If you’re a high school student with a medical or learning disability, you may worry that you won’t be able to get the testing accommodations you need.
The good news is that there are a range of SAT test accommodations available to students. In this article, we’ll give you the facts about accommodations for SAT testing, including:
- the types of testing accommodations College Board offers
- who is eligible for SAT accommodations
- how to get accommodations for SAT tests
- how to register for the SAT with accommodations
Here are all the topics we’ll cover:
- What Accommodations Can You Get on the SAT?
- Are You Eligible for Testing Accommodations?
- How to Make an SAT Accommodations Request
- How to Register for the SAT with Accommodations
- What Is an SSD Number?
- Key Takeaways
- What’s Next?
To start off our discussion of SAT testing with accommodations, let’s discuss what types of accommodations are available.
What Accommodations Can You Get on the SAT?
When students think about testing accommodations for the SAT, extended time, breaks that are longer than standard, and additional breaks are often what first come to mind. However, there are actually a wide range of accommodations SAT test-takers can get. Furthermore, accommodations are available for SAT tests taken at a test center or at school. (However, some accommodations may require that you take your SAT in one setting or the other.)
So, let’s take a look at the types of SAT disability accommodations College Board offers. We’ll start with the ones I just mentioned.
Depending on the documented disability, College Board may grant extended time for just certain sections of the SAT or for the entire test.
Additionally, accommodations can allow for different amounts of extended time. For example, a student may take the SAT with 50% more time or with 100% or more. In the latter case, you’d take the SAT over the course of two days instead of in just one sitting.
These are just a few examples of extended time accommodations. Check out College Board’s website here to read more about extended time on the SAT.
College Board offers accommodations of 50% or 100%+ more time for the SAT, or extended time for certain sections of the test.
Additional or Longer Breaks
There are a few different ways students in need of accommodations can have extra break time during the SAT. For example, you may be able to get extra 5-minute breaks. Or, you may be able to get breaks that are 10 minutes long instead of 5 minutes. Additionally, students who need to take medication or accommodate a medical condition may be able to take breaks at specific times as needed.
A documented disability may qualify you for additional or longer breaks during the SAT, or breaks at necessary times.
Visual, Reading, or Writing Accommodations
There are numerous SAT disability accommodations available for students who need writing assistance or assistance reading or seeing text. Some examples of these accommodations include:
- a large print test or electronic magnification
- Braille and/or raised line drawings
- a recorded, audio version of the test or a human reader
- text-to-speech or speech-to-text
Note that if you need a paper and pencil test, one will still be available to you with an accommodation after the SAT goes digital.
In fact, after the SAT transitions to the new digital format, College Board will still offer all the same accommodations that are available for the current, paper-only test. So, large print tests, braille, and any paper-related accommodations available now will still be available.
Paper tests and associated accommodations will still be available to students in need after the SAT goes digital.
In addition to a variety of other types of assistive technology, some of which we’ve already mentioned, accommodations specifically related to calculator usage on the SAT are available to students who qualify.
For instance, depending on your documented disability, you may be able to do one of the following:
- use a four-function calculator
- use a calculator during the non-calculator math section
- use an electronic or talking calculator
Calculator-related accommodations include access to a four-function calculator, an electronic or talking calculator, or a calculator to use for the non-calculator section.
Physical and Medical Accommodations
College Board offers many accommodations to ensure that students with physical disabilities and medical conditions have equal access to the SAT.
Some common SAT medical accommodations and physical accommodations include:
- permission to eat food, drink, or take medication during the test
- permission to test blood sugar
- use of medical equipment during the test
- wheelchair accessibility
- preferential seating and other accommodations for hearing impairments
Note that if you need to bring an EPIPEN into the testing room, you don’t need to apply for accommodations.
Also, if you have a temporary physical or medical condition, such as a broken arm, you probably don’t need to apply for accommodations. However, unless you’re a high school senior, it’s generally recommended that you reschedule your SAT for when you’re all healed. Check out this page for more info on what to do if you have a temporary condition.
If you have a broken limb or other temporary medical condition, unless you’re a senior in high school, you may need to reschedule your SAT.
If you’re interested in learning more about what types of accommodations are available for the SAT and other College Board exams, this page is a good place to start. You’ll see many of the accommodations we’ve discussed listed there, plus some we haven’t covered.
Now, let’s discuss who is eligible for College Board SAT accommodations.
Are You Eligible for Testing Accommodations?
In order to receive SAT accommodations, you must have a “documented disability.” In other words, there is documentation you must submit to College Board to prove that the testing accommodation you’re requesting is necessary. Such documentation may include a current diagnosis from a doctor, relevant medical and education histories, and so on.
There are different documentation requirements for different types of disabilities. Furthermore, test-takers with certain disabilities are not “guaranteed” testing accommodations. Everyone must go through an approval process.
You must submit documentation to College Board to prove that the SAT testing accommodation you’re requesting is necessary.
That said, here are some of the conditions for which students may receive SAT accommodations:
- cerebral palsy
- hearing or visual impairments
- psychiatric disorders
and numerous others.
Accommodations Are Not Automatic
Even if you have one of the conditions we’ve mentioned in this article, or another medical, physical, or learning disability, you will not automatically receive accommodations. You will need to submit the required documentation for your specific disability and be sure to submit your request by the SAT accommodations deadline. (We’ll discuss how shortly.)
For example, students who have an IEP or 504 plan sometimes mistakenly think they automatically have access to SAT testing with accommodations. However, even if you have an IEP or 504 plan, you still must request accommodations for your SAT. Now, College Board generally approves accommodations for students with an IEP or 504 plan. Nonetheless, you still have to apply!
The one exception to the “no automatic approval” rule is if you’ve already received testing accommodations for other College Board exams. For instance, maybe you already received an accommodation for the PSAT, AP exams, or a previous SAT. Generally, College Board testing accommodations remain in effect until one year after high school graduation. So, unless you reported to College Board that you no longer need testing accommodations, if you’ve already been approved, you’re still approved.
One last thing to keep in mind about eligibility for testing accommodations is that approval processes for SAT and ACT exams are different. So, if you’re planning on switching from one test to the other, you’ll need to meet the requirements for the specific test you’re taking and go through a separate approval process. College Board does not administer the ACT, so your accommodation from that test does not “transfer” to the SAT. (However, it may serve as part of the evidence of your need for accommodations).
Generally, College Board testing accommodations remain in effect until one year after high school graduation.
How to Make an SAT Accommodations Request
The easiest way to submit your request for SAT testing accommodations is through the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator at your school.
The SSD coordinator will know the SAT accommodations deadlines, help you ensure that you’re gathering all the necessary paperwork, and be able to access the College Board’s online system for making accommodations requests. Keep in mind that if you already have an IEP or 504 plan, there shouldn’t be much additional paperwork needed.
One form you’ll need either way is the Parent Consent Form (unless you are over age 18). So, as soon as you know you’ll need SAT accommodations, contact your school’s SSD coordinator and download the Parent Consent Form. Your parent or legal guardian must sign that form in order for your SSD coordinator to make an accommodations request on your behalf.
Note that although accommodations generally remain in effect until after graduation, there are some exceptions. So, even if you’ve already received accommodations for previous College Board exams, it’s still wise to double-check with your SSD coordinator to confirm that your accommodations are still active.
TTP PRO TIP:
Reach out to the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator at your school, if there is one, as soon as you know you’ll want to request SAT accommodations.
Requesting Accommodations Without an SSD Coordinator
What if you can’t make your SAT accommodations request through an SSD coordinator? For example, maybe you’re homeschooled or there is no SSD coordinator at your school. In that case, you’ll need to fill out a student eligibility form. You’ll need to mail or fax that completed form with the required documentation for your disability to College Board.
You can download the student eligibility form here. There are also instructions on how to fill out the form on that page. That form is, essentially, your SAT accommodations request form. Remember, even if there is no SSD coordinator to help you apply for accommodations, your family or a guidance counselor may be able to help.
Also, make sure to review the SAT accommodations deadline for your test date. Each SAT test date is associated with a different deadline by which College Board must receive all the documentation related to your accommodations request. So, you want to make sure not to miss the deadline for the test date you choose.
Whether you’re requesting accommodations through your school or on your own, it can take up to 7 weeks for you to receive your decision letter in the mail. Furthermore, if any additional documentation is required after you submit your request, or you resubmit your request, the approval process can take an additional 7 weeks.
So, it’s always best to start as early as possible when it comes to requesting SAT accommodations!
TTP PRO TIP:
The approval process for SAT accommodations can take up to 7 weeks, or 14 weeks if additional documentation is necessary, so start the process as early as possible!
How to Register for the SAT with Accommodations
If you want to take the SAT with accommodations, you need to get approved for your accommodations before you register for your exam. In other words, you can’t register for an SAT test, and then “add on” an accommodation later.
Rather, you’ll have to first submit your request for accommodations. Then, once you’ve received your approval, register for your SAT on College Board’s website. During that registration process, you’ll confirm whether you want to use your accommodation for your test. Your accommodation should then be listed on your SAT admission ticket.
When you register for your SAT on College Board’s website, you can confirm whether you want to use your approved accommodation for your test.
Note that, when you register online for your SAT, you’ll need to enter your SSD number. Let’s discuss what that is.
What Is an SSD Number?
On accommodations decision letters for the SAT, SSD numbers are included as unique student identifiers. So, you should see a 7-digit SSD number included in your decision letter from College Board. (If you already received accommodations for other College Board exams, you will already have an SSD number).
Your SSD number is very important because you will need to enter it when you register for your SAT. And you’ll need to bring the letter that includes your SSD number with you on test day.
Your SSD number is included in your decision letter and is required when you register for an SAT test with accommodations.
If you’re planning to take the SAT, a learning disability, physical disability, or medical condition may qualify you for College Board testing accommodations.
The easiest way to submit your request for SAT testing accommodations is through your the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator at your school. However, you can also submit your request on your own using a student eligibility form.
If you’ve already received an accommodation for a past College Board exam, you probably don’t need to reapply. However, just to be safe, double-check to make sure your accommodation is still active.
Lastly, if you think you need an accommodation, by all means, apply for it! Even if you don’t see the accommodation on College Board’s website, you can still speak with your guidance counselor or the SSD coordinator at your school about requesting it.
Now that you know how to get accommodations for SAT tests, you may be interested in our article on what to bring on SAT test day.
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