Pursuing Accommodations for the ACT and SAT

If your student has a diagnosed learning disability or attention disorder, Breakaway strongly recommends that you pursue accommodations for your student for taking the ACT (or SAT).  The sooner you begin the process, the better as it can take several weeks or even months to get the necessary documentation in order and complete the process of applying for extra time with either of the testing companies.

The ACT requires certain documentation to evidence the need for additional time on the test, so making sure you have that documentation in order is a good first step.  Such documentation includes:

  • A current diagnosis of a learning disability, such as dyslexia, or attention disorder, such as ADHD.  “Current” means that the academic or “psychoeducational” testing for the learning issue and/or attention disorder was completed within the past three years.
  • A 504 plan and/or IEP is in place at your student’s school.  The learning specialist at your student’s high school can help you access this documentation.

Once this documentation is in place, you can request accommodations on the ACT by registering your student to take the the test with extended time.


begin the process of pursuing accommodations on the ACT.  The process begins by contacting your high school’s learning specialist and requesting extended time for the ACT on a particular test date, e.g., October 2016.  We recommend that you request accommodations for the test as early as possible, as the ACT has been known to reject applications for what they deem to be “inadequate” or “insufficient” documentation.

While the ACT will also inform you as to what additional documentation you may need, you can lose an entire test cycle waiting for the ACT to re-evaluate your application.  In other words, if you would like for your student to take the October 2016 ACT, we recommend that you pursue accommodations for the September ACT in order to ensure your student is approved in a timely manner.  If the ACT rejects the application for September, you still have time to obtain the additional documentation and resubmit for the October exam.

In addition, we recommend that when pursuing additional time, you pursue “multiple day” testing.  Many high school learning specialists assume that “50% more time in a single day” is adequate for most students.  This is simply not the case.  The ACT under standard time constraints with the essay is nearly four hours long.  If a student qualifies for 50% more time in a single day, he or she will now be looking at a six-hour test, which is almost obscenely long in duration.

As such, we recommend that you request “multiple day” testing for your student when you pursue additional time.  Multiple day testing comes in a variety of formats including two-day testing or multiple-day testing with 50% more time, double-time or even triple-time.  You should speak to the learning specialist at your high school about what might be appropriate for your student.

Because of Breakaway‘s relationship with Groves Academy, we are uniquely qualified to help students with learning issues and attention disorders prepare for the ACT or SAT with accommodations.  If you are interested in learning more about Breakaway‘s test prep for students with learning disabilities or attention disorders, please feel free to contact Ron Michalak, Breakaway‘s president, at [email protected] or 612-216-5133.