SAT Accommodations: What You Need To Know (2024)

SAT Accommodation Information
May 10, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/10/24

Follow along to learn everything you need to know about SAT accommodations!

The SAT is a widely recognized standardized test that plays a crucial role in college admissions. The pressure to perform well on the exam can be overwhelming for many students, especially those with special needs or accessibility concerns.

The good news is that there are a range of accommodations that ensure a level playing field for all students. In this article, we’ll explore the details of SAT test accommodations, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and the various options available to test-takers.

What Accommodations Are Available on the SAT?

College Board offers various services for test takers with disabilities. Before taking the SAT with accommodations, you must submit a request to the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SDD). 

Below, we’ll provide a list of available accommodations for the SAT. While this list is not exhaustive, we review and consider all reasonable requests from students with documented disabilities.

It's important to note that SAT accommodations for disabilities are only provided if a student's documented disability will impact their ability to take the test. Accommodations will not be given if the disability does not affect the test-taking process or if the student's difficulty with taking exams is not related to their disability.

Also, keep in mind that the College Board recently offered a digital SAT format, which will make the exam even more accessible. 

Time Accommodations

Time accommodations are designed to allow students to customize the testing schedule to meet their needs. These accommodations are available for all sections and types of tests. Some common examples include requesting extended time, additional breaks, and limited-time testing spread out over multiple days.

Test Presentation Accommodations

These accommodations have been made for students with disabilities that impair their ability to see, read, or understand the text. If a student has difficulty reading quickly, requesting extra time may be more appropriate.

Common examples of presentation accommodations for the SAT include:

  • A human reader
  • A prerecorded audio version of the test, accessible through streaming
  • Text-to-speech technology
  • Oral presentation of instructions
  • Sign language interpretation for oral instructions
  • Larger print or adjusted font for improved readability
  • A printed copy of verbal instructions
  • Use of auditory amplification/frequency modulation
  • Visual magnification tools such as magnifiers or magnifying machines
  • Colored overlays to improve reading
  • Braille format, including graphs and devices for written responses
  • Assistive technology-compatible test formats (must be requested and approved separately)

Note: Assistive technology devices for presentation accommodations cannot have any functions or capabilities for recording, copying, storage, printing, snapshot, or transmitting data, pictures, text, or any other information. 

Response Accommodations

Response accommodations have been put in place for students who need help with answering exam questions. Related disabilities may include visual, physical, or learning disabilities that impair writing, and dysgraphia (such as visual-motor integration deficits). College Board provides many different alternative methods for students to record their responses. 

Common examples of this SAT accommodation include:

  • Computers (word processor for essays only)
  • Verbal responses dictated to the scribe
  • Speech-to-text
  • Record answers in the test booklet
  • Large-print (large-block) answer sheet 
  • Any other assistive technology-compatible test formats (must be specifically requested and approved)

Note: assistive technology devices for response accommodations must have all spell-check, grammar-check, word prediction, and cut-and-paste functions disabled or removed. 

Math Calculation Accommodations

Some SAT math sections permit the use of calculators, and others forbid them. Students may request to use approved four-function calculators in non-calculator sections if their disabilities affect their ability to calculate without assistive devices.

To clarify, four-function calculators are basic calculators with functions limited to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, and percentages. 

Setting Accommodations

Setting accommodations allows students to adjust to the testing environment to better meet their needs. Common setting accommodations include:

  • Preferential seating
  • Small group setting
  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • School-based setting
  • One-to-one setting

These accommodations can range from preferential seating to a one-to-one testing setting and are designed to ensure that all students can take the SAT in a comfortable and accessible environment.

Physical or Medical Accommodations

The College Board provides accommodations for students who need to manage medical or physical needs during exams. These accommodations include permission to:

  • Consume food, drinks, or medications.
  • Test and monitor blood sugar levels.

Approved diabetes management supplies allowed during the exam include:

  • Blood glucose and continuous glucose monitors
  • Insulin delivery devices
  • Test strips and lancet devices
  • Glucose control solutions

Additionally, students who require epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) can bring them if they are stored in a clear bag and placed under the desk during the test.

Note: The College Board must pre-approve any use of a cell phone. It's recommended that you use another device to monitor your blood or sugar levels.

Who Qualifies for SAT Accommodations?

To qualify for SAT accommodations, students must have a documented disability that makes it difficult for them to take the test under standard conditions. Common disabilities that qualify for accommodations include:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Learning disorders
  • Physical disabilities like hearing or visual impairments

To get these accommodations, students need to provide proof of their disability. This could be a doctor's report, a psychoeducational evaluation, or other official documents. This proof helps the College Board ensure that the accommodations match the student’s needs.

The application for accommodations is usually done through the school’s SSD Coordinator. This person helps collect and send the necessary documentation to the College Board. The documentation must clearly explain why the student needs certain accommodations, such as more time or a different format for the test.

Temporary conditions, like a broken arm, or non-disabilities, like not speaking English well, don’t typically qualify for accommodations. However, if a temporary condition severely affects test-taking, students can apply for temporary assistance.

How to Apply for SAT Test Accommodations

There are mainly two ways to apply for SAT accommodations. You can submit your request and documentation directly to College Board SSD via mail or fax. Or, if your school has an SSD coordinator, you can make your request through them. 

For either option, you must fill out and complete the Student Eligibility Form and provide the following: 

  • Your personal information (includes name, address, the school you attend, etc.)
  • Country code and high school code (found via College Board’s Code Search)
  • The test you take and its date
  • Requested accommodations
  • Accommodations provided and used for school tests
  • Information about your disability
  • Documentation of your disability

When providing documentation of the disability, be sure to follow the specific guidelines. For example, if you’re applying for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) support for the SAT, make sure you meet the seven criteria laid out by the College Board. This will help ensure you receive the accommodations you deserve.

SAT Test Accommodations Dates & Deadlines

Here are two tables containing deadlines you should keep in mind, depending on when you’re taking the exam

Test Date Documentation Deadline
March 9, 2024 January 19, 2024
May 4, 2024 March 17, 2024
June 1, 2024 April 12, 2024

SAT School Day
Test Dates
Deadline for Accommodations Request and Required Documents
SAT School Testing Week:
March 4–8, 2024
January 16, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
March 11–15, 2024
January 22, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
March 18–22, 2024
January 29, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
March 25–29, 2024
February 5, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
April 1–5, 2024
February 12, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
April 8–12, 2024
February 20, 2024
SAT School Testing Week:
April 15–19, 2024
February 26, 2024

Source: College Board

We recommend submitting accommodations requests earlier than the deadline to give College Board ample time to review and approve them. The process can take up to seven weeks, and College Board can only begin once all necessary documents have been received. 

So, the earlier you request accommodations, the better your chances of getting approved in time for your test date.

FAQs: SAT Test Accommodations

Do you still need more information? Don’t worry—we have our own accommodations in the form of FAQs!

1. Can You Get Accommodations for Anxiety on the SAT?

Anxiety is considered a documented psychological condition. So, yes, it is possible to request accommodations if you have anxiety that will negatively impact your test-taking process.

2. Can You Get Extra Time on the SAT for Anxiety?

Yes, if your anxiety slows you down or interferes with your ability to finish the SAT in time, you may request extra time.

3. Can You Get Extra Time on the SAT With an IEP?

Yes, if your disability warrants a need for extra time, then you may request it. However, according to the College Board, IEPs (or Individualized Education Plans) are insufficient, and you need to provide documentation stating your need for the extra time requested.

Final Thoughts

Taking the SAT is certainly not easy. If you have an unfortunate condition that drags you down, that can certainly make things worse. But there’s no need to worry. College Board provides various forms of support and assistance to alleviate difficulties resulting from disabilities to the best of their ability.

As long as you list your needs and provide clear documentation for your conditions, the College Board will do its best to help you. Best wishes for your exams, and may you get the scores you’ve hoped for! 

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