Grrrr, GMAT accommodations

I can safely say, applying for reasonable adjustment otherwise known as accommodations for the GMAT was the most stressful thing I have ever done. Yep, this even before I went ill with stress.

If you’re a regular test taker you can book a GMAT test inside of 20 minutes on the Internet. Just have your credit card handy.

But no, it took me three months!

So let me try to provide advice to all those test takers that need accommodations.

It takes time to organise, so you need to prepare ahead and realise you are going to need to put in a fair amount of work to prove you really need the accommodations.
First step is read and down load the guide you need.

I can speak in detail about my experience as a dyslexic person but here are some general tips that might help:

  1. Set aside substantial portion of time to get the papers organised. You can’t expect to get a GMAT date in 20 minutes. It took me three months.
  2. Learn how to use your nearest fax machine. They only accept documents by fax. Let me be clear. This is very expensive! If you can, try to find a free international fax service.
  3. Recognise they work to US law rather your own countries. So expectations may be different.
  4. Find every scrap of paper you have proving your disability and its impact on your ability to perform in test situations. I even used psychometric tests I sat when going for promotion to proof that my disability affects my ability to perform as expected on tests.
  5. Write a personal essay setting out the impact.
  6. Do phone or discuss your queries with GMAT accommodation team. They are very helpful and a resource to be used. though it’s a bit of work to get through the people who can help, it’s worth it.
  7. When booking the test, if times given don’t suit, ask if there is flexibility. They wanted me to  start the test at 7am, by asking I got it moved to 9:30am.

My experience 

What I found the most difficult  out of the whole process was organising the evidence to prove the impact my disability had on my ability to take tests. Proving I was dyslexic was not enough.

Step 1: proving you have a disability

I needed to have an up to date dyslexia assessment. These are expensive. If you hadn’t one in a while try to get work to pay for one to help identify what reasonable adjustments you need for work. Thankfully I needed to have one done a couple of years ago so I was fine.

Step 2: proving the impact of your disability on your ability to take tests
That was more difficult as I my exam results through school and uni were good. This is where the personal essay really helps. It helps you bring out what challenges you had at what stages and what reasonable adjustments you had in place at what time. To prove the impact my dyslexia has I provided my school exam results, my transcripts for both my degree and my master, results of my psychometric testing for promotion at work and even my annual appraisals.

Step 3: requesting the right accommodations

To add to the fun, British people don’t take standardised tests so I have not a clue what are reasonable accommodations for me on a test of this type. Nor have I been able to find a british based psychologist who has experience at advising on accommodations  for standardised tests. The accommodations I have got have been based on GMAT accommodation team advice and I now question whether I have right ones.  Though I’m thankful I have them. So learn from my experience, be clear what you need upfront and try to get the evidence to support it.

In comparison resits are easy. Fill out the form, fax  it, and should be sorted in a week.


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7 responses to “Grrrr, GMAT accommodations”

  1. Fran says :

    Hello and thank you for this post.i have had similar problems and in the end I gave up and I sat the test without the extra time. I’d really like to try again with the extra time though, would you be able to send me the details of the British based psychologist you used?

    • sarahrs81 says :


      I couldn’t find a psychologist in london who understands american standardised tests. The only document i used was my dsylexia assessment that was done to help my work assess what reasonable adjustments i needed.

  2. C says :

    Great read.. Can anyone point me in the direction of audiobooks to prepare for the GMAT??

    • sarahrs81 says :

      Audible has some gmat books. There also some pod casts with videos by khan academy that are good. My other suggestion would be gmat Manhattan online interactive tool. Used that when they trailed it and my IR score went from 2 to 7.

  3. Miguel Castro says :

    Hi. thanks for the post, is realy helpfull. could you tel me what kind of special accomodations they gave you as a dislexic ? i am dislexic as well and y would like to know if is worth the efford,

    • sarahrs81 says :

      I got advice from GMAT accommodations themselves. They suggested 50% extra time and an additional break.

      If you need reasonable adjustments definitely worth the effort of getting.
      I also suggest looking at the GRE as well as its more dyslexic friendly and it’s much easier to get reasonable adjustments.
      In part decisions about what standardised test you do depend what business schools you want to apply for and what tests they accept.

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