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Can you get special accommodations for the Bar exam?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2018 | Receiving And Maintaining Professional Licenses |

Not everyone is able to process and comprehend information at the same pace. While you can often find ways to work around a problem with those things in school or in your career, tests are so rigidly structured that it’s often impossible to compete on the same level as everyone else.

If you’ve already received testing accommodations in school, it may be easier to get the same accommodations when taking the Bar — but your case isn’t hopeless even if you haven’t. A lot of people have undocumented cognitive disabilities.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply get a letter from your psychologist or doctor saying that you would benefit from test accommodations for the Bar exam and expect to get them — the stakes are simply too high. You need to provide convincing proof to the Bar that your need is legitimate.

In order to get accommodations in California, you need to find a psychologist or doctor who is somewhat familiar with the Bar and willing to provide detailed information about your case. Be prepared to spend a good amount of time with the psychologist or doctor you choose as you go through psychological and cognitive skill testing.

You’ll also need to spend some time discussing your personal and academic history with the person who is handling your evaluation. You want to explain exactly what you’ve done up to this point to overcome your difficulties and what those difficulties look like. For example, you might point to issues in the past where:

  • You had to work twice as long as everyone else to get through reading material or when writing papers
  • You’ve struggled to comprehend what you are reading over and over again
  • You’ve experienced difficulty getting what you inherently understand and know back out on paper

The more complete the evaluation, the more likely the Bar will respond positively.

Special accommodations during Bar exams are a right for those who need them under the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you’re denied that right, that puts you at a severe disadvantage — which means you may need to think about possible legal options in response.

Source: Bar Exam ToolBox, “Leveling the playing field: Testing accommodations on the bar exam,” accessed June 08, 2018


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