Extended Time

The biggest mistake people make in seeking extended time for learning differences is waiting until the last minute to do so. Not only can the process be a lengthy one, but the testing agencies often require months/years of documentation of a student’s disabilities and challenges, so get organized as early as possible. You’ll need documentation of diagnoses, recommended treatments, and progress from a medical professional, as well as proof that the student has been given special accommodations by his/her high school.

The #1 challenge the ACT presents test-takers with is the requirement to move quickly and efficiently through the sections. Therefore, they are typically more hesitant to approve these requests, as they feel it gives students a disproportionate advantage. Of course, if you approach them with the proper documentation, your request should be granted. If not, there is always the possibility for an appeal. College Board, which administers the SAT, is notoriously more lax about approving extended time requests.

NOTE: Be aware that if a student should choose to test before accommodations are granted and score at or above the national average without extended time, the ACT is highly unlikely to grant accommodations for future exams!

Our tutors will help you approach standardized testing differently once you are approved for extended time; strategies and pacing rules change significantly (for the better!) once extra time is in play. Test preparation certainly shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all service, and we will arm you with the necessary tools to maximize the additional time you are allowed.

Specific steps for registering for extended time on the ACT and SAT are outlined below.

How to register for extended time or other accommodations on the ACT:

  1. Begin by registering online for the ACT via act.org. On the registration form, you can indicate a request for accommodations and specify which type of accommodation you are requesting. The two options are as follows:
    • National accommodations are for students who are not proficient in English or who have documented disabilities requiring accommodations that can be provided at a test center. These kinds of accommodations can include the following:
      • Time-and-a-half (instead of standard time) to complete the test
      • Breaks as needed
      • Wheelchair accessibility 
      • Large print (18-point) font for test booklet
      • A writer or scribe to assist with recording student responses
      • A sign language interpreter for any verbal instructions 
      • The use of an authorized bilingual word-to-word dictionary or translated written test directions
    • Special accommodations are for students who have a documented disability requiring accommodations that cannot be provided at a test center. These kinds of accommodations can include the following:
      • Double or triple time (instead of standard time) to complete the test
      • Alternate test formats (ex: Braille with raised line drawings, pre-recorded audio via USB or a human reader in a 1-on-1 setting)
      • A scribe to record answers and/or a computer for writing the essay
  2. After you submit the registration form online, you will receive an email that tells you how to work with your school to submit the proper documentation. In order to begin that process, you must forward that email to your school along with the Consent to Release Information to ACT form.
  3. Your school will submit your request along with the documentation to the ACT. ACT will then review your request and notify the school.
    • Public school students
      • According to the ACT, "Beginning with the 2021-22 testing year, students who already receive accommodations at their school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act will automatically be eligible to receive the allowable testing accommodations when they register for the ACT with accommodations." Students who already have accommodations in place at their school will still need to wait for the ACT's approval process, which takes 5-10 business days, but they will no longer be subjected to the prior wait period, which was one year.
    • Private school students
      • Private schools often have their own accommodation plans like "service plans" or "ISPs" instead of official IEPs/504s. ACT reviews private school accommodation requests individually based on the documentation provided. The approval process generally takes longer, around 10-14 days on average according to ACT. It is recommended that private school students wait at least 3 months, ideally 1 year, after receiving accommodations at school before applying to ACT for the same accommodations. This allows time to establish a history of needing those accommodations.

For more information on what is needed to substantiate learning disabilities for the ACT, visit the ACT ACCOMMODATIONS PAGE.


How to register for extended time or other accommodations on the SAT:

  1. Begin the process of applying for accommodations by speaking with your school’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator. The school’s SSD coordinator will know the submission deadlines and will be able to access SSD Online — the submission portal through which extended time accommodations are made to the College Board.
  2. Before the rest of the application for extended time can be processed, a parent or guardian must sign the Parent Consent Form
  3. The SSD coordinator will open a request in SSD Online and provide the College Board with the requested accommodations, information about the student’s disability, and information about any formal accommodations plan (ex: an IEP, 504, etc.).
  4. If documentation is required, then the SSD coordinator will compile the documents and submit them through SSD Online. Documentation varies depending on the accommodation or on the disability/difference — learn more on the SAT’s How to Provide Documentation page.
  5. The SSD coordinator will receive the decision through SSD online and the student typically receives notice in the mail. If accommodations are approved, then the decision letter will also include an eligibility letter with test-by-test details. The letter will also include the student’s eligibility code, which is necessary in order for the student to register for the SAT.

For more information on what is needed to substantiate learning disabilities for College Board (PSAT, SAT, AP exams, etc), visit the SAT ACCOMMODATIONS PAGE.