability?

Yes, by disclosing your disability it means that you will be assisted in accessing appropriate supports and exam accommodations to help you complete your studies successfully. The decision to disclose is up to you, but if the DSS is not aware of your disability, it will be very difficult for you to access additional supports. 

What can be done if my medical evidence is out of date?

You should contact a member of the DSS if your medical evidence is out of date. There are still supports which can be put in place despite funding restrictions.

Are there any supports available to students who don’t register with DSS?

The University has site licences for two special softwares. These are installed in most of the university’s PC suites.

  Read and Write Gold is specialist literacy software that assists students to read, write and make text accessible. The software has a text to speech function which allows you to listen while it reads on-screen texts. Further functions can be used to edit and proof-read written work. 
  Mind Genius mind mapping software is a brainstorming and planning tool that provides an effective and efficient way to capture, visualise and use the information. MindGenius can be used to brainstorm, plan and organise projects, assignments and essays. MindGenius can also be used for study and revision in preparation for assignments and examinations. In addition to using the software in the university’s PC suites, our site licence allows students to download it onto their personal PCs of laptop so that they can use it from home.
The ‘Learning Centre’ on blackboard provides a link to 24/7 interactive e-learning resource. Skills4study is designed to help develop study skills to succeed in higher level education. Modules include:
• Getting ready for academic study
• Reading and note-making
• Critical thinking skills
• Writing exams
• Exam skills
The Academic Writing Centre (AWC) is located on floor 2 of the James Hardiman Library. It offers one-to-one tutorials on essay writing to all students, working with them to overcome recurrent problems with grammar, punctuation, spelling and essay structure. The DSS provides additional funding to the AWC to provide additional writing supports to students with disabilities.

I am an International Student; can I register with the Disability Support Service?

If you have a disability, significant on-going illness or specific learning difficulty you can register with the Disability Support Service to arrange supports and reasonable accommodations in examinations.

Before you arrive, you should contact the Disability Support Service, so we can advise you on the type of supports that are available.

To register with the service when you arrive, you must provide evidence of your disability. A letter or email listing your exam accommodations is not sufficient, so plan ahead a take a copy of your evidence of disability with you.

You should check out the Evidence of Disability Form  Evidence of Disability Form  ‌ to see what medical documentation needs to be submitted.

If you do not have evidence of disability documentation, download a form that can be completed and signed by the relevant professional practitioner or specialist here.

Bring your Evidence of Disability documentation or form into the Disability Support Service and we will arrange for you to meet with one of our team for a needs assessment.

Please note that the exam accommodations you receive here may differ from those you receive in your home country.

FAQs for students registered with the Disability Support Service (DSS):

How to make an appointment to see a member of the DSS team?

You can pop into the Disability Support Service in Room AUC1004,  Áras Úi Chathail, or ring 091 492813 or email disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie if you would like to make an appointment.

What happens during a needs assessment?

A needs assessment is a meeting with a member of the Disability Support Service to discuss what reasonable accommodations you may need to achieve equity of access to teaching, learning and assessment in third level. Every student who registers with DSS has an individual needs assessment meeting to consider the best combination of supports to meet your needs. Supports may include learning support, assistive technology and examinations accommodations.
The outcome of the needs assessment meeting is summarised in your Learning Educational Needs Summary (LENS. You can request a meeting to review your LENS if your wish to discuss changes to it.

How will my lecturers know I am registered with the Disability Support Service?

After you have registered with the DSS, the reasonable accommodations are summarised in your Learning Educational Needs Summary. A copy is sent to the course co-ordinator of each of your subjects. 

I am falling behind with my course work what should I do?

You should make an appointment to see a member of the DSS team and your course co-ordinator and discuss the areas you are falling behind with. 

My condition has changed what should I do?

You should contact a member of the DSS team to discuss the changes to your condition. Your current LENS report will be updated to reflect the changes of your condition.  


FAQs Exam Queries:

What examination supports are available if I register with the DSS?

Exam accommodations are agreed during your needs assessment meeting with a member of the DSS team. The impact of your disability on the examination process is taken into consideration. Reasonable examination accommodations are put in place so you are treated fairly and equitable in the examination process.

How do I know where to go for my exams if I have examination supports?

  1. View your personal exam timetable.
  2. Always check the amendments for changes to the exam date, time or venue.
  3. If you do not have a personal timetable, you need to contact the Student Information Desk (SID) immediately and check if you are fully registered.
  4. You will see the main examination venues when you logon to view your timetable.
  5. If you have been allocated alternative exam venue you will be emailed details of the venue by the DSS.
  6. You will need to refer to your timetable to confirm dates and times.

What happens if I miss my end-of-semester exams due to illness?

If you missed a scheduled exam, please contact your College office as soon as possible. 

I just had an accident which means I will have difficulty doing my exams, what should I do?

The Examinations Office makes arrangements for additional reasonable exam accommodations on a temporary basis for students who require them during the exam session. Please check here for more information. 

Can I change my examination accommodations?

You can make an appointment to meet a member of the DSS team to discuss your examination accommodation. In certain instances, additional medical documentation may be required to confirm a difficulty a student has. 




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