Preparing to Apply for Accommodations

How do I know if I need accommodated testing?

If you have a disability or medical condition that you believe requires an adjustment to standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for accommodations.

How do I know if I need accommodated testing?

If you have a disability or medical condition that you believe requires an adjustment to standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for accommodations.

What types of conditions or impairments might need to be accommodated?

The most common conditions requiring accommodations are disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD
  • Emotional disorders such as major depression or anxiety
  • Visual impairments
  • Physical impairments

Some chronic medical conditions may also require a change to standard testing conditions. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic, severe back pain due to an injury or illness

Some individuals may qualify for accommodations if they have a temporary medical condition requiring a change to standard testing conditions. Examples include:

  • A broken leg
  • Pregnancy

Not all disorders or conditions require testing accommodations. A determination on the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam is based on a comprehensive review of all available documentation, including evidence of the diagnosis and associated functional limitations.

What types of conditions or impairments might need to be accommodated?

The most common conditions requiring accommodations are disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD
  • Emotional disorders such as major depression or anxiety
  • Visual impairments
  • Physical impairments

Some chronic medical conditions may also require a change to standard testing conditions. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic, severe back pain due to an injury or illness

Some individuals may qualify for accommodations if they have a temporary medical condition requiring a change to standard testing conditions. Examples include:

  • A broken leg
  • Pregnancy

Not all disorders or conditions require testing accommodations. A determination on the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam is based on a comprehensive review of all available documentation, including evidence of the diagnosis and associated functional limitations.

What kinds of accommodations are available?

Some examinees with disabilities may qualify for accommodations such as extended time or stop-the-clock breaks. Individuals with physical or mobility impairments may need such accommodations as an adjustable-height workstation or a different kind of mouse. Individuals with visual impairments may need text enlargement. It is important to remember that each request for accommodations is reviewed on an individual basis, and examinees who are found to be eligible for accommodations are given the accommodations that are most appropriate for their individual needs.

What kinds of accommodations are available?

Some examinees with disabilities may qualify for accommodations such as extended time or stop-the-clock breaks. Individuals with physical or mobility impairments may need such accommodations as an adjustable-height workstation or a different kind of mouse. Individuals with visual impairments may need text enlargement. It is important to remember that each request for accommodations is reviewed on an individual basis, and examinees who are found to be eligible for accommodations are given the accommodations that are most appropriate for their individual needs.

If I have completed practice tests with accommodations, can I use the results as evidence for the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam?

No. Practice test scores will not be considered as evidence of a need for accommodations because they are not taken under standardized conditions.

If I have completed practice tests with accommodations, can I use the results as evidence for the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam?

No. Practice test scores will not be considered as evidence of a need for accommodations because they are not taken under standardized conditions.

I need to bring an item into the testing room for medical reasons. Do I need to apply for accommodations?

Yes. In general, you may not bring personal items other than your ID into the testing room. Noise reduction headsets, scratch paper, and pencils will be available to all examinees at the test center.

If you believe you need a personal medical item in the testing room, and you are not requesting any additional accommodations, you will need to submit a request no less than 30 days prior to the Silver Zone deadline associated with your MCAT exam date. Examples of personal medical items include:

 

  • Medication
  • An insulin pump
  • A cast
  • An inhaler
  • Food or beverage

Documentation submitted in support of your request should consist of a detailed letter from your physician, on letterhead, explaining the rationale for the requested accommodations.

I need to bring an item into the testing room for medical reasons. Do I need to apply for accommodations?

Yes. In general, you may not bring personal items other than your ID into the testing room. Noise reduction headsets, scratch paper, and pencils will be available to all examinees at the test center.

If you believe you need a personal medical item in the testing room, and you are not requesting any additional accommodations, you will need to submit a request no less than 30 days prior to the Silver Zone deadline associated with your MCAT exam date. Examples of personal medical items include:

 

  • Medication
  • An insulin pump
  • A cast
  • An inhaler
  • Food or beverage

Documentation submitted in support of your request should consist of a detailed letter from your physician, on letterhead, explaining the rationale for the requested accommodations.

Accommodations Review Process

When should I submit my request for accommodations?

We highly recommend that you submit your application as soon as it is complete and you have assembled all necessary supporting documentation, and no later than 60 days prior to the Silver Zone deadline associated with your test date. See our Application Time Frames and Types page to help you submit your request in a timely manner.

When should I submit my request for accommodations?

We highly recommend that you submit your application as soon as it is complete and you have assembled all necessary supporting documentation, and no later than 60 days prior to the Silver Zone deadline associated with your test date. See our Application Time Frames and Types page to help you submit your request in a timely manner.

How long will it take to review my request for accommodations?

Most initial requests for accommodations will be reviewed within 60 days of submission of a complete application. Submitting an incomplete application may increase this time frame, so make sure to read the posted Application Requirements before submitting your application.

How long will it take to review my request for accommodations?

Most initial requests for accommodations will be reviewed within 60 days of submission of a complete application. Submitting an incomplete application may increase this time frame, so make sure to read the posted Application Requirements before submitting your application.

Who will review my request for accommodations?

Your request for accommodations and supporting documentation will be reviewed by a professional with expertise in the field associated with your impairment.

 

In some cases, we may not have a professional on-staff who is qualified to review an individual’s request for accommodations. We therefore reserve the right to appoint a qualified external reviewer to assist with the evaluation of that request.

 

All documentation submitted in support of a request for accommodations is strictly confidential.

Who will review my request for accommodations?

Your request for accommodations and supporting documentation will be reviewed by a professional with expertise in the field associated with your impairment.

 

In some cases, we may not have a professional on-staff who is qualified to review an individual’s request for accommodations. We therefore reserve the right to appoint a qualified external reviewer to assist with the evaluation of that request.

 

All documentation submitted in support of a request for accommodations is strictly confidential.

I received accommodations in the past. Is this sufficient for demonstrating my need for accommodations on the MCAT exam?

Your history of accommodations will be given considerable weight, and verification of these previous accommodations is an important component of your application; however, the other documentation you submit must also substantiate the current need for accommodations on the MCAT exam. Keep in mind that policies and procedures for establishing eligibility for accommodations may differ across settings and contexts (e.g., high school, college, high-stakes standardized tests).

I received accommodations in the past. Is this sufficient for demonstrating my need for accommodations on the MCAT exam?

Your history of accommodations will be given considerable weight, and verification of these previous accommodations is an important component of your application; however, the other documentation you submit must also substantiate the current need for accommodations on the MCAT exam. Keep in mind that policies and procedures for establishing eligibility for accommodations may differ across settings and contexts (e.g., high school, college, high-stakes standardized tests).

My disability is considered to be lifelong. Why does my documentation have to be “current”?

While you may have been diagnosed with a permanent or lifelong condition, the manifestation of your condition and the associated functional limitations may change over time and across settings and tasks.  In reviewing your request for accommodations, we need to evaluate the current impact of your condition on test-taking. The Evaluation Requirements provide additional information currency requirements for each type of disability/impairment.

My disability is considered to be lifelong. Why does my documentation have to be “current”?

While you may have been diagnosed with a permanent or lifelong condition, the manifestation of your condition and the associated functional limitations may change over time and across settings and tasks.  In reviewing your request for accommodations, we need to evaluate the current impact of your condition on test-taking. The Evaluation Requirements provide additional information currency requirements for each type of disability/impairment.

MCAT Accommodations Online Application

What is MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO)?

MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO) is a web-based application system that allows students seeking testing accommodations for the MCAT exam to apply, submit, and track the status of their applications.

What is MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO)?

MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO) is a web-based application system that allows students seeking testing accommodations for the MCAT exam to apply, submit, and track the status of their applications.

What types of applications can I submit with MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO)?

You should submit your initial request for accommodations using MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

If you are submitting a Request for Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension, you will need to mail your request to us. Please review the Application Time Frames & Types page for additional information on Requests for Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension. Although you will need to mail your request to us, your decision letter will be made available electronically via MAO.

 

What types of applications can I submit with MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO)?

You should submit your initial request for accommodations using MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

If you are submitting a Request for Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension, you will need to mail your request to us. Please review the Application Time Frames & Types page for additional information on Requests for Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension. Although you will need to mail your request to us, your decision letter will be made available electronically via MAO.

 

How will I know when a determination on my request has been made?

You can view your application’s current status and history by logging into MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

 

Once we reach a determination on your request, you will receive a notification email prompting you to log in to MAO. A decision letter will be available in the Correspondence section of the MAO main page.

How will I know when a determination on my request has been made?

You can view your application’s current status and history by logging into MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

 

Once we reach a determination on your request, you will receive a notification email prompting you to log in to MAO. A decision letter will be available in the Correspondence section of the MAO main page.

Can I view my documents after I submit my application?

No, you will not be able to view your uploaded documents after you submit your application. You can, however, view a summary of your application, including document titles and file names, by clicking the “View Your Submitted Application” link on the MAO main page. For this reason, we encourage you to be detailed and descriptive when naming your files when you upload them.

 

Documentation submitted in support of your request for accommodations will not be returned, so make sure to keep a copy of all of your documents.

Can I view my documents after I submit my application?

No, you will not be able to view your uploaded documents after you submit your application. You can, however, view a summary of your application, including document titles and file names, by clicking the “View Your Submitted Application” link on the MAO main page. For this reason, we encourage you to be detailed and descriptive when naming your files when you upload them.

 

Documentation submitted in support of your request for accommodations will not be returned, so make sure to keep a copy of all of your documents.

What type of files can I upload with my application for accommodations?

The MCAT Accommodations Online System (MAO) can only accept PDF files. If you are unable to view PDF files, you can download Adobe Reader for free.

What type of files can I upload with my application for accommodations?

The MCAT Accommodations Online System (MAO) can only accept PDF files. If you are unable to view PDF files, you can download Adobe Reader for free.

Approved Accommodations

My request has been approved. What’s next?

If you are approved for an accommodation on the MCAT exam, you will be notified in writing. You will be given instructions on how to confirm your special arrangements and finalize your accommodations.

My request has been approved. What’s next?

If you are approved for an accommodation on the MCAT exam, you will be notified in writing. You will be given instructions on how to confirm your special arrangements and finalize your accommodations.

How long are approved accommodations valid?

Generally, approved accommodations are valid until the close of the following testing year. For example, if your accommodations are approved during the 2016 testing year, they will remain valid until the end of the 2017 testing year. It is important to note that this general rule does not apply in all cases; your decision letter will indicate the expiration date of your accommodations.

How long are approved accommodations valid?

Generally, approved accommodations are valid until the close of the following testing year. For example, if your accommodations are approved during the 2016 testing year, they will remain valid until the end of the 2017 testing year. It is important to note that this general rule does not apply in all cases; your decision letter will indicate the expiration date of your accommodations.

How can I practice for the MCAT exam with my accommodations?

If you are preparing for the MCAT® Exam and you are approved for accommodations, our preparation materials offer many features to help you as you prepare for test day. All of our online products offer customization, including extended time, stop-the-clock breaks, and Zoom Text®. Additionally, if you are approved for a paper exam, you can receive a printed version of both the Official MCAT® Practice Exam 1 and the Official MCAT® Sample Test. For visually impaired examinees, Braille and JAWS versions of the Official MCAT® Practice Exam 1 and the Official MCAT® Sample Test are available.

How can I practice for the MCAT exam with my accommodations?

If you are preparing for the MCAT® Exam and you are approved for accommodations, our preparation materials offer many features to help you as you prepare for test day. All of our online products offer customization, including extended time, stop-the-clock breaks, and Zoom Text®. Additionally, if you are approved for a paper exam, you can receive a printed version of both the Official MCAT® Practice Exam 1 and the Official MCAT® Sample Test. For visually impaired examinees, Braille and JAWS versions of the Official MCAT® Practice Exam 1 and the Official MCAT® Sample Test are available.

How is the score of a non-standard MCAT exam reported?

The scores resulting from non-standard exam administrations are identical to scores from standard administrations. The AAMC does not annotate scores resulting from non-standard administrations of the MCAT exam.

How is the score of a non-standard MCAT exam reported?

The scores resulting from non-standard exam administrations are identical to scores from standard administrations. The AAMC does not annotate scores resulting from non-standard administrations of the MCAT exam.

I would like to test again, but my accommodations have expired. How can I request an extension?

To request an extension of your previously approved accommodations, complete and return a Request for Extension form. Make sure the documentation we have on file for you are still current before mailing your request form.

For more information on requesting an extension, see our Application Time Frames and Types page.

I would like to test again, but my accommodations have expired. How can I request an extension?

To request an extension of your previously approved accommodations, complete and return a Request for Extension form. Make sure the documentation we have on file for you are still current before mailing your request form.

For more information on requesting an extension, see our Application Time Frames and Types page.

Incomplete or Denied Decisions

What happens if my application is incomplete?

In some instances, the documentation submitted in support of an application is not sufficient for us to fully evaluate the request for accommodations. In these cases, the application is considered incomplete.

If your application is determined to be incomplete, you will receive an email notifying you that a decision letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. This decision letter will include the specific information that we are requesting.

Submitting an incomplete application may delay your application’s review period and could prevent you from testing on your preferred test date with accommodations. We strongly encourage you to carefully review the Application Requirements associated with your request before you submit your application.

What happens if my application is incomplete?

In some instances, the documentation submitted in support of an application is not sufficient for us to fully evaluate the request for accommodations. In these cases, the application is considered incomplete.

If your application is determined to be incomplete, you will receive an email notifying you that a decision letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. This decision letter will include the specific information that we are requesting.

Submitting an incomplete application may delay your application’s review period and could prevent you from testing on your preferred test date with accommodations. We strongly encourage you to carefully review the Application Requirements associated with your request before you submit your application.

What happens if my application for accommodations is denied?

If your application for accommodations is denied, you will receive an email notifying you that a decision letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. This decision letter will include an explanation of our decision, as well as options for requesting further review. Please see the Application Time Frames and Types page for more information on your options for further review.

What happens if my application for accommodations is denied?

If your application for accommodations is denied, you will receive an email notifying you that a decision letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. This decision letter will include an explanation of our decision, as well as options for requesting further review. Please see the Application Time Frames and Types page for more information on your options for further review.

Information for Evaluators

Who can perform the evaluations that are required for documenting a disability

The AAMC requires that evaluations be performed by a qualified professional in the area of the disability in question.  In the case of physical disability, this would be a qualified medical professional; who has personally evaluated and examined the applicant.

In the case of vision impairment, this would be an optometrist or ophthalmologist; who has personally evaluated and examined the applicant.

In the case of learning disabilities, ADHD and psychiatric disorders, an individual is deemed qualified if he/she has had extensive graduate level training in the area of assessment in question (e.g., LD, ADHD, psychiatric/psychological disorders, etc.).  This includes training and experience not only in the administration of psychological tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability in question.   Very often this person will be a doctoral level psychologist or neuropsychologist although a doctoral degree is not necessarily required to be considered qualified. 

Simply having a particular degree or license does not automatically mean that the individual has sufficient training and experience in the area of disability.  Evaluators should also keep in mind the relevant state board regulations and laws that may be applicable to them in their practice.

Diagnoses and documentation provided by family members, even if otherwise qualified, will not be accepted.

Who can perform the evaluations that are required for documenting a disability

The AAMC requires that evaluations be performed by a qualified professional in the area of the disability in question.  In the case of physical disability, this would be a qualified medical professional; who has personally evaluated and examined the applicant.

In the case of vision impairment, this would be an optometrist or ophthalmologist; who has personally evaluated and examined the applicant.

In the case of learning disabilities, ADHD and psychiatric disorders, an individual is deemed qualified if he/she has had extensive graduate level training in the area of assessment in question (e.g., LD, ADHD, psychiatric/psychological disorders, etc.).  This includes training and experience not only in the administration of psychological tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability in question.   Very often this person will be a doctoral level psychologist or neuropsychologist although a doctoral degree is not necessarily required to be considered qualified. 

Simply having a particular degree or license does not automatically mean that the individual has sufficient training and experience in the area of disability.  Evaluators should also keep in mind the relevant state board regulations and laws that may be applicable to them in their practice.

Diagnoses and documentation provided by family members, even if otherwise qualified, will not be accepted.

Is a doctoral degree required for the documentation of learning disabilities and ADHD?

The AAMC requires that evaluations be performed by a qualified professional in the area of the disability in question.

In the case of learning disabilities, ADHD and psychiatric disorders, an individual is deemed qualified if he/she has had extensive graduate level training in the area of assessment in question (e.g., LD, ADHD, psychiatric/psychological disorders, etc.).  This includes training and experience not only in the administration of psychological tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability in question. 

Very often this person will be a doctoral level psychologist or neuropsychologist although a doctoral degree is not necessarily required to be considered qualified.  Simply having a particular degree or license does not automatically mean that the individual has sufficient training and experience in the area of disability.  Evaluators should also keep in mind the relevant state laws and regulations that may be applicable to them in their practice.

In addition to the supporting evaluation, pre-doctoral evaluators should submit the following form:

Is a doctoral degree required for the documentation of learning disabilities and ADHD?

The AAMC requires that evaluations be performed by a qualified professional in the area of the disability in question.

In the case of learning disabilities, ADHD and psychiatric disorders, an individual is deemed qualified if he/she has had extensive graduate level training in the area of assessment in question (e.g., LD, ADHD, psychiatric/psychological disorders, etc.).  This includes training and experience not only in the administration of psychological tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability in question. 

Very often this person will be a doctoral level psychologist or neuropsychologist although a doctoral degree is not necessarily required to be considered qualified.  Simply having a particular degree or license does not automatically mean that the individual has sufficient training and experience in the area of disability.  Evaluators should also keep in mind the relevant state laws and regulations that may be applicable to them in their practice.

In addition to the supporting evaluation, pre-doctoral evaluators should submit the following form:

Does the AAMC require that the use of specific tests to document learning disabilities, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders?

The AAMC does not require specific tests to document learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or psychiatric disorders.  However, we do require the assessment of specific aspects of functioning (e.g., cognitive ability, academic achievement, emotional functioning) as part of the required comprehensive evaluation.  The choice of which particular tests are used to assess the different areas of functioning is left to the discretion and clinical judgment of each evaluator.  Additional information regarding evaluation/documentation requirements for each type of disability is available for both the evaluator and the applicant.

Does the AAMC require that the use of specific tests to document learning disabilities, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders?

The AAMC does not require specific tests to document learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or psychiatric disorders.  However, we do require the assessment of specific aspects of functioning (e.g., cognitive ability, academic achievement, emotional functioning) as part of the required comprehensive evaluation.  The choice of which particular tests are used to assess the different areas of functioning is left to the discretion and clinical judgment of each evaluator.  Additional information regarding evaluation/documentation requirements for each type of disability is available for both the evaluator and the applicant.

What if I have a technical question or a question about an examinee I am evaluating?

If you have a question about the Evaluation Requirements or a decision for a specific examinee, please write to accommodations@aamc.org. Please make sure we have an Authorization to Release Health Information on file so that we can respond to your inquiry.

Evaluators with technical questions (not pertaining to specific clients) about the process for documenting a disability should send an e-mail to docreview@aamc.org.

What if I have a technical question or a question about an examinee I am evaluating?

If you have a question about the Evaluation Requirements or a decision for a specific examinee, please write to accommodations@aamc.org. Please make sure we have an Authorization to Release Health Information on file so that we can respond to your inquiry.

Evaluators with technical questions (not pertaining to specific clients) about the process for documenting a disability should send an e-mail to docreview@aamc.org.