Preparing to Apply for Accommodations

How do I know if I need accommodated testing?

We encourage that you review the MCAT Essentials guide (link) and the MCAT Accommodation Services web page to better understand standard testing conditions and usability features (link to Module 1), prior to applying for accommodations.

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?

We encourage that you review the MCAT Essentials guide (link) and the MCAT Accommodation Services web page to better understand standard testing conditions and usability features (link to Module 1), prior to applying for accommodations.

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?

Examples of conditions that may qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD
  • Psychiatric (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Sensory impairments (i.e., vision or hearing impairment)
  • Physical impairments (e.g., Crohn’s disease, pain due to a physical condition or injury, etc.)

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

  • A broken leg
  • Nursing mothers

Please note that not all disorders or conditions require testing accommodations. A determination regarding the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam is based on a comprehensive review of all available documentation, including evidence of diagnosis, current impairment and associated functional limitations, particularly as they relate to the demands of the current MCAT exam.

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

Examples of conditions that may qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD
  • Psychiatric (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Sensory impairments (i.e., vision or hearing impairment)
  • Physical impairments (e.g., Crohn’s disease, pain due to a physical condition or injury, etc.)

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

  • A broken leg
  • Nursing mothers

Please note that not all disorders or conditions require testing accommodations. A determination regarding the need for accommodations on the MCAT exam is based on a comprehensive review of all available documentation, including evidence of diagnosis, current impairment and associated functional limitations, particularly as they relate to the demands of the current MCAT exam.

What kinds of accommodations are available?

Some examinees with disabilities may qualify for accommodations such as extended testing time or additional break time. Individuals with physical or mobility impairments may need such accommodations as an adjustable-height workstation or an adaptive mouse. Individuals with visual impairments may need text enlargement.

Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and do not represent all of the accommodations that may be available for the exam. You should submit a request for the accommodation(s) that you and your qualified professional believe are necessary for you to take the exam in an accessible manner.

It is important to remember that each request for accommodations is considered on an individual basis; 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 testing time or additional break time. Individuals with physical or mobility impairments may need such accommodations as an adjustable-height workstation or an adaptive mouse. Individuals with visual impairments may need text enlargement.

Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and do not represent all of the accommodations that may be available for the exam. You should submit a request for the accommodation(s) that you and your qualified professional believe are necessary for you to take the exam in an accessible manner.

It is important to remember that each request for accommodations is considered on an individual basis; 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?

Practice test scores, in and of themselves, are not sufficient to support the need for accommodations, in part, 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?

Practice test scores, in and of themselves, are not sufficient to support the need for accommodations, in part, because they are not taken under standardized conditions.

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 disability or impairment for which you are seeking accommodations. The professional should have comprehensive training and experience in the assessment and diagnosis of the disability or impairment in question. Simply having a particular degree or license does not necessarily mean that the professional has the training and experience in the appropriate area that is required for your assessment. Qualified professionals/evaluators should act in accordance with relevant state board regulations and laws that may be applicable to them in their practice. Please note that qualified professionals/evaluators should be independent (i.e., not relatives or employers of the applicant, even if other otherwise qualified) and should have personally evaluated you.

 

Please keep in mind that the most appropriate professional to evaluate your current functional limitations may not be in the area of your diagnosis. For example, if your visual disability results in an impairment affecting your ability to read (e.g., you read slowly), your documentation should include an objective assessment of your reading abilities performed by a professional with training and expertise in that area rather than an optometrist or ophthalmologist. As another example, you may have sustained a traumatic brain injury that results in an impairment in your physical functioning (e.g., increased fatigue or headaches when working for prolonged periods) as well as an impairment in your cognitive functioning (e.g., slowed cognitive processing). In this case, a qualified medical professional would evaluate your physical functioning while a professional with training and expertise in the assessment of cognitive functioning (e.g., neuropsychologist) should evaluate the impact of your injury on your cognitive functioning.

 

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 and psychoeducational tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability and impairment 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 a qualified professional. If the individual completing the evaluation is not an independent, licensed clinician/professional (e.g., graduate student clinician), a copy of the supervising clinician’s/professional’s vita should be submitted for review with the evaluation.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 you have a disability or medical condition that you believe requires an adjustment to standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for accommodations. 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. 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.

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 disability or impairment for which you are seeking accommodations. The professional should have comprehensive training and experience in the assessment and diagnosis of the disability or impairment in question. Simply having a particular degree or license does not necessarily mean that the professional has the training and experience in the appropriate area that is required for your assessment. Qualified professionals/evaluators should act in accordance with relevant state board regulations and laws that may be applicable to them in their practice. Please note that qualified professionals/evaluators should be independent (i.e., not relatives or employers of the applicant, even if other otherwise qualified) and should have personally evaluated you.

 

Please keep in mind that the most appropriate professional to evaluate your current functional limitations may not be in the area of your diagnosis. For example, if your visual disability results in an impairment affecting your ability to read (e.g., you read slowly), your documentation should include an objective assessment of your reading abilities performed by a professional with training and expertise in that area rather than an optometrist or ophthalmologist. As another example, you may have sustained a traumatic brain injury that results in an impairment in your physical functioning (e.g., increased fatigue or headaches when working for prolonged periods) as well as an impairment in your cognitive functioning (e.g., slowed cognitive processing). In this case, a qualified medical professional would evaluate your physical functioning while a professional with training and expertise in the assessment of cognitive functioning (e.g., neuropsychologist) should evaluate the impact of your injury on your cognitive functioning.

 

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 and psychoeducational tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability and impairment 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 a qualified professional. If the individual completing the evaluation is not an independent, licensed clinician/professional (e.g., graduate student clinician), a copy of the supervising clinician’s/professional’s vita should be submitted for review with the evaluation.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 you have a disability or medical condition that you believe requires an adjustment to standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for accommodations. 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. 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.

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 with all the necessary supporting documentation, and no later than 60 days prior to the Silver Zone Deadline associated with your test date. Reconsideration, Appeal and Extension requests should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to Silver Zone Deadline associated with your test date. See our Review Cycles and Important Dates 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 with all the necessary supporting documentation, and no later than 60 days prior to the Silver Zone Deadline associated with your test date. Reconsideration, Appeal and Extension requests should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to Silver Zone Deadline associated with your test date. See our Review Cycles and Important Dates page to help you submit your request in a timely manner.

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

Most Initial applications for accommodations will be reviewed within 60 days of submission of a complete application. Reconsiderations, Appeals and Extensions will generally be reviewed within 30 days of submission of a complete application. Submitting an incomplete application may increase this time frame, so make sure to read our Applying for Accommodations page before submitting your application.

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

Most Initial applications for accommodations will be reviewed within 60 days of submission of a complete application. Reconsiderations, Appeals and Extensions will generally be reviewed within 30 days of submission of a complete application. Submitting an incomplete application may increase this time frame, so make sure to read our Applying for Accommodations page before submitting your application.

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 documentation of previous accommodations is an important component within your application; however, the remaining documentation you submit must also substantiate your 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 documentation of previous accommodations is an important component within your application; however, the remaining documentation you submit must also substantiate your 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 you experience may change over time and across settings and tasks.  When reviewing your request for accommodations, we need to understand the current impact of your condition on your functioning, including test-taking, and as it relates to the demands of the MCAT exam. Please see our Apply for Accommodations page (Insert page link) for additional information regarding the currency requirements associated with 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 you experience may change over time and across settings and tasks.  When reviewing your request for accommodations, we need to understand the current impact of your condition on your functioning, including test-taking, and as it relates to the demands of the MCAT exam. Please see our Apply for Accommodations page (Insert page link) for additional information regarding the currency requirements associated with 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 examinees seeking testing accommodations for the MCAT exam to apply, submit, and track the status of their applications.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 examinees seeking testing accommodations for the MCAT exam to apply, submit, and track the status of their applications.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 must submit your Initial request for accommodations using MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

If you are submitting a Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension request, you will need to mail your application to us. Please review the After You’ve Received an Initial Determination page for additional information on Reconsiderations, Appeals, and Extensions. Although you will need to mail your application to us, your determination letter will be made available electronically via MAO.

 

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

You must submit your Initial request for accommodations using MCAT Accommodations Online (MAO).

If you are submitting a Reconsideration, Appeal, or Extension request, you will need to mail your application to us. Please review the After You’ve Received an Initial Determination page for additional information on Reconsiderations, Appeals, and Extensions. Although you will need to mail your application to us, your determination 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).

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).

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 we recommend keeping a copy of all of your documents for your records.

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 we recommend keeping a copy of all of your documents for your records.

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.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.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 and will be given instructions on how to schedule your MCAT exam with your approved accommodations.

We also encourage you to review the Registration and Scheduling with Accommodations section of our website.

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 and will be given instructions on how to schedule your MCAT exam with your approved accommodations.

We also encourage you to review the Registration and Scheduling with Accommodations section of our website.

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 2017 testing year, they will remain valid until the end of the 2018 testing year. It is important to note that this is a general rule and may not apply in all cases; your determination letter will indicate the authorization period for 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 2017 testing year, they will remain valid until the end of the 2018 testing year. It is important to note that this is a general rule and may not apply in all cases; your determination letter will indicate the authorization period for 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 the Extension form. Make sure the documentation we have on file for you is still current before mailing your request form.

For more information on submitting an Extension, see our After You’ve Received an Initial Determination 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 the Extension form. Make sure the documentation we have on file for you is still current before mailing your request form.

For more information on submitting an Extension, see our After You’ve Received an Initial Determination 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 determination letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. Your determination letter will outline the specific information that is missing from your application and necessary to review your request.

Keep in mind that submitting an incomplete application will delay your application’s review cycle and could prevent you from testing with accommodations on your preferred test date. We strongly encourage you to carefully review the Applying for Accommodations page to view 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 determination letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. Your determination letter will outline the specific information that is missing from your application and necessary to review your request.

Keep in mind that submitting an incomplete application will delay your application’s review cycle and could prevent you from testing with accommodations on your preferred test date. We strongly encourage you to carefully review the Applying for Accommodations page to view 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 not approved you will receive an email notifying you that a determination letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. Your determination letter will include an explanation of our decision, as well as options for requesting a re-review of your request. Please see the After You’ve Received an Initial Determination 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 not approved you will receive an email notifying you that a determination letter is available in MCAT Accommodations Online. Your determination letter will include an explanation of our decision, as well as options for requesting a re-review of your request. Please see the After You’ve Received an Initial Determination page for more information on your options for further review.

Information for Evaluators

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 or impairment in question (include link to FAQ above if moved to a different section). 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 and psychoeducational tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability and impairment 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 a qualified professional. If the individual completing the evaluation is not an independent, licensed clinician/professional (e.g., graduate student clinician), a copy of the supervising clinician’s/professional’s vita should be submitted for review with the evaluation.

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 or impairment in question (include link to FAQ above if moved to a different section). 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 and psychoeducational tests but also the interpretation of those tests and the identification of the disability and impairment 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 a qualified professional. If the individual completing the evaluation is not an independent, licensed clinician/professional (e.g., graduate student clinician), a copy of the supervising clinician’s/professional’s vita should be submitted for review with the evaluation.

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 and the use of age norms whenever possible.  The choice of which particular tests are used to assess the various areas of functioning is left to the discretion and clinical judgment of each evaluator.  Please see our Evaluation Requirements for additional information regarding the documentation requirements for each type of disability/impairment.

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 and the use of age norms whenever possible.  The choice of which particular tests are used to assess the various areas of functioning is left to the discretion and clinical judgment of each evaluator.  Please see our Evaluation Requirements for additional information regarding the documentation requirements for each type of disability/impairment.

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

If you have a question about our evaluation requirements, the process for documenting an impairment, or the determination for a specific examinee, please write to accommodations@aamc.org. Please note that an Authorization to Release Health Information is needed on file for us to speak to you about the specifics of a particular case. The form is not needed for general questions about the MCAT Accommodations program or the application process.

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

If you have a question about our evaluation requirements, the process for documenting an impairment, or the determination for a specific examinee, please write to accommodations@aamc.org. Please note that an Authorization to Release Health Information is needed on file for us to speak to you about the specifics of a particular case. The form is not needed for general questions about the MCAT Accommodations program or the application process.