We frequently receive questions about how to prepare accommodation requests for the LSAT, MPRE, and bar exam. NDLSA partnered with Maria Zavaleta and Maribel Lopez of the University of San Francisco Law School’s Disability Rights & Advocacy Law Student Association to create this guide and checklist for testing accommodation requests.
Section 1 offers general tips for test-takers.
Section 2 offers guidance for medical documentation.
Section 3 is a peer review checklist. We recommend asking someone you trust to review your documentation before you submit it.
LSAT and MPRE accommodations processes are the same nationwide, but bar exam processes vary by jurisdiction.
If you need accommodations now that you did not need in the past:
• Explain in a personal statement how your condition has changed or why you could self-accommodate in another setting but will not be able to do so on the exam.
• Provide medical documentation or a doctor’s note explaining the change in circumstances, if possible.
You can request accommodations in the alternative (e.g., “I am requesting X but if you do not find that accommodation justified, I request Y.”).
• Document your communications.
• Conduct all communications with the testing organization in writing, as much as possible.
• If you speak to someone on the phone, email them as soon as possible after the call, documenting what was discussed and decided.
Inquire with your Dean of Students about whether they are willing to write a letter endorsing your request for accommodations. This may be particularly helpful if you currently receive accommodations in law school but are missing documentation that the exam administrator requires.
When you apply to the bar, read your jurisdiction’s guidance carefully to determine what documentation you must submit for your condition and accommodations. Contact your processor or your jurisdiction’s accommodations personnel if you have any questions. Don’t guess. Don’t ask your friends. Contact the people who administer the exam.
Some jurisdictions offer an abbreviated application process for administrative accommodations (like bringing medication into the testing room) but a longer process for nonstandard testing accommodations (like extended time).
Some jurisdictions have special paperwork requirements for specific medical conditions.
Reach out to the testing organization if you have any questions about what they need from your practitioner. Do not guess.
• The practitioner must use assertive language, conveying that accommodations are necessary (not just suggested or recommended).
• The practitioner should explain how each accommodation addresses a specific symptom or limitation.
• Finish your part of the paperwork before you contact your medical practitioner.
• Send your paperwork to your practitioner so they know exactly what you have requested when they complete their own paperwork.
• Ask your practitioner to send their note to you directly before it goes to the testing organization so you can review it for completeness and accuracy.
✓ It is clear what accommodations the test-taker is requesting.
✓ The test-taker has fully explained why each accommodation is necessary to address a specific aspect of their disability.
✓ The test-taker’s writing is organized persuasively.
✓ The information in the test-taker’s paperwork matches the information in their practitioner’s note.
✓ The paperwork gives precise dates (e.g., date of diagnosis, date medical tests were administered, and dates of prior standardized tests).
✓ The test-taker signed (and notarized, if applicable*) their paperwork.
*Some jurisdictions require notarization of accommodation request materials for the bar exam. LSAT and MPRE accommodation request materials do not need to be notarized.
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