Supports for tests and entrance exams

Testing is often harder for students with disabilities.

This includes testing in their courses and standardized tests for applying to college.

Standardized tests: SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test, or ACT, American College Testing. These are tests students take in their junior or senior year. Standardized means they are the same for all students all over the country. You must send the scores to colleges you are applying to. Sudents can choose to take either the SAT or the ACT. Colleges accept one or the other or both.


Students with IEPs can often get accommodations for taking the SAT, ACT and even AP courses. This can help them to get a score that reflects what they know.

These are the ones listed on the College Board's website:


  • Large print (14 pt., 20 pt., other)

  • Reader (Note:Reader reads entire test)

  • Use of a highlighter

  • Sign/orally present instructions

  • Visual magnification (magnifier or magnifying machine)

  • Colored overlays

  • Braille

  • Braille graphs

  • Braille device for written responses

  • MP3 audio test format

  • Assistive technology–compatible test format


  • Verbal; dictated to scribe

  • Tape recorder

  • Computer without spell-check/grammar/cut-and-paste features

  • Record answers in test booklet

  • Large-block answer sheet

  • Four-function calculator (use of basic four-function calculator on test sections that do not permit use of a calculator)


  • Frequent breaks

  • Extended time

  • Multiple day (may or may not include extra time)

  • Specified time of day


  • Small group setting

  • Private room

  • Alternative test site (with proctor present)

  • Preferential seating

Source: College Board

Here's what you can do:

  • Make sure your child's IEP includes effective supports for test-taking. If they decide to take more advanced classes and need more support, ask for a meeting with their IEP team to adjust the goals and supports.

  • Talk to your IEP team about choosing the SAT or ACT. They use slightly different kinds of testing. One might be better fit with your child's learning style.

  • Arrange for your child to get the accommodations they need for the SAT or ACT.You have to fill out the paperwork with SAT or ACT ahead of time. Ask your IEP team if you have questions.

Click on the box below to learn more:

Even if your child has accommodations at school from their IEP or 504 Plan, they have to apply separately to get them on these standardized tests.

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your child's special education about asking for accommodations on these tests

  • Find out the test dates at the beginning of the year. You must make your request a few months before the exam, if possible! It can take up to 7 weeks to process.

  • Look at the types of accommodations and decide with the IEP Team what your child should ask for

  • Gather the documentation to prove your child's disability: medical reports, diagnoses, school evaluation results, etc.

  • Make the request yourself or ask your child's special education teacher to do it. The different testing organizations do it differently. See the process for each below.

  • Before the test day, make sure the accommodations will be in place - it won't happen automatically. Check with your IEP teacher the week before the test.

Making the request:


SAT, PSAT and AP Exams:


  • This is a separate testing organization. Parents can make the request.

  • Go to this website to register online: ACT: Requesting Accommodations. It will open in a new tab and tell you what to do.

  • Click the link at the bottom of the screen to download the ACT checklist. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)

Sources: College Board, ACT


Sources: College Board, ACT