How to Apply for MCAT Accommodations
- Feb 16, 2024
- MCAT Info
- Reviewed By: Liz Flagge
The MCAT is a challenging undertaking, but for those of us who require MCAT accommodations, it can feel even more daunting. Fortunately, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is committed to making sure everyone has the opportunity to test on an even playing field.
In this article, we will walk you through how to request accommodations for the MCAT and how to determine if you’re eligible.
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 MCAT 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.
Each test-taker is assigned a cubicle. 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 on 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, adjustable chairs, and desks that can be accessible via wheelchair. Medical College Admission 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 that require accommodations beyond what is already listed, then you should apply for MCAT accommodations.
Some common conditions include:
- Learning disabilities.
- 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. Examples include a broken leg and nursing mothers.
What Accommodations Can I Apply For?
MCAT accommodations include extended testing time, additional break times, an adaptive mouse, text enlargement, an adjustable height workstation, and more.
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 ones you need, you will have the opportunity to describe them in your application.
Blueprint MCAT students can also take our practice exams under specific accommodations, including extra time. Try it yourself for free by creating a free account!
How Can I Apply for MCAT Accommodations?
To apply for MCAT accommodations, 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.
Seeking an extension of a previously approved accommodation? Then you’ll just need to submit an Extension Request. However, 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 on the AAMC’s MCAT Accommodations portal. In this link, you will complete all of the components of the application.
- Be mindful that you will need to have registered for an MCAT date before applying for an accommodations request. You must use the same AAMC ID affiliated with your test registration. Then fill out the profile, condition, and history sections of the portal.
- 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 everything you need to provide a fully comprehensive report. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has also provided evaluation requirements for learning disabilities, ADHD, psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, diabetes, and acquired brain injuries.
- Finally, you’ll need academic and medical supporting documentation. This 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 to fully support your application.
You’ll also need to write a narrative essay to describe what accommodations you need and why you feel you should receive them. The personal statement should describe what accommodations you need and why you feel you should be given them.
It is essential to provide a comprehensive overview of your current “functional limitations”, previous history of accommodations, and what you believe is necessary to “create a fair and level playing field during the MCAT.”
Rather than simply restating the information found in your medical records or official evaluations, your personal statement should convey your unique experience and personal journey. Share how your condition has specifically impacted your education and provide specific examples of how past accommodations have benefited your performance, emphasizing your ability to perform at your full potential.
By offering specific instances where standardized testing conditions hindered your performance, you can emphasize the necessity of accommodations to ensure a fair and accurate assessment of your abilities.
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When Should I Apply for Accommodations?
The review process can take up to 60 days. Ideally, you’ll want to submit your MCAT accommodations request as soon as you register for an MCAT exam date. You must be approved for accommodations and have a scheduling request submitted with Pearson VUE at least 15 days before your test date. If you’re approved less than 15 days before your test date, your accommodations will not be available for your MCAT.
Will Medical Schools Know That I Received Accommodations for the MCAT?
Medical schools will not have any knowledge about your MCAT accommodations unless you choose to disclose this information in your medical school applications. It is entirely your decision whether or not to reveal this information in your applications.
MCAT accommodations can make a huge difference in your test day performance. Be sure to stay on top of registering for the Medical College Admission Test and getting your application submitted to get the accommodations you need!
Ready to get started with acing the MCAT? Start with our free MCAT resources, including a customizable study planner, full-length practice test, and more!
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