Who Gets Extra Time on ACT or SAT Exams?

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Most students struggle to beat the clock on timed tests, especially standardized tests. Why do some students get extra time? In general, they have a diagnosed medical or psychological condition that qualifies them for an accommodation. The most common conditions that may qualify for extended-time testing are ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia.

Accommodations are meant to level the playing field for students with certain learning issues or medical conditions. Accommodations are not supposed to give anyone an unfair advantage. For more details, consult the ACT website and College Board website for the specific rules and procedures to apply for accommodations. Also contact your school’s learning specialist or counseling department because schools play a vital role in the application process for accommodations. To protect students’ privacy, the testing agencies do not disclose information about accommodations when reporting scores to colleges or scholarship programs.

College Board makes accommodations decisions for their SAT, PSAT and AP exams. ACT makes its independent decisions for accommodations for the ACT exam and its pre-ACT exams. There is no connection between the two testing agencies. Just because one approves accommodations doesn’t mean the other will do the same.

The process is simplified for students with a 504 Plan, IEP or approved accommodations plan. The key is that students must actually use the extended-time accommodations when testing at school. It’s difficult to get extended time from ACT or College Board if the student’s in-school tests are administered with standard time. You may also be required to provide documentation from an approved practitioner to support an application for certain accommodations. College Board accepts applications for accommodations on their exams as early as 9th grade and their approval usually remains effective through 12th grade. On the other hand, ACT requires students to register for an ACT exam before they will consider applications for accommodations.

Even though College Board and ACT have streamlined their respective accommodations approval procedures in recent years, their processes can still be frustrating, time-consuming and sometimes costly. You need to work closely with the designated counselor or learning specialist at your school. Start the process early, follow up often and stay patient yet persistent. It’s worth the effort.

Since 2011 Dogwood Tutoring & Test Prep has been helping students prepare to take the ACT, SAT and AP exams with extended time. Call Ivan at 678-735-7555 to discuss your child’s individual needs.