Testing Accommodations - Who gets them, and how?

Who receives & qualifies for testing accommodations on the ACT and SAT?

Students with disabilities that are recognized and documented by their schools will potentially qualify for accommodations. For example, students with IEPs for learning or physical disabilities will qualify for accommodations similar to what they receive at school. Students with specific medical needs may qualify for different accommodations (test blood sugar, take medication, etc.), but would need to check with the each specific test provider.  

Students must be on record as needing or receiving accommodations from his/her school and have a diagnosis before applying for specific accommodations on the ACT/SAT.  

What is needed?

Documentation of a specific disability (IEP, diagnosis from a doctor, documentation of accommodations provided at school).  Additionally, when applying for accommodations in high school, the ACT and/or the College Board may request additional evidence to demonstrate history of this disability throughout the student's earlier academic years.  

Timely applications are a MUST in order to receive accommodations on the ACT and SAT test.  This allows parents and families the opportunity to appeal the decision if denied accommodations but this takes time and patience, so start as early as possible to give yourself time before the test date to go through this process.

The accommodations process can take between 1 to 4 months, and typically requires your school counselor or the school learning center's involvement.  

START EARLY! Don’t wait until fall of senior year to try to get accommodations.  If you would like to apply for accommodations for your student please contact your school counselor ASAP. 

What kinds of accommodations are available?

The most common accommodation is some form of extended time on the test.  Extended time can look different for different students, for example:

  • 50% extended time (time and a half),
  • 100% extended time (double time),
  • triple time (in very specific cases),
  • stop-the-clock breaks, and
  • testing over multiple days

But all of these accommodations must match what the student is already receiving at school per his/her IEP/504.  

There are specific accommodations for physical disabilities and medical conditions, but are usually determined on a case-by-case basis.  

There are read-aloud options (most often offered via audio/computer) for students who receive this accommodation at school. 

If you think your child needs a learning assessment, contact us for a list of trusted doctors in the San Diego Country area.  

SAT Accommodations Process

SAT Accommodations are easier to get than ACT because if the student has a documented disability in which they receive accommodations for at school, the College Board will automatically give the student accommodations on the SAT.

You do NOT need be registered for an SAT to apply for SAT accommodations through the College Board.

Most students will work with their schools to submit SAT accommodation requests online. Schools will usually have an SSD Coordinator  (Services for Students with Disabilities) who will help families during the accommodations request process. Contact your school counselor to get the process started. 

To submit a request without the schools involvement, families must request a paper Student Eligibility Form from their school counselor or SSD.

Once a student is approved for accommodations for the College Board, it applies to all exams:

  • SAT and SAT Subject Tests
  • PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
  • AP Exams

Additional information for Accommodations through the College Board can be found here.

ACT Accommodations Process  

Students MUST be registered for an ACT test prior to applying for ACT test accommodations. If the student is not registered for an upcoming ACT test, the ACT will automatically deny the accommodations request.   

When you register for the ACT, please DO select the box for indicating the need for accommodations during the test registration process (online through the ACT website). 

The ACT will email you instructions for the next steps, which will also involve sending forms over to your child’s school.

ACT has a easy to follow 4 minute video to explain their accommodations process. 

Once a student is granted accommodations, it will apply to their future ACT tests unless otherwise specified in certain cases. 

 


Please contact the ACT and/or the SAT along with your school counselor if you have any questions about the SAT/ACT accommodations process.   

  • SAT: (212) 713 - 8333

  • ACT: (319) 337 - 1270

START EARLY! Don’t wait until fall of senior year to try to get accommodations for the SAT or ACT! 

We hope this sheds some light! 

-Lianna Carrigan, Program Director, Pivot Tutors