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Expert Q&A

Can a student get twice the amount of time to complete their exams instead of time and a half?

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and given accommodations of “time-and-a-half” on my law school exams. Unfortunately, I am still having a very difficult time finishing the exams so I requested double-time accommodations. My request was denied and both my Dean and my psychologist says double-time is too extraordinary.

Is this typical? Why is double-time extraordinary? I was under the impression I was being accommodated to help me finish the exams, which I’m sure I could do with double-time. My Dean wants me to pinpoint why I’m not finishing (i.e. due to fact patterns being too long) but it is next to impossible for me to do that, when my processing time and organizational problems are mostly to blame.

I’ve already paid a lot of money for a thorough reported diagnosis for the school. I don’t have the time or money to take this through a court process. Am I asking for too much by requesting double-time?

Your question addresses whether you should be able to receive double time on your law school exams, rather than “time–and-a-half.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to clinically and precisely tie the presence of ADHD or a learning disability to the need for a specific amount of additional time on tests. A number of schools and test organizations are tightening their documentation requirements for extra time and particularly for “extra extra” time.

Under the law, the burden is with the person requesting the accommodation to establish the need for the specific accommodation. You should also consult with the clinicians who evaluated you to enlist their help in documenting why 1 ½ time is not sufficient.

You may also want to get your tests to show problems with completion. You may also want to check with your university’s disability services officer for help. See question “What can be done when a scholarship is lost because lack of accommodation causes the student to get lower grades?” for additional resources.

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