Taking the SAT or ACT anywhere is scary enough, let alone outside the US, where finding an ACT or SAT test location isn’t always so easy. But what if you’ve got a learning disability or a physical handicap that prevents you from taking the test under normal conditions? What types of accommodations are made for ACT and SAT disability testing?
Don’t worry! Or at least, don’t worry more than anyone else taking the test. The companies that administer the SAT and ACT (The College Board and ACT Inc., respectively) make sure that everyone who wants to take the test can do so, even if special accommodations for your disability are required.
The key is the same as for anyone taking the ACT or SAT– be prepared for the test, and make sure you’ve got your paperwork in order.
Almost every disability is taken into account. If you’re wheelchair-bound and need special seating, if you need to use a computer instead of pencil and paper, if you’ve got a learning disability and need more time or an un-timed test, if you’re blind and need the test in Braille … not to worry, your needs can be met.
Here are some tips on how to make sure you’ll have everything you need on test day.
Don’t show up to your standardized test, demand special accommodations and expect anyone to listen, even if you’re taking the SAT or ACT at your home school where everyone knows your particular needs. The companies administering the test don’t know you, and they need proof of your disability in order to make exceptions for you.
For taking the SAT, you should have documentation of your disability sent both by you (or your parents) and your school no later than seven weeks before the test.
You don’t need a doctor’s note, but you do need to make sure that your school has an SSD (Students With Special Disabilities) Coordinator’s Form on file with the College Board. That means there’s someone on hand who will be qualified to make sure your needs are met – without breaking any rules – on test day.
Your job is to fill out a Student Eligibility Form, which you can’t download. If your school doesn’t already have one, it can be easily ordered. You have to complete one section of it and your school has to complete the rest.
Once you find out if you’ve been approved for special accommodations, you must register for the SAT using the SSD ID number you’ve been given. On test day, special preparations will be made for you – just make sure you’ve got your SSD number, and you’ll be ready to go.
The process is similar for taking the ACT. Requests for special accommodations must be made in writing and confirmed by your school.
For a physical disability, you also need documentation from a qualified doctor. If you’ve got a learning disability, you’ll need more documentation the more recently you were diagnosed. It helps to have been given special accommodations in academic settings before.
If you’re approved, the test center and the people administering the ACT will be notified of who you are and what special accommodations you need. Any information you give the ACT or SAT about your disabilities is strictly confidential.
Make sure you’ve got all the necessary paperwork mailed in plenty of time, and when you take the SAT or ACT you’ll have nothing to fear… except the test itself.