I'm taking the MCAT in just over a month, and I was reading up on their "guidelines" for test-taking, which are nothing short of horrific and cruel-sounding. (I understand why they have to have rules--cheating is a very big problem. But rules like if you take off your sweater you have to leave the room to put it in your locker in the middle of the test are just too much. Especially because you take time away from your test to do so.)
The biggest issue that I can foresee is the rigidity regarding what you can bring in the room. I can bring photo ID, pens, and pencils. That's it. No water, no food, no meter.
They have a PDF about getting "accommodated" for the test. It's mostly for disabilities that affect academia. https://www.aamc.org/students/download/151456/data/documenting_physical_disabilities.pdf
Basically, I have to have my endocrinologist write a very lengthy letter that encompasses a LOT that they don't need to hear about, just to get my meter and maybe a juice box inside the testing room. I'm probably not allowed to bring water in case of highs or food to follow up a low treatment with.
As if the MCAT isn't stressful enough!
Has anyone had experience in dealing with the Pro-Metric testing sites and how strict they are? This includes LSAT, PCAT, MCAT, etc. Did they give you a hard time despite a letter from your doctor? Was BG testing during the exam an issue as far as "cheating" is concerned? (Yes, my blood sugar is 95--that must be the answer to the Physics problem!) Any information--even just an "I did it and it was neither good nor bad"--would be helpful here.
With all the time and energy that you've probably invested in getting ready for this test, it would be ashamed if a low or high ruined the day. It's ironic that this is the "Medical College Admissions Test!" If it were me, I would do whatever's necessary by way of the accommodation process to have a meter, test strips, water and glucose tabs at my side. Just having these supplies ready will probably mean you won't even need them.
Good luck on the test! Sorry, I can't give you any personal experience with this test envoronment.
Hi Guitarnut: I took a test in a Prometric test center in January. They both accomodated me for my diabetes care and most importantly I passed the test! I did have to get a letter from my endo, which was straightforward, and I had to call Prometric to request "special accomodation." I actually wrote up the letter that my endo used--I'd be glad to share it with you. I stated that I needed to have my test kit and emergency supplies with me, which was granted. Prometric went one step further, when I stated I would be testing my blood sugar during the exam--they put me in a separate room by myself (I guess they did not want me to freak out any other test-takers). You just need to go to a Prometric center that has separate rooms (not all do). Please email me with any specific questions. I would say it was a bit of a hassle but I was accomodated.
Yes, I went to Prometric for my CCM exam. It is rigid, BUT I did fine, they let me keep my pump with me and lol I didn't even THINK about I might need a letter from the Endo. But it is a rigid testing environment. My suggestion if you BG is a little unstable, just run a little higher for the time you are taking your test. I seriously had no problems. I tested right when I got there, was fine. Didn't need to test again for the 2 + hours I was there. I was able to keep my pump, but just left my meter in my purse. Of course everyone is different and if you would feel more comfortable, get your endo to write the letter. Not having it with me for two hours wasn't a big deal for me.
I can't "run higher" because I have pretty much zero control over my BG except for eating low carb. And if I "ran higher", even in the 150's, I would not be functional enough to take the test. Obviously I'll do what I can, but especially in the high-stress environment, there's only so much I can do or predict.
Then I think in a situation like that I'd strongly suggest getting your Endo to write the letter explaining what you need. I think as long as you have a letter and make your accomodations known, they will work with you. If you do feel you need to test frequently then yes I'd recommend a testing center where they can put you in a individual room. Not to be mean but those rooms are DEAD silent, and the smallest little noise is magnified a million times, and its not fair to other test takers to be distracted because of our needs. They have just as much right to taking a test in a non distracting testing center as possible. I believe as long as you make the proper requests and have the proper documentation to support it Prometric will be very accomodating to your needs. Like I said I had forgotten all about my pump, I was just if necessary was going to pre bolus the amount I would think I would need and disconnect, but when I explained to them it was my insulin pump, showed it to them, they were fine. Of course food, glucose tabs, meters, etc because honestly you may not think they are that loud but even with head phones one to block the noise, I could STILL hear some noise. It is THAT deathly quiet in there. So I can see why if all possible they want to not allow it, or if need be set up special arrangements to accomodate you and your needs, but not make your needs a distraction for other test takers. Good luck on your MCATs.
When I took the GRE I was on MDI, so the pump wasn't an issue. None of the sections were over an hour long. I left my meter in my locker, and tested between each section, which worked out to be about as often as I would have if I were with my meter. I told the testing center people what was up, and they were fine with it. I think the weirdest thing for me was the fact I had to roll up my sleeves every time I reentered the testing area.
For what it's worth, my blood sugar didn't go high.
Weird to think that accredited doctors having cheated on MCAT. I used to get incredible spikes from adrenaline during final exams. Good luck!
It has been a few years since lat time i took the GRE, but I pretty much agree with what Teowynhe said about the situation I found at the test center. Everyone was accommodating so long as I showed them the letter from my endo. I knwo I was taking the test with some Mcat test takers, and i believe they would have been accommodated in the same manner as I was.
Now one thing you might try is calling the test center and asking for the director. They can give you the particulars at their test site. I think i would call or drop in etc. One thing, I do no believe they would allow any food in the site testing center.
That was a big change thing for me, I had taken the GRE in 1984 and they allowed food inside the testing center at that time. Neither time however did I go low. I mean I was stable all test long.
Prometric actually has specific instructions for getting "special accomodations" which in reality are ADA reasonable accomodations. I just followed their instructions. My test was four hours, and there is no way I can go four hours without all my gear with me. I wore my pump and CGM, and had my entire test kit/emergency kit in the individual room they put me in. It was a bit of a hassle to jump through their hoops, but again I would just encourage you to follow their specific instructions.
And my apologies, Guitarnut, I forgot you are not on exogenous insulin. I'd say just follow Prometric's guidelines for whatever reasonable accomodations you need to comfortably take the test. Best of luck to you on the MCATs!
Well since you are not on insulin I think the possibility of a dangerous low is essentially zero, and since you seem to manage quite well with diet and metformin, I think that if I were you I’d just set blood sugar concerns aside for a couple days and focus on your huge test. I think you will be fine without all those things without any exception to the rules— I personally wouldn’t want any special accommodations made for me unless I absolutely needed them-- only you can decide if you absolutely need them but I have faith that you can do fine without if you choose. Good luck on your test its a very big deal!
Hello, I recently joined this forum to share my two cents on this matter...I'm taking the MCAT in about a week and had a similar situation, in which I missed the required 30-60 window to request accommodations, and I did not want to move my exam date due to application dead lines for medical school. Well, thankfully upon calling the actual test center I found out from the administrator that I can bring in glucose tablets..I will be putting a bunch in a clear plastic bag. Just in case I also had my doctor write a letter describing the medical necessity of glucose tablets in an exogenous insulin dependent individual like myself. So that is good news. I hope this helps someone out there. You're not alone!
Forgot about this post-- hard to believe it was over a year ago. How’d the MCATS go?
Please see links below for update testing accommodations 2015 for MCAT and other high stakes tests:
ADA.gov - please see the technical assistance document posted on 9/2015 - Redirecting…
One year later… How did the MCAT go for you? I still remember what a beotch that test was 30+ years later. I swear I owe my high score (and I guess my medical career) to 9 months of 12-hour days studying my a$$ off at Stanley Kaplan. That and my lucky underwear and lucky pencil…