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What do you guys think about Accommodated Testing?

tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
in General 2573 karma
Hello, everyone. I'm about to get extremely personal but it's no secret for me and I'm looking for honest opinions. Some know that I'm a cancer survivor and those that don't know now! Ha! So has anyone ever heard of "chemo brain" or post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment? If not, let me be the first to tell you that it is real! I have definitely experienced chemo brain and struggle with it often. There are times when I just feel out of sync and I have to stop and think if I'm over doing it or if it's chemo brain rearing its ugly head again. I know that it affects me in my every day life but I've been reluctant to accept that it affects me in my LSAT life. I think this may be due to pride and just wanting to totally erase cancer from my life and move on. I have recently come to grips with saying that chemo brain is affecting my performance on the test and I'm thinking about applying for accommodations. I'm hesitant because I don't truly want to admit that cancer has again interrupted my life and I'm also going back and forth with thinking that accommodations would be "cheating." Also, chemo brain may be viewed as ADD or ADHD is sometimes viewed. I'm not saying that those conditions aren't real because I know that they are, but you know how people kinda give the side eye when those two are mentioned? That's probably how chemo brain would be viewed. I'm also not sure if anyone can put a timeframe on the effects of chemo brain because like cancer, it is different for everyone. Not all cancer patients experience it because it's linked to certain drugs and then not all that took that drug experience it. Anyway, sorry so long but what are your honest opinions on the whole situation? Should I, or should I not apply? What are your thoughts on chemo brain and getting accommodations for it? Is it cheating? Any thoughts and opinions are greatly welcomed. TIA

Comments

  • esteeroseesteerose Alum Member
    382 karma
    I messaged you
  • inactiveinactive Alum Member
    12637 karma
    It's most definitely not cheating. Everyone's brains work differently, some are just a little more different than others. I myself have ADHD and would probably grab accommodations if I was taking the LSAT because I know very well that I couldn't possibly sit there for hours without my brain wandering off or words getting jumbled when I read. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

    Try testing with the extra time and see how it feels vs. normal time. If it's affecting you like you say it is, I'd put in an inquiry to LSAC about it and see what they can grant you. If you really feel like you don't need it, you can always request to cancel your accommodations (though I wouldn't recommend that if you're going based on pride!)

    Feel free to PM me with questions.
  • rafaelitorafaelito Alum Member
    1063 karma
    Accommodated testing is absolutely not cheating. It is the act of satisfying a need for test takers who, well, need it. From what I've read LSAC is very selective with who they allow to take the accommodated test. The specifics of you obtaining that will probably be a conversation to be had with professionals. I can not give any modicum of advice on those specifics but I do want to say that even if some people harbor a stigma against accommodated testing there are probably triple-fold those who do not.

    Best of luck to you!
  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8678 karma
    I have never read a convincing case that accommodations are in and of themselves “cheating.” We would do well to recall what accommodations still require of a test taker: the test taker is still required to be graded against the field, the test taker is still required to posses a wide array of skills applicable to the exam, the test taker is still required to sit for an exam. “Cheating” doesn’t seem to be the correct word here.

    With that being said, do what you feel is best for you.

    Good luck
    David
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    edited January 2017 2573 karma
    Thanks guys for your support and responses. I don't know if anyone remembers me posting a while back about writing and reading letters or words that aren't there but I think it might be associated with chemo brain. I've noticed in LG I'll write a letter that's not even a part of the game and often during LR and RC I've read words that aren't there. I'll read M but write something totally different like K or S or something. SMH. I have a pic of something that I read a while back and I read something totally different. I sent it to a friend but if I can find it I'll post to show you guys what I'm talking about.
  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    edited January 2017 893 karma
    First off, congratulations on being a survivor thriver. Anyone who comes through cancer and chemo and is thinking about the LSAT is kicking some serious butt.

    Good luck!!
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    Unfortunately I wasn't able to find that pic I was talking about earlier. I really want someone to see what I'm talking about! LOL

    @"Chipster Study" Thank you! I've known since I was a 4th grader that I would be an attorney so cancer didn't stand a chance! I had no clue there was rehab for chemo brain! Really?! My oncologist never mentioned it. I was just told that it's common and nobody can really say when it'll come or go. Interesting! Thank you! I'll definitely bring this up at my next appointment.

    @BinghamtonDave you're right. Cheating is probably not the right word. I complained so much about not having enough accommodations or assistance during treatment and now here I am questioning this accommodations! SMH I just never wanted to use cancer as a crutch.
    @RafaelBernard said:
    Accommodated testing is absolutely not cheating. It is the act of satisfying a need for test takers who, well, need it.
    Well when you put it like that! Lol

    @"Dillon A. Wright" I will definitely be PM you once I get my appointment scheduled.

    Thanks again everyone!
  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    edited January 2017 893 karma
    Ummm, ahem, you are probably not going to get a lot of help from your oncologist with fixing chemo brain. If nobody has mentioned it in your oncology office to date, they are not likely going to be helpful.

    Good luck!!
  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    893 karma
    BTW, I totally am familiar with the picture you are talking about. It is not an uncommon development. You also see it sometimes with blast injury TBI. It is very disconcerting to the patient when it happens. It will likely resolve when you get through rehab.
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    @"Chipster Study" Wow! How informative! I had no clue! I'm printing this page now so I can check into all of your suggestions. I'm so glad I finally posted the question! Thanks again!
  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    edited January 2017 893 karma
    You are welcome.
  • shainabarbershainabarber Alum Member
    109 karma

    I had have Narcolepsy. I didn't have any accommodations for the LSAT, as I had just been diagnosed. However, I'm in law school now, and I got my paperwork in place the 2nd week of school. I have a few key accommodations, but the big one to me is the extra time for exams. I didn't want that accommodation at first. When I met with the disability office, she asked me what I thought I needed for support, and I told her that I was mostly concerned with absences and tardiness (two of the biggest problems narcoleptics have) and I wanted some accommodation to the attendance policy. She recommended extra time for testing and I quickly rebuked it. I've always been a high performer, and I didn't feel right about using that help. BUT, she talked to me into it, by saying, "look, you might feel fine today, but you don't know how you'll feel on test day. what if you over sleep? what if you were up all night?" She made a good argument, and I figured it better to be safe than sorry. VERY quickly I realized that she was right. Law school is insanely cognitively demanding. All day. every day. I catch myself, a little sleepy, zoning out etc. When I read or study, depending on how I feel that day, I need more breaks, and to really MAKE myself do it, because the intensity level is so high, and my narcolepsy kicks in. Narcolepsy is often stress induced. Isn't that ironic? Go to law school: the most stressful thing ever ever ever. Stress exacerbates Narcolepsy so I am so tired that I feel like someone drugged me. Thus, I MUST take a nap. Napping takes up time I should be reading or studying, leaving me a lot of work to do, and less time to do it. Which stresses me out. And the cycle starts again.....

    I say all this to say, I am so happy I sucked it up and put the accommodations in place. I know I have the brain power, IQ, cognitive ability, motivation, etc etc to do this. But, Narcolepsy seriously gets in the way, in a way I cannot control. Depending on the day, I might need a little more time to get through these marathon exams because my brain keeps telling itself that stress means sleep when I'm trying to get work done, and I have to fight it every step of the way.

    I say all this to say: if you plan to go to law school, I promise you that chemo brain is going to make your life harder. You'll have to work harder and longer than others to learn the same material. You might not be able to spit out an eloquent and well formed response to the professor when cold-called in class. You might have to read slower to make sure you're getting exactly what's on the pages. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT try to do this on your own. Get the accommodations in place. Maybe it will all go swimmingly and you'll end up not needing them and you can waive them (you have the right to do this). But, for your protection, PUT THEM IN PLACE. I don't know a lot about chemo brain, but from the little you are describing, if things don't improve, and you're just trying to brave it on your own, without help, you won't make it. Law school is freakin hard dude. I had a career before this, and I say every day that my full time job and career was easier than law school.

    BTW - my previous career was in education. I worked as a middle school math teacher for 6.5 years, and I cannot tell you the number of meetings I was a part of, trying to formulate a plan for a student who needed assistance. Here are some things you might consider, just in case you are totally knew to this world:

    -extra time on exams
    -professor will give student at least 3 minute warning before requiring him to answer out loud (to -give the student time to formulate his thoughts) ***this would look something like the teacher what say, "Ok, XXXX, you're next, so get ready! blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Ok, XXXXX, so tell me what you know about....."
    -student will be provided all textbooks in e-text/pdf format (this is so you can use a phone or laptop etc to have it read to you. It might seem silly, but if you mix up words or letters or whatever sometimes, this could prevent that, because you would be LISTENING to your cases, rather than reading them - although you could follow along and take notes. In fact, this is recommended.)
    -student may regularly visit professor office hours to fill gaps/holes in notes that occurred due to disability

    Do a google search for IEP accommodations for cognitive speed/impairment/delay (i'm not sure which would be best. You want one that conveys that you are cognitively OK, but that things works slowly sometimes, or that it messes up sometimes. Cognitive issues can often mean low IQ in the world of special education, so be careful about what you are reading.)

    I hope some of this helps. I'm sorry for the long response, but I'm super passionate about this, and my previous career actually makes me well informed to give meaningful advice. Pair that with the fact that I'm a 1L right now, literally sitting in the law library as I type, and I thought I could maybe offer you something of use to your situation.

    Good luck!!!

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    edited February 2017 2573 karma

    @shainabarber wow! Thx for your advice! It's good hearing from someone in my situation because I totally feel the same way! I never knew that those types of accommodations were available either in law school. Good to know! I haven't had any classes since I started chemo so getting accommodations for anything has never been an issue but I was wondering how things would go once I'm enrolled. I'm super stoked about all the info I'm getting from you guys! Thx again!

  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma

    First off, congratulations! I don't know you, but I truly am happy that you beat cancer.
    Second, if you feel that accommodations would benefit you, seek them out! Don't let pride or over-humility be the reason why you underperform.
    There's a reason why accommodations exist. They're there to even the playing field. You're only cheating yourself if you don't seek accommodations, knowing that you need them.

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma

    @MrSamIam thank you! You're so right! I actually withdrew today so that I can get everything together to submit for the accommodations. Unfortunately I was too late to apply for today but I will be ready for June!

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    edited March 2017 2573 karma

    Here's a pic of what I was discussing above. This happened a few days ago and I remembered to snap a pic. I'm also going to submit it to LSAC, if allowed, with everything else required.

    Admin edit: Link removed. Please blurr out LSAT questions.

    Notice what I did with the 2nd set of variables? Luckily I was able to catch it before hitting the first question this time! I should've written PLS not PST. Would've been a huge time sink to go through AC A-E only to realize my gameboard is wrong! It's happened before! I'm so glad I finally know what it is. Still working on getting my docs signed but I'm confident I'll have it all submitted by mid-end of April.

  • inactiveinactive Alum Member
    12637 karma

    @tanes256 said:
    Here's a pic of what I was discussing above.

    Had to remove the picture, sorry. Don't share full LSAT questions.

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma

    @"Dillon A. Wright" oh crap! Didn't even think about that. My bad!

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