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Is it easier to get accommodations for ACT than SAT?

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As I was looking over the CollegeBoard's website for the hundredth time and sweating filing for accommodations, i decided to check out ACT's website. Their website says: three easy steps.

Is it really that easy?

We have a neuropsych eval that is almost two years old and SAT wants one less than a year old, saying that medical/learning issues/conditions change over time. Yes, but DS has cerebral palsy. He still needs accommodations neuropsych recommended two years ago. That hasn't changed and won't change.

Our neuropsych said we would likely need two new evals through the high school years for college admissions. Really?! I know the other evals won't be as extensive - or as expensive. But we really don't want to spend DS's college fund just to get him there.

I am leaning toward having DS take the ACT over the SAT. The colleges he is interested in accept both.

We likely wouldn't have him write the essay.

I know we would pass up the PSAT by skipping getting accommodations for SAT. We won't be doing AP classes.

We would like for DS to take some CLEP exams for the practice, but I didn't see CLEP listed under accommodations on SAT website. (And it is all on the computer and DS can type.)

What would be advantages or disadvantages of getting accommodations for ACT vs SAT?

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A lot of people say it is easier to get accommodations on ACT vs SAT. I don't know - my son got accommodations on both on the first try - ACT was certainly quicker.


I filled out the paperwork, provided a few year old neuropsych eval, as well as a cover letter outlining what I was requesting as well as my "educational plan" outlining accomodations done at home.


I just looked up the time line for SAT accommodations - as far as learning disabiities - they say an evaluation withing 5 years.

For ongoing medical conditions - I think they want a doctor to say that they still have this condition, but something like cerebral palsy certainly won't change.


Most colleges want a "current" evaluation for learning disabilities - ours says within five years of starting college - so you might be able to use the same one for high school and college depending on the timing. As far as stable ongoing medical conditions requiring accommodations, we just had our pediatrician write a letter saying ds has x  (mediacal) diagnosis and will need xyz accommodations.

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Look at the College Board requirements for accommodations for the SAT.  Be aware that the process changed recently, I think just a few months ago, maybe January.  So, there may not be many folks who have experience getting accommodations under the new process, but it may be easier than it formerly was.  (If I recall, it may be easier for those attending schools with IEPs.)

Note that the SAT allows more time per question than the ACT.  I'd try both tests (practice tests with accurate timing) and decide which one is better suited for the student's strengths.

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I've also heard through the grape vine that the ACT is easier to get accommodations for vs. the SAT. 


Also - the accommodations are administered differently as I understand it


For example, if you qualify for time-and-a-half instead of regular time on the SAT, you get 1.5 the time on each section. So if a normal reading section is 60 min, you would get 90 min and would not be able to move on to the next section until the time had elapsed.


On the ACT, you get overall time to allocate how you see fit. So if the whole test is normally 3 hours, you would get 4.5 hours and could spend as little or as much time on each section as you see fit (perhaps up the the max time and a half for each section?) So if the reading is normally 60 min and you finished it in 70 min, you could move on to the next timed section instead of waiting.


Also, I've heard secondhand that for some kids who qualify for double time, that the ACT can be given in sections over a week, whereas it had to be completed within 2 days for the SAT.


That might be a dealbreaker for some kids.


of course - you should check with the official SAT and ACT people to be sure how time is allocated in your particular case!

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