Get answers to frequently asked questions about applying for accommodated MCAT® testing.
Preparing to Apply for Accommodations
How do I know if I need accommodated testing?
Before applying for accommodations, we recommend you review the MCAT Essentials and the MCAT Accommodation Services webpages to better understand the structure and format of the exam and the standard testing conditions. This will assist you in determining what accommodations you may need.
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:
Psychiatric (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.).
Sensory impairments (i.e., vision or hearing impairment).
Physical or medical impairments (e.g., Crohn’s disease, pain due to a physical condition or injury, etc.).
Individuals with temporary medical conditions may also qualify for accommodations. Examples include:
A broken leg.
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. Those with visual impairments may require 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.
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.
Are you a veteran requesting accommodations?
Many applicants who are veterans will seek documentation from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) which has documentation systems and processes that differ from those of civilian health professionals and institutions. As a result of differences in the way documentation is obtained from the VA, some veteran applicants have experienced delays in accessing testing or assessments. This delay sometimes impacts the process for obtaining accommodations on the MCAT exam. We developed this guide to help veterans who use the VA navigate this process efficiently and effectively.
Are there options for lower-cost evaluations?
MCAT Accommodation Services recognizes that there is a cost associated with obtaining a comprehensive evaluation. If you are seeking a lower-cost evaluation for LD or ADHD, a university-based testing clinic may be able to provide you with this service. Search the low-cost evaluation options table to find a clinic near you. You may also wish to consult with your healthcare provider and/or your state psychological association for assistance finding and evaluator.