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 there’s a range of accommodations that ensure a level playing field for all students. In this article, we’ll dive into the details of SAT test accommodations, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and the various options available to test-takers.
College Board offers various services for test takers with disabilities. Before taking the SAT with accommodations, you must submit a request to 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, all reasonable requests from students with documented disabilities are reviewed and considered carefully.
It's important to note that SAT accommodations 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.
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.
These accommodations have been put in place for students who have disabilities that impair the 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:
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 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:
Note: assistive technology devices for response accommodations must have all spell-check, grammar-check, word prediction, and cut-and-paste functions disabled or removed.
Some SAT math sections permit the use of calculators and others that 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 that have functions limited to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, and percentage.
Setting accommodations allows students to adjust to the testing environment to better meet their needs. Common setting accommodations include:
These accommodations can range from preferential seating to a one-to-one testing setting, and are designed to ensure that all students are able to take the SAT in a comfortable and accessible environment.
If you ever need to take medication or supplements, eat food, or drink water during the exam, College Board offers accommodations for this as well. Common accommodations include granting permission to:
Note: 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.
Any students with a documented disability that will affect exam participation are eligible to request SAT test accommodations. Examples of disabilities include visual impairments, learning disorders, physical and/or medical impairments, such as cerebral palsy and diabetes, motor impairments, and psychological conditions.
The key requirement is that students have documentation of their disability, such as a current psychoeducational evaluation or a report from a doctor. The specific type of documentation needed will depend on the disability and the requested accommodations.
When you submit a request for accommodations, you must demonstrate your need for them. If you are requesting extended time, for example, you should include documentation showing you have trouble testing under the conditions and time restraints of the SAT.
Keep in mind that temporary medical or physical conditions, such as a broken arm, are usually not classified as disabilities. That being said, if you have temporary conditions that affect test taking, you may be able to submit a Request for Temporary Assistance.
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:
When providing documentation of the disability, be sure to follow the specific guidelines.
Here’s a table containing the SAT accommodations' deadlines, depending on when you’re taking the exam.
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.
Do you still need more information? Don’t worry; we also have our own accommodations in the form of FAQs!
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.
Yes, if your anxiety slows you down, or interferes with your ability to finish the SAT in time, you may request extra time.
Yes, if your disability warrants a need for extra time, then you may request it. However, according to College Board, IEPs (or Individualized Education Plans) are insufficient, and you need to provide documentation stating your need for the extra time requested.
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, College Board will do its best to help you. Best wishes for your exams, and may you get the scores you’ve hoped for!