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learning disabilities accomodations for the MCAT

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lynnier79

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I have a learning disability and i am requesting accomodation through AAMC for the MCAT. Has anyone got any experience with that? I have heard rumors that they rarely, if ever, grant accomodations, and I am curious if anyone can confirm/rebut that fact.

If you dont feel comfortable telling the entire board about your experience please feel free to email me:
[email protected]
 

lynnier79

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i imagine ill do it the same way that i got through primary school, high school, and college --by doing a lot of work.

if i have been successful so far in my academic life (with the disability and an accomodation appropriate for it) then i would like to think i can tackle what comes in the future.

nobody's perfect.
 
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dankev

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Don't count on getting any accomodations unless your disability is outrageous. I have friends with very valid disabilities, but they were denied. It happens very rarely. To actually get accomodations, the disability probably needs to be so bad you couldn't even get through the pre-reqs.

Good luck.
 

bella_dottoressa

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plus, med schools will know about your special conditions, wont they? i knew a girl in undergrad who took gen chem with me and always took her exams by herself and had as much time as she wanted to complete them..
 

jjmack

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It is possible but you need to have very good documentation. I received extended time for the MCAT due to a visual disability which is much harder to dispute than a learning disability. I think they are probably stricter on what they accept as documentation for a learning disability. I will tell you though that when I was taking my MCAT I was with probably 4-5 other students and one who I became friendly with had dyslexia so you can get them with a LD. By the way I have been to 3 interviews so far and not one person has asked about my taking the MCAT with extra time. Also an interesting note is that while most people think they would do better with extra time most go back and change right answers to incorrect answers with extra time. If the original poster has an more specific questions PM me. In terms of getting through Medical school. I'm not sure yet. Added on I am trying to do MD/PhD so I'll never get out :) I just see the problem of reading. In the end who cares in may take an extra year but in the big scheme that isn't too big a deal.

Good Luck
 

lynnier79

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jjmack -- thanks so much for your post... its really nice to hear from people about this

my disability is a hearing related, and not so much an LD as an auditory disorder, but its rare and not really like anything else, but my accomodation would NOT actually require more time, just a separate room. i dont know how they are going to deal with it, but we'll see.

as for letting med schools know that i have an LD -- that is not really a concern of mine. I plan to let them know -- i would not want to lie about why i did relatively poorly in my first year of university (before i was diagnosed) and why i saw such a strong improvement in just a year (after i was granted an accomodation)
 

vugu62

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Anywone with a recognized learning disability MUST be given appropriate testing accomodations as provided under the Federal Disabilities Act. It is a law, anyone not giving proper accomodations would be breaking the law. Moreover, there are many successful people in this world who have had Learning Disabilities. So the notion that just because someone has a learning disability won't allow them to excell in academia i.e., med school, is simply ignorant. Open your eyes. Did you know Einstein was dyslexic? Food for thought!!
 
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either way its a catch-22.. if you get the special treatment you'll get flagged on your application, which means different things for different schools, so call the schools you want to get into first, and work your way back from there. Just because the ADA allows for it doesn't mean that its your best tactical move.
 

WatchingWaiting

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Med schools apply the smell test to these types of requests. Something like hypersensitivy to noise and requiring a separate room is a bit odd, but not anywhere near as suspicious as something like ADD, which has become a boutique diagnosis used in some circles to give people extra time on standardized tests. If I were on an ad-com and I had an applicant who received double time on all his or her undergrad exams and then on the MCAT as well, I would want to be *really* sure that the basis was not phony and did not give that applicant an unfair boost over others. OTOH, there is no Catch-22 if your diagnosis sounds reasonable and doesn't give you an unfair advantage.

Legally and morally, the issue with learning disabilities is complicated though-- someone who has trisomy 21 certainly has a learning disability, but what accomodation do they, or could they, get? What about those students who are just intellectually average or sub-average? Why don't they get bonus time too?
 

JohnHolmes

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Originally posted by lynnier79
I have a learning disability and i am requesting accomodation through AAMC for the MCAT. Has anyone got any experience with that? I have heard rumors that they rarely, if ever, grant accomodations, and I am curious if anyone can confirm/rebut that fact.

If you dont feel comfortable telling the entire board about your experience please feel free to email me:
[email protected]

I have an LD too, and did not receive accomodations. You better be prepared to show that your LD affects your ability to take standardized tests. I am sure it has to be pretty severe. I would agree with the "rarely grants accomodations." If you were not on an IEP in primary/secondary school there is little chance for receiving accomodations. Additionally, accomodations will show up on your MCAT scores. If you are in need of accomodations in order to test because your condition does not permit a reasonably equitable playing field, go for it. If this is true, I hope you get your waiver.

Best of luck,
Coops
 

JohnHolmes

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Originally posted by vugu62
Anywone with a recognized learning disability MUST be given appropriate testing accomodations as provided under the Federal Disabilities Act. It is a law, anyone not giving proper accomodations would be breaking the law. Moreover, there are many successful people in this world who have had Learning Disabilities. So the notion that just because someone has a learning disability won't allow them to excell in academia i.e., med school, is simply ignorant. Open your eyes. Did you know Einstein was dyslexic? Food for thought!!

Actually, its the IDEA and the law states "fair and appropriate." Fair.

The accomodations have to SPECIFICALLY tailored to the disability and not just intended to give the applicant or student a heightened score. If the disability is dyslexia, the accomodations might be some additional time or having the test read aloud. Bonus time is not necessarily a given.

The law also doesn't permit students with bona fide LD's or other impairments, visual, auditory, etc to choose and select their own accomodations. Every request by the student or parent is not given, it also must a reasonable request and sustainable by that institution.

I have taught and have experienced what I consider to be abuse of the IDEA. Students and individuals needless being placed on individualized plans for what seems to be the schools ability to stay "accredited." Labelling is not fun and should be avoided at all costs.

I can tell you that I have never known somoene to have a "hypersensitivity" to noise and been given a separate testing room. If this was the case, the only "reasonable and fair" accomodation would be to provide ear plugs.

Separate testing would give an individual a decided advantage over other students and is entirely unnecessary to eliminate the actual or perceived disability: noise.

"Specific tailoring" would mean the situation should be remedied using the most appropriate means possible: ear plugs.

Coops
 

lynnier79

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i just wanted to let everyone know that i was denied accomodation for the MCAT (after submitting a host of documentation, letters of support, etc.) i'm considering an appeal and curious if anyone has gone through the appeals process, or if anyone has any suggestions for getting the accomodation.

in brief, i have a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) that is often confused with AD/HD which makes it difficult for me to concentrate i a room full of people (even if its quiet i hear all sortf os noises and become distracted) my accomodation would a separate room, but not extended time or frequent breaks or anything like that.

any brainstorming about this at all would be great!

lynnie
 

turtlepower

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I have two friends who asked for accomodations for the MCAT. One was denied and one was accepted. My friend who is dyslexic and has a very long history of documentation stretching back to elementary school and has received accomodations all through school was accepted. My friend who has ADD but was not diagnosed until college was denied.

My impression and what I was led to believe from talking to them was that the earlier the diagnosis and the longer the documentation history, the more likrly one is to receive accomodations (in this case he received extended time and a private room).

I don't know if this is true or not, but I thought I would share this experience.

One other important issue: my friend who was accomodated is very afraid that he will not receive the same treatment on the USMLE. He was told that it is almost impossible for anyone to receive accomodations on this exam for any reason. I don't know if this is true, but it has made him afraid enough not to apply to med school for fear of getting all of the way through and then not being able to pass because of his LD. Does anyone have experience with this? I am going to ask in the USMLE forum too.
 

CardiologyJosh

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Med schools apply the smell test to these types of requests. Something like hypersensitivy to noise and requiring a separate room is a bit odd, but not anywhere near as suspicious as something like ADD, which has become a boutique diagnosis used in some circles to give people extra time on standardized tests. If I were on an ad-com and I had an applicant who received double time on all his or her undergrad exams and then on the MCAT as well, I would want to be *really* sure that the basis was not phony and did not give that applicant an unfair boost over others. OTOH, there is no Catch-22 if your diagnosis sounds reasonable and doesn't give you an unfair advantage.

Legally and morally, the issue with learning disabilities is complicated though-- someone who has trisomy 21 certainly has a learning disability, but what accomodation do they, or could they, get? What about those students who are just intellectually average or sub-average? Why don't they get bonus time too?

I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 3rd or 4th grade. Saw a Psychiatrist monthly throughout all years remaining of primary education (calling primary education k-12,) and semi-annually all through college. I am 24 years old now. Do you think that 16-17 years of documentation for ADHD would be a testament to it's authenticity, and not part of a "fad disability," (it wasn't popularized well into the late 90's / early 2000's)

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.....
 

typicalindian

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I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 3rd or 4th grade. Saw a Psychiatrist monthly throughout all years remaining of primary education (calling primary education k-12,) and semi-annually all through college. I am 24 years old now. Do you think that 16-17 years of documentation for ADHD would be a testament to it's authenticity, and not part of a "fad disability," (it wasn't popularized well into the late 90's / early 2000's)

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.....

8 years later...
 

charlottematie

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I know someone who has "panic attacks" and "forgets everything" during exams so she gets time and a half. She is going to get this for the MCAT and accommodations aren't seen by medical schools. I just don't think it's fair because the point of the MCAT is you HAVE to think fast. It would be easy if you get so much time. I just don't think it's fair. I think SOME accommodations are needed, but I think they should have to be approved.
 

JustaDO

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I know someone who has "panic attacks" and "forgets everything" during exams so she gets time and a half. She is going to get this for the MCAT and accommodations aren't seen by medical schools. I just don't think it's fair because the point of the MCAT is you HAVE to think fast. It would be easy if you get so much time. I just don't think it's fair. I think SOME accommodations are needed, but I think they should have to be approved.

I'm sure 13 years later, OP appreciates your thoughts on the matter.
 
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