Testing Accommodations on the GMAT

With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Do you qualify for testing accommodations on the GMAT? Or do you think you might?

Broadly speaking, the term “accommodations” refers to altering the testing conditions for a particular student to “level the playing field” for that student. Someone with serious vision problems, for example, may need some kind of altered test format to read the test questions. These accommodations do not make the test easier for the student; rather, they make the test possible at the same level as for a regular student.

What is the process for applying for testing accommodations, and how are the decisions made? Glad you asked. I have spent the past couple months reading everything I can find and talking to representatives from GMAC. In addition, I spoke with a psychologist who deals with various kinds of learning disabilities.

All this research culminated in our unofficial GMAT Testing Accommodations Encyclopedia! I will give you the highlights here and then link to the full article at the end.

GMAC lists five main categories of issues covered and also offers an “other” category (if you feel your particular issue does not fit into one of these five areas).

The general application process is the same for all categories, but the material required to document your condition can vary, and the full article (linked to at the end) covers these details.

What qualifies… and what does not?

No easy answer to this question exists. The overarching issue, according to both neuropsychologist Dr. Teresa Elliott and private psychologist Dr. Tova Elberg, is a condition that results in some kind of impaired functioning in daily life that meets the criteria of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the DSM-IV or DSM-V.

A diagnosis by itself is not enough, though. The condition must be shown to affect current functioning, and this impact must be documented carefully.

Everyone was very clear that a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that someone qualifies for testing accommodations. The diagnosis must result in functional impairment that has an impact on daily work and living situations in general, not just testing situations. This is precisely why the application asks you to explain how a particular issue or disability affects your current functioning across work and academic settings.

Many additional nuances must be considered, so dive into the GMAT Testing Accommodations Encyclopedia and let us know if you have any questions or comments!

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