Information & Applications » NTA » Nonstandard Testing Accommodation
Nonstandard testing accommodation (NTA) may be provided to qualified applicants with disabilities in connection with an Illinois bar examination to the extent such accommodation is reasonable, consistent with the nature and purpose of the examination, and necessitated, in each instance, by the disability of the applicant. The burden of proof is on the applicant to establish both the existence of a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the corresponding need for the specific NTA requested.
The ADA defines "disability" as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual's major life activities." "Substantially" means "considerable" or "specified to a large degree." Comparison to the average person in the general population is made when determining whether a disability substantially limits a major life activity. Additionally, the effects of corrective and mitigating measures, both positive and negative, will be considered in determining whether an applicant is substantially limited in a major life activity.
Under the ADA, the Board can require specific documentation to verify that an applicant is an individual for whom accommodations are required. The Board does this by requiring completion of various forms by the applicant and his or her medical or psychological authority, as well as by educational institutions, testing entities, and employers from whom the applicant has received NTA. Detailed diagnostic information and documentation is required, of course, from the applicant's medical or psychological authority.
Applicants must file fully completed NTA forms and supporting documents simultaneously with any paper portion of their applications. Any diagnosis or injury occurring after the final late filing deadline will NOT be accommodated in Nonstandard Testing under any circumstances. The forms and fees of those applicants will be carried forward to the next examination when proper and complete verification of accommodations requests can be made. All requests for nonstandard testing accommodations are submitted to an independent consulting expert of the Board for review and recommendation. After the final late filing deadline, there is simply not sufficient time for applicants to file proper NTA requests, to request and submit all of the proper forms from providers, employers and educational institutions, for the Board’s consulting experts to review all documentation and make recommendations, and then for the Board to make necessary arrangements for administering the exam with appropriate nonstandard testing accommodations.
Accordingly, applicants can obtain NTA forms and instructions at any time by visiting the information & applications page. The forms and instructions are also available with examination application forms during periods of time that bar examination registration is open.
Bar exam applicants seeking an Administrative Accommodation at the exam must now fill out an Administrative Accommodation Request Form. An Administrative Accommodation (AA) provides a courtesy arrangement for applicants with certain health-related issues in standard test rooms following the standard testing schedule.★ The forms and instructions are also available with examination forms during periods of time that bar examination registration is open. This form with medical documentation must be received by our office no later than February 1 for a February exam, and no later than July 1 for a July exam.
Common examples of AA requests:
● MEDICAL DEVICE -Permission to bring a medical device or support such as lumbar cushion, boot, brace, sling, diabetic supply, glucose monitor, insulin pump, inhaler, EpiPen, etc., into the test room;
● SPECIAL SEATING - due to a medical condition (e.g., near restroom due to late stage pregnancy) or need for space for a wheelchair, scooter, crutches or other orthopedic device;
● MEDICATION - Permission to bring over-the-counter or prescription medication or food and beverage for medical reasons;
● BREAST PUMPING - Permission to bring a lactation pump and accessories, including cooler with ice packs, to: Option-1 Standard Test Room – where the examinee will be provided a private space to use the pump during restroom or lunch breaks within the standard testing schedule, or Option 2-AA Test Room – where the examinee will be provided a private space to use the pump during the exam with stop-the-clock breaks of up to 30 minutes per 3 hours of testing.
Note: administratively-accommodated breast pumping in Option 2 provides the only deviation from the standard testing schedule for which an applicant does not submit Nonstandard Testing Accommodation forms.
★ In contrast, a Nonstandard Testing Accommodation (NTA) is an entirely separate form of accommodation provided to applicants with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) who have health-related conditions such as physical impairments, learning disorders, visual and hearing impairments, and psychiatric and psychological disorders. A NTA accommodation may deviate from the standard testing schedule. NTA requests are reviewed by an outside consultant, have stricter deadlines, and require specific documentation.