Can I get extra time on the SAT if I have a learning disability?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Can I get extra time on the SAT if I have a learning disability?

Laura Smith

Can I get extra time on the SAT if I have a learning disability?

Whether a student can obtain accommodations for college admissions tests depends on how long their high school has had accommodations in place.  The student must show that they were granted extra time on tests in high school for at least four months prior to registering for the SAT.  To receive extended time on the ACT, one year of prior accommodations in high school is required. The school psychologist or guidance counselor should submit an accommodation form plus results of specific disability testing.  The student must be determined to have  a substantial limitation in comparison to the average person.  The disability may take the form of physical impairment such as impaired eyesight, chronic health conditions (ADHD), or significant emotional difficulties.  The guidance office should submit the student’s IEP or 504 plan along with their application.

Early preparation for testing accommodation is crucial.  Eligibility for accommodations is determined on a case by case basis through documentation review by the testing authorities.  This review can take from 6-8 weeks so high school juniors should be working on this now if they seek extra time on the SAT or ACT in the spring.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Can I get extra time on the SAT if I have a learning disability?

The answer is absolutely yes! Many of my students have been awarded extra time on the SAT, typically 1.5 times as much as the standard amount of time. The College Board doesn't award this haphazardly, however. You will need to provide documentation supporting your disability. Sometimes that takes time, so read up first on the College Board website: Also check in with your guidance counselor. Remember to bring snacks the day of your SAT: you may be at the test center for some time!

William Chichester


Consult with SAT for more information

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

You must have a documented learning or physical disability.

Students who wish to request extended time on the SAT or keyboarding accommodations must do two things ASAP. 1. Log onto the College Board website and read about the steps that a student needs to take to meet the requirements of a documented disability. 2. Contact your school guidance counselor and confirm with them that you wish to see accommodations on standardized testing. Students need to be aware that a history of accommodations and educational testing are both required. I caution students not to worry, if they require accommodations then they will be able to work this out.

Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Recent study finds that students taking ADHD medication tested higher on standardized tests

A recent study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that students taking ADHD medication tested higher on standardized tests. The study tracked a nationally selected group of 600 children ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade, whom had been diagnosed with ADHD and the effect of ADHD medication on the participants' test scores versus similarly diagnosed students not on drug therapy for their ADHD over a five year period. The study found significant gains in math scores that was reflective of almost a fifth of a school year's worth of extra learning and almost one third extra progress in reading. The study further supported earlier studies which have shown that children who have been properly diagnosed and treated for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more prone to behave better in class as well as being able to complete schoolwork without distraction. However, the new study from University of California Berkeley was the first to counteract any previous studies that were unable to project if treating ADHD results in any measurable improvement in long-term academic improvement. While the study was not a randomized trial against a placebo treatment, researchers found the association between medication and academic gains significant. The focus group was screened carefully to ensure that the same level of "outside influences" was at a minimum, ensuring the same level of parental education, support, and the education/challenge level of the elementary schools selected. The study also concluded that while medications and an active parental and school approach to treatment will advance the academic levels of students with ADHD it also noted that medication may not be a viable choice for all people with ADHD and recommend evaluating the side effects with a physician before beginning the drug therapy.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Extended Time on the SAT

Students with documented disabilities can request extended time but the must follow the requirements posted on the Collegeboard site. The student must be able to demonstrate with accepted documentation not only that the student has a disability but that he/she requires the requested accommodation. Be certain to start the request process early as processing takes approximately 7 weeks after all the information has been provided to Collegeboard.

Christina Reynolds
Guidance Counselor

Extra time on SAT

There are many students that have a learning disability which allows them extra time on tests in school and possibly on the SAT as well. The best thing to do is contact the SSD coordinator at your high school and ask them how to apply for extended time through collegeboard. There may be an application for you to fill out and the SSD coordinator will submit, the approval process may take up to a few months so it is a good idea to start the process at least six months prior to the test date.

Donovan Blake
Lead Consultant Griffin Blake Educational Consulting


You can get extended time on the SAT. Here is what you need to do: - go to to get the forms - fill out the forms and then submit them to the counselor at your school - the school will complete the form and mail it to college board - you will get a letter approving/declining your request for extended time. What to do if you are denied the extended time: - get new psychoeducational testing -do all the steps above, using your new testing

Nicholas Umphrey

Extra time

Yes, if you have an IEP or 504 plan, this can be submitted to the College Board by your school's SSD coordinator. This is usually a guidance counselor or test coordinator. They must complete and eligibility form, get parent consent, and submit a request for accommodations. They can deny this request depending on the disability. In most cases you can expect 50% or 100% extended time. This would make each 25 minute test section extended to either 37 minutes or 50 minutes.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures


Yes, but only if you have accommodations at school due to a learning difference. If you are not using accommodations at school, college board does not consider that you are impaired. ACT is pretty much the same way. There are exceptions. I had a student this year who learned of a processing disorder during the summer, and because it was recently diagnosed, College Board allowed extra time on the SAT.