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College-Bound Students with Dyslexia: Test Accommodations for the SAT

written by: Sylvia Cini•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 3/27/2011

If you are dyslexic, receiving accommodations when testing for the SAT can mean the difference between getting into your dream college or getting to know your proctor really well as you retake the SAT over and over. Read on to learn how to get a leg up on test day.

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    What Accommodations are Available?

    Are you a college-bound student with dyslexia testing for the SAT?

    College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, is committed to ensuring standardized tests accurately reflect the academic abilities of college-bound students. One way they do this is by providing disabled students with special accommodations that bridge performance gaps caused by their condition.

    SAT test accommodations can alter four variables:

    • Presentation of test materials
    • Response recording method
    • Time limits
    • General testing environment

    Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Large-print test books
    • Proctor-readers to read test materials aloud
    • Alternative response materials such as computers and Braille recorders
    • Extended time limits
    • Extra or extended breaks

    Dyslexic test-takers may benefit from having extra time, a proctor-reader, longer breaks and using a computerized response sheet.

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    Filing with School Assistance

    You must apply to receive accommodations for the SAT or any other College Board test such as the PSAT, AP or SAT Subject tests.

    If you receive special accommodations from the test proctor or test school without approval from the College Board your scores can be canceled and you will have to retake the test.

    Steps to Get Approved

    1. Have a documented disability--i.e., paperwork that confirms you are dyslexic. Talk to the SSD coordinator at your school about getting tested. The SSD coordinator is the administrator or counselor who is responsible for organizing services for students with disabilities.
    2. Begin your application for test accommodations in the spring--i.e., before you take your first College Board test.
    3. Ask the SSD coordinator at your school to apply for accommodations on your behalf using SSD online.
    4. Complete a Consent Form for Request for Accommodations. This will allow your SSD coordinator to apply online.

    You can use the same approval for future College Board tests.

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    Filing without School Assistance

    You may file without the assistance of your school SSD coordinator by contacting College Board Directly. Request a Student Eligibility form by calling College Board Services for Students with Disabilities at (609) 771-7137. Complete the form and mail it to the College Board with the required documentation.

    College Board has very specific guidelines for disability documentation:

    • States the disability explicitly and relates it to the applicable professional standards
    • Is current--i.e., within the last 5 years
    • Includes relevant history from an educational, developmental and medical standpoint.
    • Explains testing procedures and diagnostic techniques
    • Provides credentials of the test administrator including certifications and licensure
    • Lists functional limitations
    • Lists accommodations requested and how they relate to limitations

    The College Board website offers more information on substantiating learning disabilities for the purposes of receiving test accommodations.

    Be sure to use only a College Board-approved mailing envelope.

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    Register for the SAT

    1. Wait to receive your Eligibility Approval Letter.
    2. Register for the SAT using the SSD Code printed in the upper right corner of your Eligibility Approval letter. If you are registering by paper, send a photocopy of your Eligibility Approval letter with your SAT Registration form.

    You can register for the SAT before receiving your approval for accommodations, but this may mean your paperwork won't arrive in time and you will have to take the standard test:

    1. Send in copy of the Student Eligibility form with your SAT Registration form
    2. Call Services for Students with Disabilities immediately after receiving your Eligibility Approval letter. If you call two to three weeks before the test date, your accommodations will most likely be met.
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    Who Do I Need to Contact?

    • Contact your school SSD coordinator to have them submit your request for accommodations or to get a Student Eligibility form.
    • Call College Board Services for Students with Disabilities at (609) 771-7137
    • Write to the SAT Program with customer service requests: College Board SAT Program, P.O. Box 025505 Miami, FL 33102
    To change accommodations or reapply for denied accommodations you should get in touch with College Board directly. One of the clinical staff at the Services for Students with Disabilities office can explain their decision regarding your application. They can also supply you with the forms necessary to amend or contest your application decision. Work with your school SSD counselor throughout this process to ensure you get all of the support you require come test day.
    Still have questions or concerns? Use one of the contact numbers provided on the "Standing By" webpage. (See Resources)
    • Cancel your scores
    • Report problems with the test environment
    • Register a complaint about a proctor
    • Communicate an issue specific to your test date, test center or test equipment
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    Need More Information?

    If you are a college-bound student with dyslexia interested in receiving accommodations when testing for the SAT, check out these resources.

    College Board Pages:

    • SAT (
    • Test Accommodations (
    • Standing By: Contact SAT by e-mail, phone or mail (
    • The Paper Registration Guide for the Sat and Sat Subject Tests (
    • Denied Accommodations (
    • Changing Accommodations (
    • Learning Disabilities: What Documentation is Needed to Substantiate Learning Disabilities? (
    • Changing Accommodations (

    Other Websites:

    • National Center for Learning Disabilities: Accommodating Students with Dyslexia (
    • The Princeton Review: Learning Disabilities and the SAT/ACT (