Requesting MCAT Special Accommodations & Extended Testing Time | MedSchoolCoach

Requesting MCAT Special Accommodations & Extended Testing Time


Posted in: MCAT

The MCAT is a difficult test as is, but for many students who have disabilities, health conditions, and impairments, achieving the MCAT score they want can be even more difficult. Fortunately, the AAMC provides different special accommodations depending on the needs of the student. However, the process to apply for accommodations includes several steps, including medical evaluations as well as a detailed application, for approval. The most commonly asked for accommodation is extra time on the MCAT.

Why does the AAMC give special accommodations for the MCAT?

Medicine is ever in need of increasing diversity in all forms. This includes students and future physicians with disabilities. AAMC acknowledges this and offers the ability for students on a case-by-case basis to apply for extra MCAT time.

While the process can be long, and that is especially true if you are also applying to medical school concurrently as the timelines for the medical school application process and MCAT dates overlap, a study schedule planned ahead of time should give you plenty of time to apply for accommodations.

The specific dates that you are required to apply for accommodations are laid out in the table at the end of this page.

What medical conditions qualify for special MCAT accommodations?

  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Psychiatric condition
  • Sensory impairment (such as a hearing or vision issues)
  • Physical impairment (including diseases or long-term illnesses)
  • Temporary medical conditions that necessitate an adjustment to testing conditions (a broken limb or nursing mother, for instance)
  • Other conditions not listed above

What are the most frequent accommodations provided by the AAMC?

  • Extended test time
  • Extended or additional breaks
  • A separate testing environment
  • Allowing food or drink into the testing room
  • Pregnancy or nursing-related accommodations

How do I request MCAT special accommodations?

It will likely take you a few weeks to get all the documentation in order to apply for extra accommodations and the review process can take up to 60 days. You can appeal a rejected decision, but even that re-review can take 30 days. And, your accommodations need to be approved at least 2 weeks, or 15 days, prior to your test date so that your testing center can make the necessary changes.

Start the process of applying ~4 months prior to your anticipated MCAT date!

    • Describe your history of receiving accommodations (in elementary school, high school, college, and on previous standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT).
    • Other than accommodations, describe what strategies, devices, or medications you ordinarily use to manage your condition.
    • Describe how the above-described strategies are insufficient to manage your condition for taking the MCAT exam.
    • Describe when, how, and by whom your condition has been documented in the past.
  • Step 4: Personal Statement:

This statement is your opportunity to discuss how your limitations have affected you in previous test taking situations, as well as describe any previous accommodations you have been given. If you have never received any, you’ll want to explain that here as well. This is NOT your medical school personal statement, so no need to delve into why you want to be a doctor.

  • Step 5: Receive an Evaluation

The evaluation phase must be carried out by a professional with extensive training in the area of disability or impairment for which you are seeking accommodations according to the AAMC. Note that 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 (ie a letter from your parents friend probably will not suffice here).

You may want to reference the AAMC Evaluator Guide for more information on what to find. Below is a summarized version for the evaluator: As you craft your evaluation documentation and consider whether or not the individual requires accommodations, please be mindful of the following:

    • All requests should identify current normative impairments (i.e., impairment when compared to the general population). Relative impairments or weaknesses, while clinically meaningful, do not necessarily require accommodation.
    • All recommendations from qualified professionals should consider the task demands associated with the standard test conditions of the MCAT exam, in addition to the individual’s current functional limitations and history of prior accommodation. For example, recommendations for a computerized format or additional time for written responses are not warranted given that the standard MCAT exam is a computer-based multiple choice test. Previously granted accommodations may not necessarily be supported for the MCAT exam given the demands of the current task.
    • A relevant history in regard to the impact of the impairment on the individual’s education (including performance on previous standardized tests like the SAT) and prior interventions (e.g., tutoring or specialized private school placements) or accommodations (i.e., education plans, Section 504 plans, etc.) should be addressed.
    • Additional information regarding our evaluation requirements can be found on the MCAT Accommodations web page.
  • Step 6: Submit supporting evidence

The AAMC asks applicants for MCAT accommodations to provide several types of documents to verify their disability or diagnosis. A common reason why initial applications can be rejected is if students have failed to submit sufficient documentation of their condition. Err on the side of caution by being especially thorough in this important step.

Here is a list of documents you are either required or recommended to submit with your application, depending on your specific condition:

  • Academic transcripts—high school, college, and post-bacc
  • Standardized test score reports from similar tests you’ve taken, such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE
  • Verification of previous accommodations you’ve received in high school, in college, and in standardized testing environments
  • Supporting academic records such as tutoring evaluations, teacher comments about your academic difficulties, and clinical notes from your primary care physicians referencing any academic issues
  • Previous evaluations you’ve received in addition to the current required evaluation

By what date should I request accommodations?

MCAT Test DateAccommodation Submission DateAppeal Date
January 14, 2022October 1, 2021November 30, 2021
January 15, 2022October 2, 2021December 1, 2021
January 20, 2022October 7, 2021December 6, 2021
January 21, 2022October 8, 2021December 7, 2021
March 12, 2022November 27, 2021January 26, 2022
March 25, 2022December 10, 2021February 8, 2022
April 8, 2022December 24, 2021February 22, 2022
April 9, 2022December 25, 2021February 23, 2022
April 29, 2022January 14, 2022March 15, 2022
April 30, 2022January 15, 2022March 16, 2022
May 13, 2022January 28, 2022March 29, 2022
May 14, 2022January 29, 2022March 30, 2022
May 19, 2022February 3, 2022April 4, 2022
May 27, 2022February 11, 2022April 12, 2022
June 4, 2022February 19, 2022April 20, 2022
June 17, 2022March 4, 2022May 3, 2022
June 18, 2022March 5, 2022May 4, 2022
June 24, 2022March 11, 2022May 10, 2022
June 25, 2022March 12, 2022May 11, 2022
June 30, 2022March 17, 2022May 16, 2022
July 16, 2022April 2, 2022June 1, 2022
July 29, 2022April 15, 2022June 14, 2022
August 5, 2022April 22, 2022June 21, 2022
August 20, 2022May 7, 2022July 6, 2022
August 26, 2022May 13, 2022July 12, 2022
August 27, 2022May 14, 2022July 13, 2022
September 1, 2022May 19, 2022July 18, 2022
September 2, 2022May 20, 2022July 19, 2022
September 9, 2022May 27, 2022July 26, 2022
September 10, 2022May 28, 2022   July 27, 2022

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