Taking the ACT With Accommodations
ACT is “committed to serving students with disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations appropriate to the student's diagnosis.” Students interested in requesting accommodations for testing should start by reading the ACT Policy for Documentation to Support Requests for Test Accommodations, on the ACT (No Writing) or ACT Plus Writing, which is available on the ACT website. All students can request accommodations regardless of whether they are testing at a national testing center or whether they are testing at an arranged center.
Students can request accommodations such as enlarged font on the test, additional testing time, sign language interpreters, permission to eat snacks in the test room, and allowance of medical devices, among others.
In order to receive accommodations, you must have a current professionally diagnosed and documented disability or accommodation need.
To be considered for accommodations, you need to first determine what kind of accommodations you require, since the procedures for requesting differing types of accommodations vary. If you are seeking extended time at a national testing center, start by reading this PDF brochure on the ACT website. If you are seeking any other type of accommodations (such as testing over multiple days, enlarged font on the testing materials, use of a computer for the Writing Test, or a test in Braille, for example), either at a national or arranged center, start by reading this PDF brochure on the ACT website.
In order to request accommodations, you must complete a form (available in either of the corresponding PDFs above), as well as submit documentation supporting the disability diagnosis. Once the form and documentation has been received by the ACT, it will be reviewed to make sure it is complete and no information is missing. Upon determining that the file is complete, it will be submitted to a staff reviewer who will either (1) approve the request, (2) submit the request to an expert reviewer, or (3) determine that documentation is missing or insufficient, and request additional or supplemental documentation from the student.
The ACT requires the documentation of your disability to be done by “a qualified professional whose credentials are appropriate to the disability,” and also requires that the disability have been “diagnosed or reconfirmed by a qualified professional within the 3 academic years prior to the date of the request.” In addition, “applicants are asked to submit information regarding whether accommodations have previously been provided in an academic setting or on other standardized tests due to the disability” which, for the ACT, is usually a current Individual Education Plan (IEP), or a Section 504 Plan.
You should submit your accommodations request well in advance of your test date; we typically recommend starting the process at least two months before you plan to take the exam. The review process can be lengthy and, if any additional information is requested, it will take additional time for it be processed and reviewed.
Per the ACT: “If the only accommodation requested and approved for national testing is extended time, the examinee is notified on the admission ticket, and the test center is notified on a separate roster. If other accommodations are approved for national testing, ACT staff contact the test supervisor at the requested test center to determine whether the center will be able to provide the approved accommodations. If the requested test center is unable to provide all the approved accommodations, another test center (usually the applicant's indicated second choice) is contacted. Once the test center is assigned, a confirmation letter is sent to the test supervisor, identifying the examinee and confirming the reporting time, the reporting location, and the precise accommodations to be provided. The examinee is sent a copy of this confirmation letter.”
Keep in mind that, even if you submit your application, supporting documentation, and fees, there is no guarantee that ACT will render a decision in your favor. Make sure that you submit as much supporting information as possible in order to make a complete and convincing case.