Petition for Non-Standard Testing - GUIDELINES

Following is the Board's policy for determining whether to grant test accommodations on the Virginia Bar Examination:

In deciding the merits of petitions for accommodations by bar applicants, the Board relies upon the definition of disability contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA/ADAAA), and as interpreted by controlling case law.

The Board recognizes that other non-ADA medical conditions may necessitate a request for testing modifications. Petitions for Non-Standard testing will be reviewed by the Board's expert(s) and should comply with the guidelines below.

PLEASE NOTE: ONLY those applicants requesting additional testing time should complete the Petition for Non-Standard Testing. Applicants who wish to request permission to bring an item into the exam, which is not on the Allowed Items list, or request special seating due to a medical condition (i.e., seated near a restroom or exit), should submit a Medical Accommodation Request Form.

  • Having an impairment does not make an individual disabled for purposes of the ADA/ADAAA and does not automatically qualify a bar applicant for an accommodation. An applicant must also demonstrate that the impairment limits a major life activity. To qualify as being disabled under the ADA/ADAAA, an applicant must also show that the limitation on the major life activity is "substantial." "Substantial" means "considerable" or "specified to a large degree."
  • A bar applicant will be compared to the average person in the general population in determining whether a disability substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual.
  • The negative effects of corrective and mitigating measures, such as side effects of medication or burdens associated with following a particular teatment regimen, may be considered when determining whether a bar applicant is "substantially limited" in a major life activity and, therefore, disabled. Corrective and mitigating measures may be measures undertaken with artificial aids, like medications and devices, and measures undertaken, whether consciously or not, with the body's own systems.
  • The determination of a disability by the Board is an individualized inquiry and will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Objective testing/diagnostic evaluations submitted by your healthcare professional to substantiate your claimed disability must have been administered within five (5) calendar years of the filing deadline for any exam to which you apply.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Requests for accommodations will be considered only after all information has been received. Filing deadlines apply to receipt of all information, including documentation requested from third parties. All documentation submitted will be retained by the Board and may be reviewed by the Board's consultants as necessary. All accommodations granted to you by the Board will be provided at no cost. Accommodations granted elsewhere do not necessarily entitle an applicant to accommodations on the Virginia Bar Examination nor do accommodations previously granted on a past Virginia Bar Examination necessarily entitle applicants to accommodations on a future exam.

FILING DEADLINE: The applicable items specified in the Petition Checklist must be completed and postmarked or received by the Board on or before the filing deadline of the exam you wish to take.

APPLICANTS REQUESTING ADDITIONAL TESTING TIME: Submit documentation from your physicians or other licensed professionals that details the basis for the requested additional time and the amount of additional time recommended. If a specific amount of additional time is not indicated, your request will not be processed.

  1. Applicants requesting non-standard testing have the responsibility to meet the same application filing deadline as individuals without disabilities. Because some of the forms require input from third parties, it is suggested that you request the appropriate individuals to complete the forms well in advance of the filing deadline.
  2. Forms must be typed and, where applicable, must be sworn to before a notary public.
  3. Inquiries regarding your Petition or other substantive matters must be in writing.
  4. If a timely filed Petition is illegible, incomplete or if the Board or the Board's expert finds the applicant or the applicant's healthcare professional has not adequately substantiated the claimed disability, the applicant will be so notified.
  5. If a disability occurs after the filing deadline, the Board will review an applicant's late Petition if it is received in the Office of the Secretary by February 1 for the February exam or July 1 for the July exam. However, such applicants must recognize that there may not be enough time to process a Petition and accompanying documentation to permit the Board to reach a determination on the Petition and to make necessary arrangements at the examination site. If the Petition is complete and the claimed disability substantiated, the Board will accommodate the applicant on a space available basis, or the applicant may carry forward his or her application in accordance with Section VI of the Rules of the Board.
  6. You may be required to submit to independent diagnostic testing AT YOUR EXPENSE by a licensed healthcare professional.
  7. You will receive a written notice of the disposition of your Petition as soon as it has been acted upon by the Board, approximately one month prior to the exam.