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How to Apply for MCAT Accommodations

Taking the MCAT can be a challenging undertaking, but for those of us who require accommodations, it can feel even more daunting. Fortunately, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is committed to making sure everyone who wants to can receive an opportunity to demonstrate their MCAT mastery on an even playing field. That means, people who may require MCAT accommodations can receive it. In today’s article, we will walk you through how to request accommodations for the MCAT and the basic information you need to request accommodations for test day. 

Am I Eligible for MCAT Accommodations? 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals who have lifelong and temporary medical conditions that require a change to standard testing conditions qualify for accommodations. The standard testing environment may be enough to accommodate your specific needs. To understand whether this is true for you, it is important to review what the standard MCAT environment is like. 

The standard MCAT testing room has individual cubicles for test-takers. As per CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, test takers are seated to be one cubicle apart and are required to wear masks during the entirety of the exam. The only movement allowed is the movement of (1) a test administrator who comes to a student when he/she raises their hand to indicate they need assistance or are ready to take their allotted breaks and (2) students who walk in and out of the testing room when prompted by their computer after they have completed a section or the entire test. 

Every student is given earplugs and a headset. The earplugs are vacuum-sealed while the headset comes with vacuum-sealed covers you put to make sure your ears come into contact with a clean surface. 

You will take your exam on a computer that has a monitor with adjustable brightness, chairs that are adjustable, and desks that can be accessible via wheelchair. Test takers are also given laminated paper booklets and a permanent marker. There are also items you can bring without having to apply for approval. 

If you have any conditions (including but not limited to psychiatric conditions, physical impairments, temporary injuries, or are nursing) that require accommodations beyond what is already listed, then you should apply for accommodations. 

What MCAT Accommodations Can I Apply For?

MCAT accommodations include extended testing time, additional break times, an adaptive mouse, text enlargement, an adjustable-height workstation, etc. There are also additional accommodations that can be provided as determined by a qualified professional. If you have received accommodations before or are aware of what specific accommodations you need, you will have the opportunity to describe them in your application. 

What Is the MCAT Accommodations Application Process Like? 

To apply for accommodations, you have to be aware that the application process must be initiated by you. You will first need to submit an initial application; your MCAT accommodations application will be reviewed within 60 days. If your application is deemed incomplete, you will need to upload additional documentation and restart the 60-day review period. 

If you’re seeking an extension of a previously approved accommodation, then you’ll need to submit an Extension Request. If, instead you’re seeking additional accommodations, then you will submit a Reconsideration Request. You can also submit an Appeal Request if your accommodations are denied.

Once you decide which accommodation request you need to submit, you can find it at this link to the MCAT Accommodations portal. In this link, you will complete all of the components of the application which are: 

  1. The profile, condition, and history sections that you can access using your AAMC ID. Be mindful that you will need to have registered for an MCAT date before applying for an accommodations request, so you should use the same AAMC ID affiliated with your test registration. 
  2. The personal statement, which is a narrative essay that you use to describe what you need in terms of accommodations and why you feel you should be given them. This section is where you need to describe what would go wrong for you if you took the MCAT under standard conditions. You also need to describe the impact of your conditions on your academic experiences so far. If you’ve received accommodations at school before, it would be great to describe that as well. If you have not received accommodations before, then it would be helpful to explain why you have not used them before so the evaluation committee doesn’t have to ask you that. 
  3.  You will also need a comprehensive medical evaluation. This is a detailed written report from your evaluator. Sharing this guide from the AAMC would help them ensure you are sending out everything you need to provide a fully comprehensive report. The AAMC has also provided evaluation requirements for learning disabilities, ADHD, and psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, diabetes, and acquired brain injuries. 
  4. Academic and medical supporting documentation, which includes academic transcripts, standardized test score reports, verification of previous accommodation, supporting academic records, and previous evaluations. Your goal should be to submit as much as possible in order to fully support your application.

When Should I Apply for MCAT Accommodations? 

Since the review process can take up to 60 days, you are going to ideally submit your MCAT accommodations request as soon as you register for an MCAT exam date. You need to have approval for accommodations before your test date in order to receive them, so giving as much time between your accommodations request and the day you take your MCAT exam is ideal. 

MCAT accommodations can make a huge difference in your test day performance, so be sure to stay on top of registering for the MCAT and getting your application in so you can get the accommodations you need! 

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