GMAT Extra Time: What You Need to Know and How to Apply for It

by Maximilian Claessens
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GMAT Extra Time - What You Need to Know and How to Apply for It

As a graduate program applicant, chances are you’ve heard about GMAT extra time and want to learn more about it. The GMAT is widely accessible in terms of exam delivery and test center locations. However, not every test taker can sit for the exam under standard conditions. That’s why GMAC designed accommodations to ensure that individuals with developmental and learning disabilities can take the assessment.

GMAT extra time is one of several accommodations available to test takers with physical or cognitive disabilities. It can afford you 50% or 100% additional time for the exam, meaning you could get 1 hour and 50 minutes more. To apply for the GMAT extended time accommodation, you must create a candidate profile, review the GMAT resources, and gather your supporting documentation.

If you require accommodations to sit for the GMAT, keep reading. We’ll discuss the qualification criteria for GMAT extended time. And we’ll look at how to get extra time on the GMAT.

What Is GMAT Extra Time?

GMAT extra time is an accommodation provided by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which administers and oversees the test. It levels the playing field for exam takers with sensory or learning disabilities, granting 50% or 100% additional time on the test.

Therefore, if you take the current exam with the 50% GMAT extra time accommodation, you’ll have an additional 1 hour and 50 minutes. While under the new GMAT format , you’ll have 1 hour and 7 minutes.

The amount of additional time depends on your specific needs. Also, the supporting documentation you submit with your GMAT accommodations request form will play a role in GMAC’s decision.

Although you receive more time, the test’s difficulty level doesn’t decrease. It merely makes taking the exam possible for people with learning or sensory disabilities. As a result, you’ll still need to prepare adequately and manage your time to achieve a positive outcome.

Qualification Criteria

If you’re wondering how to get extra time on the GMAT, first establish if you qualify for the accommodation. According to GMAC, test takers are eligible for accommodations if their disability falls within one of the following categories:

  • Physical/systemic disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy)
  • Attentional disabilities (e.g., attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)
  • Psychological disabilities (e.g., anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression)
  • Sensory disabilities (e.g., visual and hearing disabilities)
  • Learning/cognitive disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia)

Those categories align with applicable standards and laws, specifically the DSM-IV or DMS-V and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA describes disability as a physical or cognitive impairment that significantly restricts one’s participation in major life activities compared to the general population.

Therefore, if you feel GMAC’s categories don’t account for your disability, you can still submit an accommodations request. However, note that some physical or cognitive conditions may be deemed unreasonable by GMAC.

For instance, if they affect the skills measured by the GMAT, such as integrated reasoning or problem-solving. In addition, your request may be deemed unreasonable if it threatens exam security. Or if it changes the predictive nature of the resulting test scores compared with results achieved under standard conditions.

In the case of the GMAT extra time accommodation, your disability should prevent you from completing the exam within the given time. For instance, an individual with a learning disability would likely need more time to process the exam’s content than someone with a vision disability.

As a result, you won’t need to complete a GMAT accommodations request form if you require the following comfort aids:

  • Pillow for neck, back, or injured limb support
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Insulin pump
  • Neck brace or collar

How to Apply for GMAT Extra Time

Now that you know the qualification criteria for GMAT extended time, you’ve likely established that you can get extra time on the GMAT. The next base you’ll need to cover is submitting an accommodations request form. This involves the following:

  1. Read through the GMAT resources
  2. Create your candidate profile on the MBA.com website
  3. Compile your supporting documentation
  4. Submit an accommodation request

The application process is the same for all qualifying categories. However, the supporting documentation you’ll need to submit differs.

We’ll walk you through the application process below and dive deeper into the materials you’ll need to submit. Bear in mind that you should start this process early. For instance, if you plan to take the GMAT in July, submit your accommodations request form in March.

1. Review the GMAT Resources

When determining how to get extra time on the GMAT, read the GMAT™ Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities thoroughly. It outlines all you need to know about GMAC’s accommodations.

2. Create Your Candidate Profile

Visit MBA.com and create a candidate profile. You’ll be required to submit your contact information and ID number to successfully create your profile.

Note that you shouldn’t register for the GMAT at this stage. This is because you’ll receive a standard testing appointment, which you won’t be able to change to an accommodated testing appointment.

Also, you can’t register for an accommodated testing appointment until you receive an accommodation decision. Once GMAC approves your request, you’ll receive instructions to schedule an accommodated testing appointment.

3. Compile Your Supporting Documentation

All test takers seeking the GMAT extra time accommodation must submit supporting documentation with their request. These documents will help GMAC understand your unique history and current needs.

Therefore, you should cover the following in your accommodation request:

  • How your disability prevents you from taking the GMAT exam under standard conditions.
  • How your disability presently affects your studies, taking exams, and completing practice tests. And, if applicable, how your condition influences your ability to work in a professional setting.
  • How your condition affects social activities and daily living.
  • Whether you received formal or informal accommodations before and during college.
  • How you performed in school before college and whether you were placed in regular, advanced, or special education classrooms.
  • Whether you’ve taken any other standardized exams such as the GRE, TOEFL, ACT, or SAT and if you received any accommodations.
  • A thorough justification for why it’s necessary or appropriate to receive approval for the GMAT extra time accommodation.

Therefore, a diagnosis won’t suffice. You must submit a comprehensive report/letter explaining your condition/disability and how it prevents you from taking the GMAT under standard conditions.

Providing as much detail as possible about your disability can significantly influence whether your accommodations request is approved. In fact, GMAC encourages test takers to provide adequate and comprehensive documentation. If a test taker doesn’t sufficiently document their disability, there’s a higher chance the accommodation request won’t be approved.

Since each disability GMAC covers is distinct in symptoms and severity, let’s dive deeper into the documentation required per case.

Documentation Guidelines by Disability Type

Attentional Disabilities

Attentional disabilities specifically refer to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When submitting your request for the GMAT extra time accommodation, you must document the following:

  • Diagnosis information: Share details about when you were diagnosed with ADHD. If your diagnosis was recent, explain why you think your condition was only diagnosed later in life.
  • School performance: Describe your condition’s impact on your school performance, from early education to college. Were you placed in regular, advanced, or accommodations classes? And did you experience any trouble while studying, taking exams, or practicing test material? Also, include details about the grades you earned and any repeated years to the best of your recollection.
  • Home and/or work life: Describe how ADHD influences carrying out practical tasks and social interactions with others. If applicable, explain its impact on your current and previous job roles and responsibilities, including accommodations and coping strategies. Should your employer not know about your condition, don’t fret. GMAC merely wants to understand how your attentional disability affects your ability to meet occupational demands.
  • Past accommodations: Explain what formal and informal accommodations you received before and during college. For example, additional exam time or test breaks. Also, state when they were implemented. Describe the accommodations you received if you’ve taken other standardized tests like the PSAT, GRE, or TOEFL. Additionally, share your percentile scores and provide a copy of your score report(s).

A professional assessment is also required for individuals with an attentional disability. Therefore, you must receive an evaluation from a licensed clinical or educational psychologist.

The psychologist should provide a clear DSM-5 or ICD-10 diagnosis. And they must document the nature and severity of your symptoms. Also, they should describe how your condition affects your academic, occupational, social, and practical performance.

Learning and Cognitive Disorders

Learning and cognitive disorders include but are not limited to, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Your request for any accommodations, including GMAT extra time, must include the following information:

  • Diagnosis information: Describe when you were diagnosed with a learning or cognitive disability. If recently diagnosed, explain why you think your condition went undiagnosed for months or years.
  • School performance: Explain how your condition affected your performance during early education and college, including placement in regular, advanced, or accommodations classes. And include details you recall about the grades you earned and any repeated years. Also, describe your experiences while studying, taking exams, or practicing test material.
  • Work-life: If you’re currently working, explain how your condition affects your performance in professional settings. Include details about your current and past job titles and responsibilities, your condition’s impact on each, and accommodations and coping strategies. If your employer doesn’t know about your disability, don’t worry. GMAC only wants to understand how the learning or cognitive disability affects your ability to meet occupational demands.
  • Past accommodations: Describe any formal and informal accommodations you received before and during college, such as additional exam time or test breaks. Moreover, explain when they were in place. If you’ve taken other standardized tests in the past, explain what accommodations you received, if any. Additionally, note down your percentile scores and provide a copy of your score report(s).

In addition to that information, a licensed clinical or educational psychologist must conduct a professional evaluation. You should receive a clear DSM-5 or ICD-10 diagnosis with a detailed description of your symptoms.

An explanation of how your symptoms affect your performance academically, socially, and occupationally should also be provided. And your evaluation should include standardized academic tasks similar to the demands of a GMAC assessment.

Physical/Systemic Disabilities

Physical and systemic disabilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mobility disabilities
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cancer
  • Chemic sensitivities
  • Spinal cord injuries

For GMAC to understand how your disability requires an accommodation such as GMAT extra time, a trained professional must provide the following information:

  • A precise diagnosis with a detailed description of medical exams conducted to rule out other conditions.
  • The severity of the functional effect of your disability in academic/testing settings and daily living. And the information used to determine the severity of your condition’s impact compared to most individuals.
  • A statement explaining the appropriate accommodations for you in academic and testing settings. Also, how those accommodations can mitigate your current symptoms or challenges.

In addition, the physician who prescribed any medications you’re currently taking should provide a statement about how they may influence your performance during a GMAC assessment.

Suppose you received an evaluation before that provides adequate details about your condition. And it states that your symptoms and functional abilities are relatively stable over time.

In that case, GMAC may accept this documentation. However, it shouldn’t be older than three years. If your condition is variable regarding symptoms and functional impact, your evaluation must be more recent.

It’s advised that your evaluator include their name, title, and professional credentials in a report typed with an official letterhead, dated, and signed.

Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders comprise anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. However, GMAC may also consider other psychological conditions.

They will need to understand how your condition warrants a request for the GMAT extra time accommodation. Therefore, you should submit an evaluation by a licensed mental health care professional.

Your evaluation should include your evaluator’s name, title, and professional qualifications. And along with being typed with an official letterhead, dated, and signed, the report or letter should include the following information:

  • A diagnosis: Your evaluator must provide a clear DSM-5 or ICD-10 diagnosis, including a detailed description of your symptoms and their relation to relevant criteria. Also, it should show that other conditions your symptoms could be linked to were deemed unrelated.
  • The severity of your condition: The report must indicate the severity of your functional performance in an academic/testing setting and other areas of your life. Detailed descriptions of your past and current symptoms and their severity compared to most people are also necessary. In this case, information from outside sources would provide sufficient clarity. As well as normed, performance-based measures of processing speed or attention.
  • Descriptions of treatments, medications, supports, and accommodations: All formal and informal treatments, medications, aids, and accommodations used to address your disability and symptoms should be included in the report.
  • Recommended accommodations: Your evaluator should add a statement with recommended accommodations for you in academic and testing settings. Any concessions you currently use in other settings and how they relate to your specific symptoms should also be included.

In the case of psychological disabilities, GMAC accepts any current and thorough evaluations that are several years old. Therefore, you can submit that initial medical assessment. And a brief updated evaluation from a mental health care professional about your condition’s present severity and impact.

Sensory Disabilities

Hearing disabilities, blindness, and low vision are some sensory disabilities highlighted by GMAC. But any other disability that affects one’s senses and requires the expertise of a licensed health care professional like an audiologist qualifies for accommodations.

You’ll need to undergo an evaluation by an appropriately licensed medical professional. And they must provide the following information:

  • A precise diagnosis, including a detailed list of tests administered and external documents reviewed. The test results should be presented in sufficient detail, allowing a comparably trained professional to inspect them.
  • An explanation of how severe your functional disability is in academic/testing settings and your daily life. Also, a description of the criteria used to determine the severity of your disability.
  • A statement detailing appropriate accommodations for you in academic and testing settings, including how each can help you manage your current symptoms or challenges.

A recent audiogram must be added to the report for test takers with hearing disabilities. While the latest visual acuity data must be included for individuals with visual disabilities.

In addition, perhaps you’re currently taking medication that may affect your performance on the GMAT. In that case, the prescribing physician should provide a statement about the medications you typically take in academic and testing settings. And their influence on your cognitive abilities, including attention and processing speed.

If you received a detailed evaluation that states your symptoms and functional abilities are relatively stable over time, you can submit that with your request. But it shouldn’t be older than three years. Should your condition’s symptoms or functional impact vary, ensure your evaluation is recent.

Lastly, your evaluator should include all the information relevant to your condition in a report typed with an official letterhead, signed, and dated. And their name, title, and professional credentials should be included.

4. Submit an Accommodations Request

Once you’ve gathered the documentation required to support your GMAT accommodations request, it’s time to submit the form. The Test Accommodation Request Form should be completed and submitted on the mba.com testing accommodations page. Simply click ‘Apply For Accommodations’ to begin the process.

Upon submitting the form, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Then within 24 hours of your submission, you should see the status of your accommodation requests on your mba.com My Account page.

It can take up to 30 days to receive a response for a GMAT disability accommodations request. As a result, you should submit your application well before the date you wish to sit for the GMAT exam.

Also, you shouldn’t submit a payment with your accommodation request. Should your bid for GMAT extended time or another accommodation be approved, you’ll receive a written decision with the next steps. And at this point, the GMAC will request you make the payment to schedule your testing appointment when ready.

Other Accommodations Available for GMAT Test Takers

Besides GMAT extra time, other GMAT disability accommodations are available for the exam’s current and focus edition. This includes the following:

  • Additional or extended rest breaks
  • Zoom test software or enlarged font on the PC monitor
  • Adjustable contrast
  • A trackball mouse
  • Admittance of a medical device in the testing rooms
  • A sign language interpreter
  • A recorder/reader to read items or record responses

Note that there may be other accommodations available. Plus, you may request concessions that aren’t listed on the form. In that case, the specific accommodation you request must be supported by your disability type and documentation submitted.

Conclusion

Perhaps you’re considering taking the GMAT. But you’re wondering, “Can you get extra time on the GMAT?” Well, that depends on several factors stipulated by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Certain medical conditions and disabilities qualify for accommodations. This includes attention disabilities like ADHD and sensory impairments like low vision. According to GMAC, the disability must reasonably prevent a test taker from sitting for the GMAT exam compared to the general population.

You can apply for GMAT extra time or any other accommodation on the MBA.com website. First, ensure you read the GMAT™ Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities carefully. It details the bases you should cover when undergoing evaluations to submit with your GMAT accommodations request form.

Note that when you take the GMAT with any accommodation, the schools you apply to won’t know. Your score report will be presented as everyone else’s. Should you require your school to know that you need accommodations, GMAC can disclose the information with your written approval.

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