The MCAT testing conditions can seem intimidating, but there are accomodations available for people with disabilities. Read on to discover how to apply for MCAT accommodations.
The MCAT is challenging and requires an immense amount of preparation and concentration. However, the test can be even more daunting for a person with a disability. The AAMC is aware that not everyone starts on an even playing field, which is why it offers accommodations for test-takers with medical conditions or disabilities.
The AAMC's website states:
“The AAMC is committed to providing all individuals with an opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency on the MCAT exam. That includes ensuring access to persons with disabilities in accordance with relevant law.”
From wheelchair access to extended time, MCAT accommodations are in place to help you succeed. Whether you have a physical disability, a brain injury, or a learning disability such as ADHD, the MCAT is within your reach.
Receiving accommodations shouldn’t be a stressful process, and we’re here to help. We’ll cover how to apply for accommodations on the MCAT, discuss the parameters for eligibility, and provide answers for frequently asked questions.
Before you apply for MCAT disability accomodations through the AAMC’s website, it’s essential to understand how the process works. Here we’ll go over the steps you must take before you start your MCAT accommodations application.
To access the MCAT accommodations application, you must first create an AAMC login ID.
The AAMC makes each decision on a case-by-case basis, as disabilities present differently in everyone. The AAMC reviews every piece of reading material you submit to support your request. It is important to note having a disability is not automatic grounds for accommodations. Your current functional limitations will guide their decision.
The AAMC has a complete list of recommended submission dates in association with test dates on its website. You should submit your application for accommodation on or before the recommended submission deadline. This will ensure that AAMC decides before your preferred test date.
Your condition is unique, so your application must be as well. Read over the application requirements thoroughly. Take note of what the AAMC needs for your specific situation.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready for the next step. Read on to learn how to apply for MCAT accomodations.
When preparing for your application for MCAT disability accomodations, you should ensure you have all the proper reading materials to submit. The more you have to back up your claim, the more likely you will be granted accommodations. Here we’ll go over what you must include in your MCAT accommodations application.
Your application will have sections for your Profile, Condition, and History. These give the AAMC a basic understanding of who you are. You must complete these sections in order to advance your application.
This section of your application provides you with the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding your condition. Use your personal statement to help the evaluators understand your perspective and why these accommodations are necessary.
In your personal statement for MCAT accomodations, you should include the following:
It may also help to include what would go wrong if you were to take the MCAT under normal conditions.
For instance, if you’re applying for extra time, you can describe a test situation in which you weren’t granted this accommodation and compare it to a time that you were acoomodated. You can get extra time on the MCAT. You just have to show them why it will help you succeed.
Avoid reiterating information that the evaluators already have. Your personal statement should come from the heart and genuinely express your concerns. You do not need to repeat information from your evaluations or educational experiences. The evaluators can find that information in you supporting documents.
The AAMC defines a current comprehensive evaluation as a “detailed written report from your evaluator.” This is a critical part of your evaluation and will significantly affect the final decision.
To ensure your evaluation includes all of the relevant information, show your qualified professional the AAMC’s guide on what evaluators need to know. This guide offers evaluation requirements for different types of conditions:
Remember that your MCAT accommodations decision will be based mainly on your current functional limitations. That is why the comprehensive evaluation must be recent and describe how your condition currently affects you.
Supporting documentation will help establish the history of your condition. Here are the acceptable forms of supporting documentation:
Academic transcripts: Make sure that your name is visible on your academic transcripts. “Academic” includes high school, undergraduate and postgraduate education. Submitting your transcripts is highly recommended regardless of your condition or date of diagnosis.
Standardized test score reports: Submitting test scores from standardized tests will help the evaluations committee understand how you fare in testing conditions. They are relevant regardless of your date of diagnosis. Your test scores should display your name.
Verification of previous accommodation(s): Only official documentation will be accepted for this step. Include accommodations made in educational institutions and standardized testing in the forms of IEPs, Section 504 plans, Disability Support Services letters, etc. This documentation should explain the exact accommodation you have previously received for your condition.
Supporting academic records: Providing academic records helps to establish the history of limitations you have faced. According to the AAMC, you can submit:
Previous evaluations: Any previous assessment you have received will helpl to the evaluation committee understand the history of your condition.
While some are more valuable than others, each piece of documentation you provide will help your case. The AAMC’s table will help you understand how important each document is to your application according to the nature of your condition.
Any disability that impairs your testing ability can be eligible for MCAT accommodations. Some common examples of disabilities that may require accommodations are:
No disability should hold you back from becoming a doctor. If you are concerned that your disability does not appear on the AAMC’s accommodations page, contact them. The AAMC wants every test taker to have an equal opportunity for success. You should also make sure you have adequate documentation to prove your eligibility before filing your application.
The AAMC does not disclose your MCAT test accommodations with medical schools. The act of putting an asterisk on a student’s test to indicate that they had accommodations on their tests is no longer practiced. Additionally, many students with disabilities do well on the MCAT and are later admitted to medical school.
Here we’ll answer some frequently asked questions surrounding MCAT accommodations.
Yes, you can go to medical school if you have a disability. Today around 3% of medical students in the U.S. have disclosed disabilities.
Yes, the AAMC aims to provide a level playing field for all test takers. Many different accommodations are available depending on the individual limitations of your condition.
Yes, you can get extra time on the MCAT if you are approved for accommodations. More frequent breaks can also be approved if you have a medical condition that will need attention. You can apply for stop-the-clock breaks, extended breaks, or extended time as MCAT accommodations.
MCAT accommodations are valid for five years. During that time, your documentation is preserved in the AAMC’s system.
If your supporting documentation shows this necessity, you can request a paper test as an MCAT accomodation.
Yes, you can wear earplugs or a headset while taking the MCAT to assist with noise reduction. The AAMC has these items available for students at the test center.
The AAMC aims to give every test taker an equal chance for success. Taking the MACT with ADHD or another disability does not have to cause additional stress. Different MCAT accommodations are available for a wide range of disabilities. You can get extra time on the MCAT, you can access medication and food, or you can even take the test in a separate room. There are many MCAT test accomodations available.
Do not feel discouraged about taking the MCAT if you have a disability. Just make sure to submit your accommodations application on time and with all the proper application materials. Check AAMC’s website for further information on timelines and application materials.