Students who apply to college in the USA need to perform well on the ACT or the SAT as part of the application process, which can be challenging for teens with learning disabilities. The three- to four-hour exams can be difficult for teens with ADHD who might need to work harder to stay focused, but there are some testing arrangements that can help every student perform at his or her best.
These accommodations can be tailored to students with learning disabilities or physical challenges, or both. For students with ADHD, some common accommodations include additional breaks for snacks and drinks, or extended time in between sections, or taking the test in a small group setting instead of a large classroom. While there is an option to specify a certain type of accommodation during the SAT accommodations process, the College Board will make the final choice in determining which students receive testing accommodations and what specific accommodations are provided.
ADHD SAT Accommodations | How Do Students Qualify for SAT Accommodations?
The process of applying for accommodations (for both the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests) can take up to seven weeks, so it’s important to apply early in order to have the best chance of being approved. The College Board requires documentation of a student’s disability, and most families will request accommodations with the help of a student’s college or guidance counselor. There are several different requirements for proper documentation: the paperwork must be up-to-date, comprehensive, detailed, and accompanied by a reason for requesting the accommodations. In a little more detail, this means that the medical documentation should be under five years old, the information should provide evidence of accommodations at the student’s school, and there should be an explanation of how these accommodations help the student. The Princeton Reviewhas a thorough timeline for the application process, as well as a comparison to the ACT accommodations process for students who are not sure of which test they’ll take.
ADHD SAT Accommodations | Why Should Teens with ADHD Consider the SAT?
Both the ACT and the SAT offer testing accommodations, but the exams have slightly different options available for students. Both exams offer extended time, double time, and extra breaks between sections, though double time is only awarded in rare cases. The SAT also allows students with double time to take the test over several days, while the ACT almost never allows multiple-day testing. The SAT also allows some students to take the exam in small groups, regardless of other accommodations, while the ACT only allows group settings for students with extended time. Because the SAT offers additional types of accommodations, students with ADHD might want to think about taking the SAT. However, the ACT is about a half-hour shorter (even when taken with extended time), which can be appealing to teens who don’t want to spend all day on the exam. Taking a practice version of both tests can help students decide which feels like a better fit, and they can begin the accommodations application process from there.
ADHD SAT Accommodations | How Should Students with ADHD Prepare for the SAT?
Earlier articles on our blog have an overview of test prep methods as well as more in-depth articles on accommodations for students with learning challenges. There are also plenty of online resources about methods that can be particularly helpful to ADHD students. Two of the most important tips are to start studying early and to do plenty of practice questions. Studying months ahead of time helps break up the exam material into manageable chunks, instead of requiring teens to master hundreds of concepts in a few weeks. Practice problems will be useful in the same way, because doing a small amount of review will help students digest the material more easily than if they try to do full-length practice tests every day.
For teens with learning disabilities, there are several test preparation opportunities, including self-study with test prep books, group test prep classes, and school-sponsored review sessions. Private tutoring can also be a helpful way to improve preparedness for the SAT. If you would like to know more about how private tutoring can help your child with special needs, then call (917) 287-7927 for a complimentary consultation.