Taking the SAT or ACT With an Accommodation
Tens of thousands of students with learning differences take the SAT and ACT each year with an accommodation. If you are a student who qualifies for an accommodation, here is how you can request one for the SAT or ACT.
Depending on your learning disability, accommodations could include extended time to take the test, an assistant to read questions out loud or a specific seating arrangement (students with ADHD, for example, may be able to take the test in a private room, or a room with fewer students). The basic fee is the same.
College admissions committees will not know that you took the test under modified circumstances, so you shouldn't hesitate to request accommodations if you need them.
How to Request SAT/ACT Accommodations
You should work with your school's SSD (Services for Students with Disabilities) Coordinator as you apply for special accommodations. You may need to provide additional documentation of your learning disability from your school or a medical professional.
Begin this process as early as possible. It may take time to track down the appropriate documentation. And if you're denied special accommodations, you'll want plenty of time to appeal the decision.
The procedure to request accommodations for the SAT or ACT goes like this:
With your school's SSD coordinator, complete the Student Eligibility Form as early as possible -- preferably in the spring before the year you take the test.
You'll receive an Eligibility Letter that will describe the SAT accommodations for which you've been approved. The letter will include an SSD Eligibility Code. Use your SSD Eligibility Code when you register for the SAT test. Approval is good for future College Board tests — SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT and AP exams— up to one year after high school graduation.
With your school's SSD coordinator, complete one of these forms:
- Application for ACT Extended Time - National Testing
- Request for ACT Special Testing
To request extra time, submit your request with the regular registration packet. To request other ACT accommodations, submit the application for special testing before you submit the regular registration packet.
Complete these forms as early as possible. The final deadline is usually four weeks prior to the test date. If you're approved for extended time, this will be noted on the admission ticket that you'll receive in the mail. If you're approved for other testing accommodations, you will also be notified by mail. If you've received approval from ACT, you will also receive accommodation if you take the test again.
Worth the Legwork
We know that sounds like a lot of legwork (even before you factor in prepping for the test), but you're not alone! When it comes time to send those scores to colleges, check out our book The K&W Guide To Colleges for Students With Learning Differences for help finding the school that meets your needs best.