Testing Accommodations for MCAT/Med School?


It is so great to have found such a supportive and encouraging community of people trying to navigate the premed path! I am returning to school almost 10 years after dropping out of high school at 16 years old with a 1.1 GPA. After spending time working as a licensed hair dresser, a horse trainer, a veterinary assistant, and finally a certified optometric technician (assistant to an optometrist), I absolutely fell in love with eye care and the medical field. I realized that I had finally found my calling and made the nerve racking but exciting decision to go back to school.

The last 15 months has been a whirlwind of life lessons as I have been a full time student, a full time employee, and had 4 surgeries, one of which landed me a week long hospital stay from an infected incision that caused a massive abdominal abscess which took 4 months to close. Despite all of this, I am proud to have ended my first year of undergrad with a 3.75 GPA. While the surgeries and abscess were not particularly fun, that experience gave me such an incredible ability to connect with my patients at the eye clinic in a way that I could not before, in turn, it has motivated and pushed me even more to continue down this path. As excited as I am to be on the path towards becoming a physician, I am concerned about some of the challenges I have faced and their impact on my ability to go to medical school.

One of my biggest concerns is that I have a vision disorder that makes reading quite challenging in that it takes twice as long to read the same amount of material as a normal person. My reading comprehension is very good, it just takes me a long time to get through material. This really showed on my first big exam in my intro to chemistry class when I received a score of 60% after having to turn in the exam with 2 out of the 4 pages blank because I just didnt have enough time to get through it. The questions I did answer were all correct. Fortunately I was able to receive testing accommodations and now receive double time on exams and quizzes. The next chem exam I took with the extra time I received a score of 95%. I am now wondering if testing accommodations exist for the MCAT and in medical school? Will testing accommodations put me at a disadvantage for getting into medical school or can admission committees see that I received accommodations?

You can apply for accommodations for the MCAT. You will have to provide a lot of information and a reference, but it exists. You can easily find it on the AAMC website.

As for medical school, every school reports, for this very reason, something called “technical standards”. There are things everyone seeking training must be able to do to do the work of doctoring. In many cases, people with disabilities can find modalities to manage this. There are even a few blind doctors! Just know that you will have your work cut out for you in terms of studying twice as much, taking twice as long to do online stuff involving reading, etc.

Unless you are unable to, say, read a patient chart in time to see the patient, I can totally imagine you getting there—with a ton of dedication and determination. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Push as far as you can and prove yourself–if you have a good enough reason to be doing something, chances are you can do it.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Fortunately I am able to to get most of my textbooks in an e-book format which allows me to run a program which actually reads the text for me so I can listen. This has definitely been a great tool. So many text books are now coming in an e-book format I am hoping this trend will carry over for medical texts.