Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Get Extended Time on the SAT or ACT

Extended time and other accommodations are available for the SATs & ACTs, but in recent years changes have vastly increased the number applying for it. As a result, it has made getting these accommodations more difficult. So if your child requires extended time, it is important to explore the rules and plan out your actions well before test day—at least 6 to 12 months before the actual SAT or ACT test date. Here's a basic run down of how to extend time for the SAT or ACT. Courtesy of

1. The College Board used to gauge students needs based on the Individuals with Disability Education Act, but has more recently started using criteria more in line with the ADA. Under the ADA model, students need to be able to demonstrate how functional impairment disrupts the daily academic work- so substantially that they cannot perform adequately on the SAT without the extended time.

2. You will need to present a formal psychological evaluation, usually from a school psychologist. The College Board will be looking for evidence of an active IEP. For those living in the Queens Area, the St. John’s University Center for Psychological Services offers such evaluations at a low cost. See:

3. You will need to have received testing accommodation at your testing high school for at least 4 months before the SATs or 12 months before the ACTs. This qualifies as your “documented evidence” that you need extra time on exams in general.

4. Finally, you'll need to have letters and data from teachers describing the student's disability and performance. 2 teacher letters should be enough. A guidance counselor letter is a must.

5. The other important detail to know is that you can appeal the College Board's ruling. According to some experts, it is practically the College Board's unofficial policy to deny everyone the first time around. Don't give up hope and just keep reapplying. However, be sure to start your case months in advance of any test as it can take time to file.

6. Last but not least, always request more time than you actually need. College board’s unofficial policy is to give students who request double time per section, only a quarter and so forth, so apply generously. If you really need the extra time for the SAT or ACT, you are 100% entitled to it under the ADA, but you must be extremely organized with your filing paperwork (Kweller Prep can help) and all must be filed 6 to 12 months in advance of your testing date.

7. Good news: There is no reason to fear any stigma from requesting extra time for the SAT or ACT. Under the ADA, colleges are prohibited from knowing which students get extra time and which do not. If you need the extra time to function properly on these tests, get it!

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