You’ve never finished a PSAT or Pre-ACT test within the allotted time. Performing your best on the ACT or SAT is a daunting task because you most always require additional time at school. Quit stressing and apply for extended time on the ACT or SAT.  You never know, you may just qualify and can relax a bit!

Who Qualifies and How

Students with physical disabilities, medical conditions, hearing or visual impairment, those who have diagnosed ADHD, psychiatric conditions or learning disabilities may apply for extended time.  Before you apply for accommodations, you’ll need to register online for your ACT test. As with everything in the college selection and application process, pay close attention to deadlines which are usually 4 to 5 weeks before the test date.

If applying for accommodations, I recommend doing it far in advance of your test date. You’ll want to know if you receive extended time before you start your test prep, so plan ahead.

To receive accommodations, students apply with the assistance of an official from their high school, often the guidance counselor or educational psychologist.  While the IEP or 504 in place at school can be submitted with the application, be prepared to offer documentation of the diagnosis if the first diagnosis was less than three years ago or there is not an IEP or 504 in place.  IEP’s and 504’s do NOT insure ACT (or SAT) accommodations.

Your process for application is as follows:

  1. Register for the ACT well in advance of your test date.
  2. The student/parent begins the accommodation request online which prompts your school officials to take action.


There are three types of accommodations granted:

  • National Standard Time with Accommodations where the student will test on a national, Saturday, test date. These students are not granted extra time or different test forms but can have special seating if in a wheelchair or access to snacks throughout testing if diabetic, as examples.
  • National Extended Time (50% Time Extension) also occurs on a national test date and is the most common type of testing granted. Typically 10 or fewer students will test in a separate room, working at their own pace with 50% more time than non-accommodated students. Between sections of the test they can leave the room for the restroom, water, and snack breaks, but this is deducted from their total time of 5 hours and 45 minutes for the ACT Plus Writing.
  • Special Testing at School usually takes place at the student’s home school and is given during the week. This is for students requiring extended time greater than time and a half or alternate test forms.  This could include a reader, scribe, braille, or a computer, for example. Most often these students test individually and testing can occur over several days.

Not the Answer We Wanted

If your initial request for accommodations is not granted, you do have the right to appeal. As a matter of fact, based on our students’ experiences, I’d recommend appealing if first denied.  Allowing time to appeal is important which again begs to the timing of registering and applying far in advance of the test date.  Timely application allows for test preparation with the type of extended time you are, or not, granted.  LEAP does offer private consultation on the process and tips as well as sample letters of successful applications. Good luck!