Friday, April 17, 2015

MCAT Accommodations Part Two

If you've bounced here by Googling "MCAT Accommodations" then I hope this helps you.

I recently received my response from the AAMC and while my request was NOT denied, it surely puts a damper on me trying to take the exam in June and have my application validated in July after my MCAT score posts.

Meaning... I will be a late app no matter what but the request from AAMC for more documentation definitely pushes me to a probable August MCAT date and Sept validation.

Can we say ICK?!

What happened, what you should know.

I submitted my entire MCAT accommodations package with the following:

1)  cover letter indicating current impact ADHD has on my life - work, home, school
2)  every accommodation letter received from my university for my premed pre-reqs
3)  my transcript in all it's ugliness
4)  a copy of the receipt for my ACT score showing I paid for the archival request and that it probably will NOT be obtainable given I took the ACT in 1982
5)  the entire ADHD document of testing done by a licensed psychologist who specializes in adult ADHD dated 2-12-2012
6)  a letter from my current physician who prescribes the medication

The request was for CURRENT impact assessment from licensed evaluator given my evaluation was 1 MONTH too old. In other words, had I submitted the package in late January, I would have been fine and my evaluation - that cost $2,000 to obtain - would have been "current" ...

With respect to my ACT score, the request from AAMC is this:

"Have you ever taken a standardized exam: ACT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, Other" and if so, please attach the score from that exam and any accommodations granted.

So, on that particular question I can either lie (never took the ACT ) and remember what organization I would be lying to (AAMC) OR I could tell the truth that I did in fact take it in 1982.

I did take the exam.  My score is no longer available and no accommodations were granted for standardized tests as ADA laws were not enacted yet so the best I could do was show that I tried to get the score.

AAMC has hogtied me to either lying to them or ... I don't know.  My score is simply not available as ACT will no longer keep scores prior to 2005 or something like that.

What can you do to avoid this nonsense?

Cover letter - keep to one page, summarize what the impact is of your disability on your ACADEMIC career and how accommodations have currently been leveling the playing field for you in school (aka: obtaining accommodations through your current courses)

Make the request: I request X-y-ZZ  - make the "ask" clear.

Sign it, Sincerely... that is proper, polite, and appropriate.

Obtain all accommodation letters from your schools (elementary through college if need be).  ALL of them.  Attach them to your MAO file.

Attach all diagnoses relevant to your disability and make sure they are CURRENT (less than 3 years - learn from my mistake).

Request letters of support how the disability was accommodated at work.  Attach them.  For ADHD, it does not affect me solely at school - it affects me at work, and at home.  Concerta helps the focus but the distractions and noise are still too much at times (so I have a private office or conference room at work).  At home, I've hired people to mow the lawn, clean the house, walk the dogs, and help with every other aspect of personal life because if I don't:

1/2 my lawn gets mowed
dishes stack up in a sink of running water with water ending up on the floor
laundry gets washed but not dried and end up with mildew

And remember: patience.  I figure - this is just my guess - the AAMC wants to make sure that those requesting the accommodations REALLY need it and those who do, will be patient and persistent enough to continue through the myriad of questions, requests, and further questions from AAMC.

Good luck!

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