You’ve worked hard throughout high school, and now it’s time to take the SAT or ACT. We know that standardized tests can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are a student with a learning difference. But you might not be aware that you can request special accommodations when you take the SAT or ACT.

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.

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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.

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:

ExamSATACT
Forms

With your school's SSD Coordinator, complete the Student Eligibility Form.

With your school's SSD coordinator, complete one of these forms:

Not sure which form to fill out?

When

As early as possible, preferably in the spring before the year you take the test.

As early as possible. The final deadline is usually four weeks prior to the test date.

Next Steps

You'll receive an Eligibility Letter that will describe the accommodations for which you've been approved. The letter will include an SSD Eligibility Code.

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.

Registering

Use your SSD Eligibility Code when you register for the test.

To request extra time, submit your request with the regular registration packet. To request other accommodations, submit the application for special testing before you submit the regular registration packet.

We know that sounds like a lot of leg work (even before you factor in prepping for the test), but you’re not alone! Once students with learning disabilities secure approval for accommodations through College Board, they don’t have to apply again. Approval is good for future SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT, and AP exams (up to one year after high school graduation). If you’ve received approval from ACT, you will also receive accommodation if you take the test again.

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.