FAQ: Accommodations for the Essential Skills Assessment

The Application Process 

Q: What must I submit in order to request assessment accommodations? 
A: Accommodation requests will be reviewed when you have submitted a completed GMAC Accommodation Request Form and related disability documentation (found here). 

Q: Is my disability information kept confidential? 
A: Your disability status and medical documents are treated as confidential as described more fully in the Privacy Statement found at www.gmac.com/privacy. GMAC internal staff review accommodation requests and refer to external professional consultants when necessary. External consultants are subject to strict confidentiality requirements. 

Q: Is there a deadline to submit documentation for an accommodation request? 
A: GMAC encourages test takers who request accommodations to submit all required documentation well in advance of the date they intend to test. Every effort will be made to respond to your request within 30 business days of receipt. The process may take longer if all documents are not submitted together in a single package, if additional documentation is needed, or if you have to request reconsideration. 

Q: Will I receive confirmation that my application request form and supporting documentation have been received? 
A: Yes. 

Q: If there is a problem with my documentation, will you contact the healthcare professional who provided documentation? 
A: No. You will be notified in writing if additional documentation is required. It is your responsibility to provide all necessary documentation to GMAC Disability Services. 

Q: Should I register for the assessment before I request an accommodation? 
A: No. You must submit your written request for accommodation(s) and receive an accommodation decision letter before registering for any administration of the assessment.

Q: Do I have to pay the assessment fee to request an accommodation? 
A: No. You do not have to submit your test fee along with your accommodation request. If approved for accommodations, instructions will be provided in your approval letter regarding how to pay for your accommodated assessment appointment. 

Q: My medical/clinical documentation is not presented in English. Is it necessary that I provide a written translation of the documentation? 
A: Yes. In order for your application to be reviewed, a word-by-word English translation must be submitted along with the original documentation for our validation.

Questions Concerning Eligibility for Accommodations 

Q: How is eligibility for test accommodations determined? 
A: GMAC reviews your request in accordance with the guidelines that are enumerated in our test bulletin and within the framework of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as recently amended. The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person’s ability to perform one or more major life activities, as compared to most people in the general population.  Under ADA guidelines, you could have a diagnosed condition that does not rise to the level of a disability. In addition to reviewing your supporting documentation, GMAC will evaluate the reasonableness of the requested accommodations and their effect on the psychometric integrity of the assessment. 

Q: How can I demonstrate that I meet the ADA’s definition of disability? 
A: Please provide objective evidence (e.g., diagnostic testing, evidence of accommodations on previous standardized exams, educational transcripts) as well as subjective reports (e.g., clinical observations, reports from learning specialists or tutors, your own self-report, teacher/professor comments). Documentation should demonstrate substantial limitation when compared to most people from the general population. 

Q: I was diagnosed with a disability by a medical/psychological professional. Will I automatically be granted accommodations? 
A: No. A diagnosis alone does not qualify you for accommodations. You must adequately document the existence of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the current impact of impairment and how it affects your ability to take assessments under standard conditions, and a rationale for why the requested accommodations are appropriate in light of your impairment(s). 

Q: Is a veteran with a service-connected disability protected by the ADA? 
A: Yes, as long as that individual meets the ADA’s definition of disability. The ADA definition of disability may differ from the definition used in other laws. For example, the term “disabled veteran” means an individual who has served on active duty in the armed forces, was honorably discharged, and has a service-connected disability, or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension because of a public statute administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a military department. Many veterans meet both the definition of “disabled veteran” and the ADA’s definition of “individual with a disability.” Returning veterans who believe they have an ADA-defined disability are encouraged to apply for accommodations to take the assessment. 

Q: If I am testing outside the United States, can I still request accommodations based on a disability? 
A: Yes. GMAC is committed to equitable testing practices for all test takers. Applying the general framework of the ADA to all applicants enables GMAC to fairly and independently verify the need for accommodations. 

Q: I received accommodations in college. Is this sufficient to demonstrate my need for accommodations? 
A: No. It is important to note that organizations and institutions vary as to the standards and procedures they follow when making accommodations decisions, and accommodations that are considered reasonable within one setting may not be considered reasonable within a different setting.  We at GMAC must make our own decisions regarding the reasonableness of accommodations on the GMAT exam. Our objective is to achieve equitable assessment processes for all test takers, which we do by applying ADA consistently and by providing accommodations only when the test taker has objectively demonstrated the existence of a substantial limitation as defined by the ADA. Thus, a history of receiving accommodations in high school or college does not guarantee that accommodations will be granted on the assessment. 

Q: Is it better to send more documentation than less? 
A: More documentation is better than not enough. The documentation guidelines are designed to assist test takers in establishing that they have a disability (as defined by the ADA) and to ensure that test takers with disabilities have access to the assessment. To the extent applicable to your situation, your documentation should include: 

  • Evidence of special education services or accommodations in K-12
  • Evidence of accommodations in college (formal or informal)
  • Evidence that the reported impairment affects you across time and across settings (e.g., in the workplace and in activities of daily living). Please note that disabling conditions do not typically manifest themselves in testing situations alone.
  • Evidence of accommodations on previous standardized exams
  • Transcripts showing your grades (with or without accommodations)
  • Other evidence of a functional impairment in a major life activity

Q: My disability is considered to be lifelong. Why does the documentation have to be recent? 
A: While you may have been diagnosed with a permanent disability, the manifestations of your condition may vary over time and across settings. We need to verify the current impact of the condition on your daily functioning. For some conditions, such as most learning disabilities, documentation prepared within the past three years is generally enough to verify current impact, while more recent documentation may be needed for other conditions (e.g., psychological disorders, systemic illnesses). For physical disabilities and long-term vision and hearing disabilities that typically do not change over time, older documentation may be accepted as long as it provides a clear indication of current functional limitations. 

Q: Should I ask for every possible accommodation (in hopes of getting something), or is it better to ask only for what is really necessary? 
A: You should ask only for the accommodations you need to take the test on equal footing with test takers without disabilities. Requests for accommodations must include objective evidence of a clear connection between the functional limitation and the accommodation requested. The evidence presented must demonstrate that the accommodation is needed. Requests for accommodations not supported by objective documentation will not be granted. 

Q: Am I entitled to my preferred accommodations? 
A: If you are disabled within the meaning of the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations that enable you to access the exam. Your requested accommodations will be considered, but you might not receive your preferred accommodations. 

Q: Although my impairment does not result in substantial limitations in my ability to learn or perform other major life activities, I’m sure that I would do better if I had accommodations. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to show my true potential?
A: The ADA is intended to enable equal access, not to maximize outcomes. Accommodations must not provide anyone with an unfair advantage relative to other test takers. Instead, they should provide test takers with disabilities equal access to assessments. 

Q: I don’t really view myself as having a substantial functional impairment; I simply find that when taking timed tests, I always run out of time. Why shouldn’t I be allowed additional time? 
A: An inability to complete the assessment under standard time conditions is not automatically a reason for receiving additional test time. 

Approved Applications for Accommodations FAQs 

Q: Will my results reflect that I received accommodations? 
A: No. Assessment results do not indicate whether the assessment was taken with accommodations. 

Q: Once I am approved for test accommodations, how do I go about scheduling my assessment? 
A: If approved for accommodations, you will receive an approval letter via email. Specific instructions for scheduling your assessment with accommodations are included in the approval letter. 

Q: I was approved for accommodations previously, but my approval letter has expired. Can I request an extension? 
A: You may request an extension of your approved accommodations by contacting testingaccomodations@gmac.com. Please be aware that some clinical conditions can change over time. In such instances, updated documentation may be requested before an extension of previously approved accommodations is granted.


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