SAT Accommodations Guide

For a variety of reasons, you may be wondering about SAT accommodations that are available. Maybe you want to see if you qualify for one, or you already qualify and want to know more details about what your accommodation entails. In this article, we’ll go over both the kinds of accommodations the SAT offers as well as eligibility for them. Then, we’ll go over how to apply!

Extended Time:

Extended time refers to extra time given to students to complete the test. The most common forms are: Time and a Half (50 percent more time), Double Time (100 percent more time), and More Time (somewhere greater than 6 hours). For Double Time and above, the test is given over two days and at a student’s school rather than at a designated test center.

Students request extended time if their disability causes them to work slower than other students.

Extended time is a great thing!

Extra/Extended Breaks:

Usually, breaks between sections of the SAT run between 5-15 minutes (dependent on the section). With Extended Breaks, these are lengthened. A common Extended Break is packaged with Extended Time (Ex. double length breaks with Double Time). There can also be Extra Breaks awarded, for example after the Writing & Language section and before Math No Calculator, which is not a point where students usually do not have a break.

Break accommodation is usually awarded to students who have a medical condition that requires them to need extra time between sections, such as needing to test for blood sugar or take medication.


There are several different kinds of SAT accommodations for students with disabilities that require an alternative form to the test than the standard booklet. They include:

  • Large-print test book
  • Braille test book
  • Braille graphs
  • MP3 audio test format
  • Reader (live person who reads test booklet out loud to student)
  • Magnifier/magnifying machine

Usually, one or more of these accommodations are awarded to students who deal with blindness, other visual impairments, or a severe reading disability. Generally, students are only given one of the above accommodations, however.


Computer assistance may be awarded for the essay and short-response sections of SAT tests if a student has a disability that affects their ability to write. This accommodation allows students to type their answers on a word processor. Note, the SAT never allows Computers to be used for the multi-choice sections (at least as of now, that may change during COVID-19), a school computer must be used, and the use of any spell or grammar check software must be disabled.

The most common types of disabilities awarded computer use are physical disabilities that impair the ability to write, Dysgraphia, and severe language-based learning disorders. Notably, poor handwriting is not considered a debilitating condition, unless there is evidence to prove it is caused by a disability.

Four-Function Calculator:

With this SAT accommodation, a Four-Function Calculator replaces the standard Graphing calculator students use to take the SAT. A Four-Function Calculator is one that can only do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (as well as square root and percent).

Usually, this accommodation is given to students whose disability affects their ability to do mathematical computation and therefore they benefit from a simpler calculator. One such example is a student with dyscalculia.


Some SAT accommodations allow students to take the SAT in a setting other than the standard big classroom with a bunch of other students. This accommodation is always inherent in accommodations like Computer testing or the longer versions of Extended Time testing. For a variety of reasons you may end up testing in one of the alternative locations below:

  • Small group setting
  • Private room
  • Alternative test site (with proctor present)
  • Preferential seating at regular test site
  • Specific room with wheelchair accessibility
Other Accommodations:

The above list contains the vast majority of accommodations students will commonly have on the SAT, but there are others awarded on a case-by-case basis. If your needs don’t fit one of the above accommodations, talk to a student counselor or health professional for advice on what kind of accommodations to seek.


Generally, there are four criteria students must meet in order to qualify for any sort of SAT accommodation:

Documentation of Disability: Whether physical, mental, or otherwise, students need documentation from a doctor or medical health professional certifying their disability.

The Disability Directly Affects Taking The SAT: A student’s disability must hinder their ability to take the SAT specifically. Usually, SAT accommodations are for students that have trouble with Reading, Writing, and/or sitting still for long periods. This means some disabilities, such students with a hearing impairment or certain psychiatric conditions that do not directly affect taking the SAT, may not qualify for accommodations.

Proof of Need: The type of accommodation you request should meet your need, meaning the documentation of disability should show what a student requires for SAT accommodations. For example, students seeking extended time should have documentation that shows they have trouble completing timed assignments/tests.

The Same Accommodation is Received on School Tests: Almost always, students will receive the same accommodations they recieve on the SAT that they already receive in school. It’s hard to be approved for SAT accommodations if you do not already have those accommodations for in-school testing.

How to Apply:

The easiest way to apply is with your school. Since most schools already have disability documentation on file for students, it makes the process simpler for your school to request accommodations for you. Your school will likely have a SSD Online coordinator for accessing the SSD Online Disability Accommodation Management System (SSD System) on College Board necessary for applying for SAT accommodations. The parent will sign a consent form available online in order to allow their school to do so. Talk to your school counselor for more details.

It takes up to around 7 weeks to hear back about accommodations, so prepare in advance! Once you have a certain kind of accommodation it never expires, so if you plan on taking the SAT at any point, the earlier you can apply for them the better!

If you do end up having to apply for SAT accommodations on your own for any reason, you can request a paper Student Eligibility form from your school or from the SSD System. Usually however, working with a school to submit makes the process go faster. You can find more information on either type of application here.


Once you’re approved, you never need to make another request for the same type of accommodation. Also, If you take a different kind of test the CollegeBoard offers (like AP exams) you also do not need to submit again as your accommodations will carry over! If you need new or revised accommodations for any reason however, you would need to submit for accommodation again approval with that updated request.

Once approved, you’re all set!

How to Register with Accommodations:

Once approved for any type of SAT accommodation, the registration process is the same: you’ll use your seven-digit SSD Eligibility Code (assigned by CollegeBoard at the time of approval) when you sign up for the SAT. If registering by mail, include a copy of your SSD Eligibility Letter. Once you receive your admission ticket, double check your accommodations as they should be noted on the ticket. If not, contact CollegeBoard at 212-713-8333 to make sure you are good to go.

If your SAT accommodations have not been approved, but you want to make sure to reserve your spot for an upcoming SAT, go ahead and register without accommodations and then check your admission ticket once your accommodations have been approved.

That’s it! That’s the basics of how SAT Accommodations work and how to apply for them! Remember, the best person to ask about eligibility and accommodations is always a student counselor or mental health professional! For information about SAT test prep and college admissions, please contact a Student Success Advisor at Testive!

By |2020-05-29T14:52:13+00:00May 29th, 2020|SAT, Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Luke has been tutoring standardized tests for a little under four years now. He’s worked with countless students of varying learning styles, academic levels, and personalities. His experience has given a tool belt of strategies and methodologies needed to help any student succeed! When not tutoring, he is a comedian and filmmaker living in beautiful Los Angeles, California.