Taking the Bar Exam with ADHD or Autism Spectrum

Tips for Assessment If You May Need Accommodations

At Therapy Lab, we’ve worked with many students and professionals preparing to take major exams and licensing tests–like state bar exams, medical boards, and standardized tests like the MCAT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT. And we know how important it is for those who may have ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to get the right support.  That support includes proper assessment, which allows either for a rigorous, scientifically-valid diagnosis (i.e., not just a TikTok guess) and the documentation required by the testing service. 

If you think you might qualify for testing accommodations due to ADHD or ASD, this guide will help you navigate the assessment process to make sure you get what you need.

Assessment: What is it and why do I need it?

The Bar Exam is a rigorous test that requires sustained attention, organization, and the ability to manage stress effectively. For individuals with ADHD or ASD, these demands can be particularly challenging. An assessment can provide a formal diagnosis and recommended testing accommodations, information that is required to receive accommodations like extended time, a quiet testing environment, or the use of assistive technology.

"The Bar Exam is a rigorous test that requires sustained attention, organization, and the ability to manage stress effectively."

Psychological assessments are administered by highly trained psychologists and similar professionals who are specially trained to perform the service and write the comprehensive document to summarize the need for testing accommodations.

Steps to Finding an Assessment

  1. Recognize the Need: Start by acknowledging any persistent challenges you've faced in academic or work settings. Common signs of ADHD include difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. For ASD, look for patterns such as difficulties in social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. If these symptoms impact your daily life, an assessment could be beneficial.
  2. Consult Your Primary Care Physician: Your primary care physician (PCP) is a good starting point. They can provide referrals to specialists and ensure there are no underlying medical conditions contributing to your symptoms. Discuss your concerns openly and request a referral for a psychological evaluation.
  3. Find a Qualified Specialist: Look for a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or neuropsychologist with experience in diagnosing ADHD and ASD in adults. Professional organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Autism Society can provide directories of qualified professionals.
  4. Prepare for the Assessment: Gather relevant documents such as academic records, previous psychological evaluations, and any notes on your symptoms. This information will help the specialist understand your history and current functioning. Be ready to discuss how your symptoms impact your ability to study and take exams.
  5. Undergo the Evaluation: The assessment typically involves a series of interviews, questionnaires, and standardized tests. For ADHD, tests may focus on attention, executive functioning, and memory. For ASD, the evaluation will examine social communication skills, behavioral patterns, and sensory sensitivities. This process may take several sessions.  Usually assessments are conducted in person, but some providers may be able to provide them remotely, either partially or fully.
  6. Receive the Diagnosis and Recommendations: After the evaluation, the specialist will provide a detailed report outlining the findings and recommendations. If you are diagnosed with ADHD or ASD, this report will be essential for applying for Bar Exam accommodations.

Applying for Bar Exam Accommodations

  1. Review Bar Exam Policies: Each state’s Bar Exam board has specific guidelines for requesting accommodations. Visit their website or contact them directly to understand the requirements and deadlines.
  2. Compile Your Documentation: Submit the assessment report, a personal statement, and any additional documentation required by the Bar Exam board. This may include forms filled out by your specialist and evidence of previous accommodations if applicable.
  3. Advocate for Yourself: Follow up with the exam board to ensure your application is complete and to address any questions they may have. It’s important to be proactive and persistent.


Securing accommodations for the Bar Exam can significantly impact your performance and reduce the stress associated with this pivotal test. By recognizing the need for an assessment, consulting with professionals, and navigating the evaluation process, you can set yourself up for success. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and a step towards achieving your professional goals.

At Therapy Lab, we offer assessments for individuals with ADHD or ASD who are preparing for an exam or other circumstance that may require an assessment in order to offer proper accommodations.  We are located in Los Angeles, and many clients choose to travel to our office to complete testing most efficiently.  We may also be able to offer remote testing for clients residing in California, Washington, or New York. Book a free welcome call to learn more or to schedule an assessment.

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