Petition for Non-Standard Testing Accommodations - GUIDELINES

Following is the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners' (Board) policy for determining whether to grant test accommodations on the Virginia Bar Exam:

In deciding the merits of Petitions for Non-Standard Testing Accommodations, 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 accommodations. Petitions for Non-Standard Testing Accommodations will be reviewed by the Board's expert(s) and should comply with the Guidelines and Instructions below.

  • ONLY those applicants requesting non-standard testing accommodations should complete this Petition. Applicants who wish to request permission to bring an item into the exam that 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 Accommodations Request Form.
  • Having an impairment does not make an individual disabled for purposes of the ADA/ADAAA and does not automatically qualify an applicant for an accommodation. An applicant must demonstrate that the impairment limits a major life activity. To qualify as being disabled under the ADA/ADAAA, an applicant must show that the limitation on the major life activity is "substantial." "Substantial" means "considerable" or "specified to a large degree."
  • An applicant will be compared to the average person in the general population in determining whether a disability substantially limits one or more of their major life activities.
  • The negative effects of corrective and mitigating measures, such as side effects of medication or burdens associated with following a particular treatment regimen, may be considered when determining whether an 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, by 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.
  • Applicants may be required to submit to independent diagnostic testing at their expense by a licensed healthcare professional.
  • Applicants requesting non-standard testing accommodations have the responsibility to meet the same application filing deadline as all applicants applying to take the bar exam. 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.
  • Applicants must submit documentation from their physician(s) or licensed healthcare professional(s) that details the basis for the request. If additional time is being requested, the specific amount of additional time must be indicated.
  • Forms must be typed and sworn to before a notary public.
  • If the applicant’s Petition is illegible, incomplete, or does not substantiate the claimed disability, the request for accommodations may be denied.
  • All inquiries in regard to an applicant’s Petition for Non-Standard Testing Accommodations must be in writing.
  • After the Board has acted upon the applicant’s Petition, a written notice of the disposition will be mailed to the applicant approximately one month prior to the exam.
  • 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 the 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/her application in accordance with Section VI of the Rules of the Board.

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 expert(s) 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 Exam, nor do accommodations previously granted on a past Virginia Bar Exam necessarily entitle applicants to accommodations on a future exam.