How do I get extended time on the SAT test? Is it the same as the ACT Test?
As the SAT Test has evolved the College Board has attempted, as much as possible, to level the SAT Test–taking playing field. The SAT’s takes on as a mission to give as fair as possible a chance for all students to succeed. The College Board awards certain allowances for students in need of extra time, large print tests, computers for writing the essay, and/or a reader, among other things. A lot of misinformation exists about how certain students get these exceptions, so let’s try and set the record straight.
If you feel you require a specific kind of aid on the SAT Test you need to have a professional evaluation and report from a licensed neuropsychologist before registering for the SAT Test. The results of the report will recommend either time and a half (extended time), double time (exactly what it sounds like) over two days, or any other appropriate allowance. Once a neuropsychologist prepares the report, you must submit it to the College Board for consideration. This report must include a specific diagnosis – be it ADD, dyslexia, executive functioning disorder, etc. – and have adequate quantitative and qualitative support for its findings. It usually takes around 10 weeks for the College Board to render a decision once the report has been submitted, so plan ahead and think about what your needs may be as early as possible. If you feel you are a candidate for a special SAT Test condition, do not go to take the SAT Test until you hear back from the College Board.
In our experience at CATES, students may have a bit more difficulty getting extended time on the ACT Test than on the SAT Test. If you find this the case,, and you are awarded extra time on the SAT Test but not the ACT Test, you might want to only take the SAT Test (every extra minute is precious). Either way, we can’t stress enough that if you feel you need extra time on the SAT Test and/or ACT Test, start the process early. In the case of the ACT, you also must register for the test first before applying for extended time. Starting early ensures you’re not racing against the clock, can make the most informed decision possible, and do your best on test day!
When can I take the SAT test? Are some times better than others?
The College Board offers the SAT Test multiple times a year, and many optimal times exist to take the test. Every student has a different schedule, dictated by sports seasons, school plays, and myriad extracurriculars. The College Board gives students many options. Every year the College Board gives the SAT Test at the end of January, as well as early March, May, June, October, November, and December. The College Board also gives SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT IIs) on the same test dates, except March, on which only the SAT I is given.
The specific dates for the next two school years to take the SAT test and SAT Subject Tests are as follows:
May 7, 2011: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
June 4, 2011: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
October 1, 2011: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
November 5, 2011: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
December 3, 2011: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
January 28, 2012: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
March 10, 2012: SAT test only
May 5, 2012: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
June 2, 2012: SAT test and SAT Subject Tests
No perfect time exists to take the SAT Test but generally the dates tend to fit into the academic calendar in specific ways. As a rule, you should take the test when you feel you are within 30 points of your target score. If you are keen on taking the SAT Test in the spring, March and May are great times to do it. These tests fall before the pressure of final exams and term papers sets in, allowing you to really carve out the time to focus on the SAT Test. June represents an optimal SAT Subject Test date, especially for tests in Science and History. You will already be filled to the brim with facts and concepts in these topics as you prepare for finals, so why not kill two birds with one stone and knock off an SAT Subject Test or two. That said, if you are a junior preparing to take the AP tests in early May, you may consider taking the SAT Subject Test in the same subject as your AP test during the May SAT Test date. Doing so allows you to integrate and concentrate your time and focus on two tests at once in the same week.
Many students have wonderful success taking the SAT Test in the fall, especially in October and November. These two SAT Test dates fall before the oven of college applications really heats up, and affords a nice window to focus on the exam. Also, many students who found themselves struggling with the SAT Test in the spring, come into the fall of their senior year really switched on. These students have grown a year wiser and ride the wave of confidence that juices a senior in high school! The fall is a great time to rock the exam and sail full speed into the college application process.