GMAT Test Accommodations: Myths and Realities

Jun 30, 2010
Tags: Official GMAT, Test Accommodations

For some test takers with disabilities, tests administered under standard time conditions may not accurately reflect their abilities. GMAC provides reasonable accommodations to GMAT test takers who have documented disabilities within the meaning of the recently amended Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as other applicable laws. In doing so, we’ve found that some test takers have misconceptions about how these accommodations work.

Here are five of the most common misconceptions about GMAT test accommodations…along with the facts to help set the record straight.

Myth #1
If I receive test accommodations, my GMAT score will be flagged.
Reality: Score reports never show whether a test was taken with or without accommodations. The schools you are applying to will not be able to identify you as a test taker with a disability.

Myth #2
As long as I have a diagnosed disability by a medical/psychological professional, I am eligible to receive accommodations on the GMAT.
Reality: More than a diagnosis is necessary to qualify for accommodations on the GMAT. You must adequately document—
1. the existence of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity
2. the current impact of your impairment and how it affects your ability to take the computer adaptive GMAT exam under standard conditions, and
3. the rationale for why the requested accommodations are appropriate in light of your impairment(s).

Myth # 3
Accommodated GMAT test takers have an unfair advantage over non-accommodated test takers.
Reality: According to a recent study conducted by GMAC researchers, there is no meaningful or statistically significant differences in the distribution of GMAT scores (Total, Verbal, Quantitative, or AWA) for accommodated versus non-accommodated test takers. (This study took demographic and background characteristics into account.)

Myth #4
GMAT test scores achieved under accommodated conditions undermine the validity of the GMAT.
Reality: Accommodations are provided on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Accommodations that would affect the measurement of the skills that the GMAT measures, or alter the predictive validity of the resulting test scores compared with scores achieved under standard conditions, are not provided.

Myth #5
GMAT test accommodations are designed to ensure that test takers with disabilities receive a better GMAT score.
Reality: The purpose of an accommodation is not to facilitate your best possible score, maximize your learning potential, or accommodate a deliberate test-taking style. Rather, the purpose of an accommodation is to provide a level playing field to individuals with substantial limitations compared to their peers.

For more information about GMAT test accommodations for candidates with disabilities, visit


—Kendra Johnson, Ed. D

   Director, GMAT Test Accommodations