Academic Accommodations for the GRE

If you are reading this page you are probably seeking some answers concerning the GRE. It may be that you or someone you know is preparing for the test and feel it’s not going well. You may even be wondering if you would qualify for academic accommodations like extended time on test sections or extra breaks between sections. You may be surprised to know that there are numerous psychological conditions/disorders that may make you eligible for academic accommodations on this daunting high stakes test.

The Graduate Record Exam or, “GRE,” is the standardized test thought to assess the intellectual and academic skills that are necessary to gain entry into most master’s and doctoral programs. A doctorate in psychology, history, or English, a master’s degree in nursing or counseling, or becoming a Physician’s Assistant, these are a few examples of the types of programs that utilize a student’s GRE score as one component of the admissions process. The GRE is comprised of a 60 minute analytical writing section, a 70 minute quantitative section, and a 60 minute verbal section (as well as one unscored multiple choice section). The test is typically computer administered and students get a one minute break between each section and an optional 10 minute break after the 3rd section.

Making a good GRE score is challenging for even the best students. The pressure to do well, a short amount of time to complete complex verbal and quantitative tests, and the knowledge you’re competing with thousands of other students – the stress is immense. Almost all students will at times suffer from performance anxiety and concentration problems when prepping for and taking the GRE.

But what if one’s emotional and intellectual functioning seems abnormally impaired? In these instances, gaining a psychoeducational assessment can diagnose the problem, outline a treatment plan, and gain a student deserved academic accommodations.

Typical diagnoses stemming from a psychoeducational assessment are:

  • ADHD
  • Specific Learning Disorder in Reading (Dyslexia)
  • Specific Learning Disorder in Math (Dyscalculia)
  • Specific Learning Disorder in Writing
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder (Dysgraphia)
  • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders
  • Emotional Conditions such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Once it’s been determined that you suffer from a clinical psychological condition that is affecting academic performance, you can typically use this information to apply for accommodations on the GRE. The most common accommodations available on the GRE are:

  • Extended time (e.g., time and a half) on all test sections
  • Increased number of breaks during the test administration
  • Screen magnification and selectable foreground and background colors

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Your testing process will be supervised by a psychologist and the assessment will begin with a clinical interview to get necessary background info. After, you will be tested by a psychometrician who will administer intellectual, academic, attention, emotion, and personality measures.

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Though ADHD symptoms are easily recognizable in many people, they are not as apparent in high achieving college students who put in grueling hours to achieve their grades, leaving them beleaguered and taxed. These students often lack sleep and are very susceptible to developing anxiety and depressive disorders that compound their ADHD symptoms. For these students, academic accommodations are essential.

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