ACT Accommodations: What You Need to Know

What you need to know about ACT accomodations
April 26, 2024
3 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 04/25/24

Are you wondering if you qualify for an ACT accommodation? This guide covers who qualifies for ACT accommodations, how to apply for them, and their application deadlines. 

In the U.S., many colleges and universities require students to take the ACT to apply to their undergraduate programs. The ACT is a standardized test to assess high school students' English, math, reading, and science knowledge and skills

The four components of the ACT, which include English, reading, math, and science, have their time constraints. 

The English section consists of 75 questions, and students have 45 minutes to complete it. The English section measures students' understanding of standard written English and their ability to edit and revise written material. 

The math section includes 60 questions which students will have 60 minutes to complete. This section tests students' knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. 

The reading section has 40 questions with a 35-minute time constraint. This section assesses students' ability to understand and interpret written passages.

Lastly, the science section measures students' ability to interpret and analyze scientific data and consists of 4o questions with a 35-minute time constraint.

The test is typically offered several times per year at nationwide testing centers, and students can register to take the test online.

For some students, standard test-taking conditions may pose a significant challenge, making it difficult for them to demonstrate their true abilities. In order to level the playing field for these students, the ACT offers accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

Students with disabilities or other special needs may be eligible for accommodations, such as extended time or assistive technology to help them fully participate in the test. If you want to learn more about accommodations for the ACT test, this article dives into that.

Types of ACT Accommodations

ACT provides two types of accommodation programs: National Testing and Special Testing. Each of these programs offers different types of ACT accommodations based on the applicant's accessibility needs.

Below is an overview of what kind of accommodations each program provides. 

National Testing

Those who are not proficient in English or have a documented disability that can be accommodated at a test center will receive accommodations under the National testing program. These include:

  • One and one-half time on breaks as needed with standard time
  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • Large print test booklet
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Assistance with marking answers in the test booklet
  • Use of an authorized bilingual dictionary  

National testing accommodations will be held at designated test centers on standard, national test days. 

Special Testing

Special testing accommodations are not offered at standard testing centers on national testing days. Those who qualify will take the ACT on designated days. These types of accommodations include:

  • Double or triple time on the test
  • Alternate test formats including Braille, pre-recorded audio, screen reader software, or a human reader
  • Scribe to record answers
  • Access to a computer to write the essay portion of the test

ACT reviews all requests for accommodations on a case-by-case basis. It is important to submit your request as early as possible, as the review process can take several weeks.

Who Qualifies for ACT Accommodations?

Students with documented disabilities are eligible to receive accommodations on the ACT exam. Below is a list of disabilities the ACT recognizes as eligible for accommodations. 

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Visual Impairment 
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, or Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Speech and Language Disorder
  • Medical Conditions
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries

For students with a valid, current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan that authorizes accommodations, a copy of the IEP or 504 Plan will be sufficient to demonstrate eligibility for the same accommodations on the ACT. 

However, supporting documentation must be submitted to students without a plan at school or other types of plans, including an official accommodations plan, health care plan, or individual service plan. Here are ACT's criteria for diagnostic documentation

  • Must state the specific disability.
  • The documentation must be current.
  • Describes problems and developmental history, including educational and medical history.
  • Describes significant limitations.Describes how the accommodation will address the limitation.
  • The evaluator must have the right credentials.
  • Includes comprehensive assessments. 

ACT evaluates each accommodation request on a case-by-case basis using the appropriate documentation.

How to Apply for ACT Accommodations

To apply for ACT test accommodations, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Step one: First, you'll need to register for the ACT. Make sure you sign up before your preferred test date deadline. You'll also need to indicate which test center you'll take the ACT and what accommodations you need. 
  • Step two: Once registered, you'll receive an email from ACT explaining how your school can submit a request for accommodations on your behalf. You must forward this email to your school official and provide a completed Consent to Release Information to ACT form. 
  • Step three: Your school official will submit your request to ACT. Your school official must submit your request before the late registration deadline. Once your request is submitted, the request can take 5 to 10 business days to process. 
  • Step four: Your school official will receive a copy of the decision. If your request is denied, you must speak with your school official about the decision and review the application. You have until the late registration deadline to submit an appeal. 

Here is a helpful checklist from ACT that highlights what you need to request accommodations.

ACT Accommodation Request Deadlines

ACT will provide accommodations for eligible examinees who take the test. You must work with a school official to make a request as your ACT accommodations will be based on those you already receive in school. Accommodations must be approved by ACT in advance, a request alone is not enough. 

Accommodation requests must be submitted by the late registration deadline for your preferred test date. Below is a chart that shows the 2024-2025 ACT test dates and the late registration deadlines. 

2024-2025 Test Dates

Test Date Late Registration Deadline
April 13, 2024 March 24
June 8, 2024 May 19
July 13, 2024 June 21

Source: ACT

Applicants must submit the request through the Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) system.

ACT Test Accommodations: FAQs

If you still have questions about ACT test accommodations, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. Can You Get Extra Time on the ACT?

Yes, it is possible to get extra time on the ACT. Students who have documented disabilities may be eligible for accommodations such as extra time on the test. Depending on the disability, a person could be eligible for double or even triple time on the test.

To request extra time, students must provide documentation of their disability from a medical professional and complete an accommodations request form. Once you submit this form, you must wait for the ACT to approve it. 

2. Can You Get Accommodations for Anxiety on The ACT?

Yes, you may be able to get accommodations for anxiety on the ACT. The ACT offers accommodations for students with documented disabilities, including anxiety. To make a request, you must provide documentation of your disability or health-related needs and submit a form for accommodations through the ACT's online request process.

3. Does ACT Give Extra Time for ADHD?

Yes, the ACT does offer extra time as an accommodation for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Suppose you have ADHD and would like extra time for the ACT

In that case, you will need to provide documentation of your ADHD by a medical professional with your request submission.

4. Does It Take Longer To Get ACT Scores if You Have Accommodations?

No, it doesn’t take longer to receive your ACT score if you have accommodations. However, there might be other reasons why your ACT score has been delayed, such as:

  • Rescheduled test dates
  • Answer documents came late from the test center.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete test form information.
  • Irregularities reported at the test center. 
  • You owe registration fees.

It can take between 10 days to up to eight weeks to get your ACT results.

Final Thoughts

It can be stressful and confusing applying to ACT accommodations. However, there are a lot of resources out there, such as this guide, to help you with the application process. Also, remember that your school officials are here to help with the application process.

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