I am an undergrad student taking a chemistry class. We have a 50 minutes quiz every week during the discussion section. The TA usually emails this quiz to us, and while my class is at 1:00 pm, the TA usually emails it to us at 1:01 pm. So, once I get the quiz on the email, I need to print it out (it takes some time to print out) then I start working on it. Usually, I try to finish the quiz by 1:48 pm so I can camscanner it, then email it or airdrop it to my computer, and then send it before 1:50 pm, because after 1:50 pm it considered to be a late submission which results in a zero for the quiz.

This is challenging:

  • One time, I finished it at 1:48 pm, and at 1:49 pm I emailed it back to my TA. However, for some reason, the email was received late, and the quiz appeared to have been submitted at 1:51 pm. The TA gave me a zero for late submission, and I had to go to the professor to receive a full grade.

  • For the next quiz, I thought writing an exam on an iPad would be much faster instead of printing, scanning, and emailing it. But, the file was too big for Gmail, so it took some time to upload. So I airdropped it to my computer and emailed it to the TA. My exam was 1 minute late again. I sent him an email right away with the screenshot that the file is big so it took a long time to upload.

  • Today was the third time that this put me into hysterics. I went back to printing, camscanning, airdropping, and emailing. But, airdropping didn't work, so I emailed it to myself and sent it to the TA from the school email. Once again I wrote him a huge email with explanation and as well with proofs with time. My hands were shaking so as my head, I started crying because this was my third time when the devices are glitching, and I was going to get a zero again.

How can I get more time for the quizzes?

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    Who the hell is making students take tests this way?? Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 23:13
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    This does not answer your precise question, therefore only as comment: I strongly recommend asking to run a series of practice runs with the setup you will use in an assessment to test the options. It should be precisely in the same form as you will use the computer/paper/scanner. Familiarize yourself with the setup. Do not use unfamiliar computers in an exam. Practice with them first. You have enough to worry about answering the questions, handling the infrastructure should be routine. Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 1:13
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    Hi Darina, (1) I edited your question down because it was very long (and likely attracting close-votes). (2) In the end, we don't really need the details of each of your attempts to answer. (3) We generally anonymize posts, so I removed the name of your school and classes - although I'm astonished a major US university is delivering tests this way a year into the pandemic. (4) As Dan's answer discusses, getting more time on exams is a different question than what to do about a dumb/unfair way of delivering quizzes. Since you only discuss weekly quizzes and their specific format, ... Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 15:12
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    How long does it take your classmates to answer the quiz?
    – JRN
    Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 15:35
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    The "zero credit for one minute late" part is the ridiculous part. Having students create electronic copies by the method of their choice, and email it in, is completely reasonable, if part of the help the students get in a course is about coping with "the tech". And, yes, there will inevitably be people who try to game the system by claiming "tech problems", but that shouldn't cause us to be heavy-handed in rule-making. Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 17:22

4 Answers 4


About your actual question, yes, there is a way to get extended time based on having anxiety during exams or related things (although I cannot make any guesses as to whether you would qualify given your specific situation). Here is what I think is the relevant office at your university to consult about that.

About the broader context to your question, this situation is very sad and unfortunate. I think your instructors are probably unaware of how badly their tech cluelessness is affecting their students. If they are aware, then treating you and your fellow students this way intentionally seems unconscionable to me.

Given this, I think you should consider going not only to your professor but to someone in your program with the story of how this situation is creating an impossible learning environment for you. I’m sure there are sympathetic, well-intentioned people at your program (e.g., an adviser, undergraduate program chair or vice chair, etc) who have authority and would be able to advocate for you, and would genuinely want to know about and address these types of problems, not just for your sake but for all the students’ sake. I can tell you that just as you are struggling with studying in an online environment, many professors are equally struggling with teaching in such a setting as well, and do not always have everything figured out about addressing the many practical and logistical challenges that come up. Hearing from students about what is working and what isn’t provides vital feedback that would enable them to correct course where appropriate.

Good luck!

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    This is not "anxiety" as in an anxiety disorder. Going the route you imply in the first paragraph (extending time for OP on personal grounds) is not the way to approach this. But, the rest of the answer is good. Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 23:14
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    @AzorAhai thanks. I agree with you it’s not a disorder or a disability, the way I see it it’s just a normal person’s way of reacting to the kind of abuse being inflicted on OP. It’s actually unfortunate that US universities stigmatize such normal human traits by calling them disorders, and making that the only route a student can use to ask for extended time on exams. Nonetheless, that is the state of affairs regardless of whether we are happy about it or not, so I stand by the advice I gave. Anyway, if you have another suggestion on how to get extended time, I’m sure OP would want to hear it.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 23:31
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    I don't, beyond your second and third paragraphs (which I +1'd for). I'm just saying the disability office is not the right way to approach this. This is a frustrating and dumb way to do assignments (for everyone involved). Seeing a therapist to get a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (which is not a given) in order to get more time to submit scanned copies of a test is like wearing lifters in your shoes in order to reach the pedals instead of sliding your seat forward. Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 0:29
  • @AzorAhai-him- ok, once again, I agree, but I was simply answering the literal question being asked. The question was not “should I seek to get diagnosed as suffering from anxiety in order to get extended time on exams” but “is there a way I can legally get extended time”. Yes, there is (in theory) a way, and I described what it is. Thanks for the +1 in any case.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 3:12
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    Sure, but we often answer the implied question, not the literal one. I would just hate to see an already flustered student spend time with disability services -- instead of addressing the actual issue -- when that's not the right approach for the scenario as described. Telling the dept a prof isn't teaching well is intimidating, and trying disability services could seem easier, but ultimately is most likely not fruitful for this situation. Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 3:37

I'm an undergrad student as well and this type of quizzes have become very familiar over the past year. Giving yourself 2 mins time for the scanning is not enough. I (and my friends in uni) start scanning about 5 mins earlier.

Of course, the problem here is that your professor gives you a 50-minute quiz but sends the question paper late, expects you to print it and then scan it all within the time that is allotted to you for actually answering the quiz.

If the professor has accounted for all this extra work in the 50 mins time limit itself, then there are two possibilities:

  • If everyone in class is struggling to submit the quiz on time, I think you should all collectively let him know that the time is not enough, and you should ask him for an extra 5-10 minutes for the scan-upload process.
  • If other students are able to submit it on time, but you are unable to do so, you should follow Dan Romik's answer and get extended time based on exam anxiety issues. However, I believe this is country dependent. My own country does not have any such accommodations but I hope you get them.

If your professor has not accounted for all the extra work in the 50 minutes time slot i.e. it takes 50 minutes to just answer the questions and not all the other printing and scanning stuff, then it would be very surprising if your classmates are able to manage the time well. In such a situation, you all will be struggling. Make sure to collectively, as a class, request for an extra 5-10 minutes for the print-scan-upload aspect of the quiz. My uni does this (and I suspect many others as well).

Overall, in the unfortunate situation that your professor does not show leeway and provide extra time, make sure to start scanning 5 minutes before the quiz is due. Missing one or two questions is better than getting a zero on the quiz.

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    The last paragraph is really the key to minimize the damage when all else fails. Commented Mar 21, 2021 at 9:06

While this is an unusual way to conduct quizzes in an academic environment, it is letting you practice some new skills in time management and risk management, so I do not share the strong opposition of others to the practice. I also think that academics should have wide latitude to set the rules of their assessments, and while it's not how I would do things, I think this probably falls within the scope of reasonable discretion. (Whilst there may be some "tech cluelessness" at play here, as Dan notes in his answer, I disagree with his strong negative view of the practice.) I also note that the constraints seem to be the same for all students, so presumably other students are also having to manage the time required to download the quiz and upload their answers. This effectively just means that the total time available for the substance of the quiz is reduced for all students.

In any case, in view of the difficulties you are experiencing, I would encourage you to form a realistic view of the constraints you are under, and formulate sensible risk-management processes as a response to these constraints. Here you have a situation where there is a variable time cost for obtaining the quiz and for submission, neither of which you can perfectly predict in advance. There is also an extremely heavy penalty for late submission. That set of constraints means that a good risk-management process would be to give yourself a substantial "buffer" (e.g., five minutes) by submitting your quiz early, even if the quality of your submission is poorer than it would have been if you worked a few more minutes on it. Giving yourself a time buffer will give you some additional time for uploading if things go wrong, which reduces the probability of failure to submit within the allocated time. From a risk-management perspective, the "buffer" method reduces the quality of your submitted work slightly, in order to substantially reduce the risk of getting zero on the assessment. If the buffer is set to a reasonable level, this should give you a higher aggregate mark.

While it is unfortunate that you have already lost some marks on this, it tells you something useful: your time management and risk management skills are presently not good. Risk management and time management skills are important to develop during your education, so I think you have an opportunity here to identify a deficiency in your skills and work to plug it. For your next quiz, set yourself a buffer of five minutes, and aim to successfully submit your work no later than 1:45pm. If you can accomplish this, then set a goal to submit all future quizzes successfully within the time constraint, using whatever buffer you judge to be prudent. If you can look back at the end of semester and see that you managed to improve your time management and risk management on this process substantially then you will have formed a useful skill for your later career, which is something that will be useful, and of which you can be very proud.

Now, to deal with your main question, you can certainly seek additional time if you like, and there are usually formal university procedures for doing so. You will need a justification for your request, and the mere fact that you are under a difficult time constraint that also applies to other students would not suffice. Also, negative consequences to your "mental health" (by which you mean, essentially, that you are experiencing stress) caused by the existence of a tight deadline and your poor time management of that deadline, is highly unlikely to give you a valid disability claim. Based on your question, I see no valid grounds that would justify offering you a time increase. In any case, I would encourage you to try to adopt better practices here rather than seeking extra time --- give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


Your TA wants you should give the exam before 1:50 pm on time. I think he wants that because of discipline , sincerity and maybe you don’t cheat after 1:50 pm.

I understand your problem and I also do have the same thing going on. I have to submit my maths test daily which is from 9:30 to 10:00 pm .It’s all because of online studies.I think the best approach is to :

  1. Talk to your classmates as to how they are dealing with this.

  2. Talk to your teacher and ask for help , guidance. Tell him the problems. Ask for better solutions. Tell him your ideas. He may help you or even maybe give some extra time to everyone or change the pattern. If you’re afraid to talk to your teacher , then remember no matter what , you can’t lose marks right. If you ask , it will also help in building up a bond and they’ll also give you attention.

  3. Always check before if the email is working or not properly. Also , if you’re going to try iPad notes or whatever. Just send one file maybe to your friend or family to be on safe side that everything do works.

  4. If you fear any problems may occur , then give the exam maybe even at 1:45 or 46 pm. It is better to get Sth than 0.

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