Prepping for the SAT/ACT is no easy task. It involves months of consistent, committed study that often requires working with an experienced tutor. But one factor can make exam prep even more challenging for some students: a learning difference.
In many cases, parents don’t realize their student has a learning difficulty. They might just assume their student is a “poor test-taker,” without realizing there’s a legitimate reason why. Learning difficulties can be hard to detect, especially when high levels of intelligence mask underlying struggles with attention or processing.
When students take SAT & ACT diagnostics at our Streamline office, it’s often the first time that a latent issue — one that might warrant testing accommodations — is uncovered such as ADHD, reading processing issues or executive functioning issues. Unfortunately, by junior year it may be too late to gain approval for extra time on the SAT or ACT. Addressing any red flags early on through discussions with teachers and counselors, as well as pursuing a psychoeducational evaluation, is crucial to avoiding a lot of stress junior year.
What to look for:
● Teachers giving your student unofficial extra time. Some teachers unofficially grant students extra time to complete in-class and at-home assignments. While this is well-intentioned, it won’t necessarily fulfill the official documentation or four-month official learning plan that often needs to be in place before the College Board approves accommodations. For more information on how to apply for accommodations, please reference the following websites: SAT and ACT.
● Continually running out of time on exams. Running out of time on exams is often chalked up to “nerves.” But it can be a sign of an underlying disability. This is especially true in instances when it’s clear that the student has already grasped the concepts but continues to run out of time on tests.
Why the College Board might deny an accommodation request
Students who apply for accommodations are sometimes surprised to learn that their request has been denied, even though they have a clinical diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important to address possible learning issues as early as possible. When an accommodations request is initially denied, it can take approximately seven weeks to repeal the decision. More follow-up documentation may be required. Both College Board and the ACT are more likely to flip a decision if there’s additional evidence provided.
Questions or concerns about your student’s SAT/ACT accommodations? Connect with Streamline Tutors today to learn how we can help.