If you’re a dyslexic student preparing for the SAT, there are a lot of accommodations and resources available to help you prepare. You just need to know where to look.
Getting Accommodations Just Got Easier
In January 2017, the College Board implemented its newer, friendlier approach to students who need accommodations for the SAT. The rigorous process many students and school systems once endured has been simplified. Students with learning disabilities will now find it easier to obtain separate rooms, extra time, and further accommodations. Below is a summary of the changes.
Just Two Questions
“Under this new policy, school testing accommodation coordinators need to answer only two questions when submitting most requests for students: ‘Is the requested accommodation(s) in the student’s plan?’ and ‘Has the student used the accommodation(s) for school testing?’”
- If both questions can be answered with “yes,” the student is eligible and can be approved to receive most accommodations on College Board exams.
- “No” to any of the questions will not warrant an absolute rejection from College Board but will require the individual to provide more information for decision to be made.
- A big reason for new test procedures is to simplify and cut down approval processing time and give more responsibility and trust to individual school staff who know their students’ needs best.
- The vast majority of students approved for and using accommodations at their school will have the same accommodations automatically approved to take the SAT, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT Subject Tests and AP exams.
More Support for English Language Learners
- English language learners taking state-funded SAT tests during school will have access to more accommodations with the changes.
- Students will now have access to several languages of instruction, word-to-word bilingual glossaries, extended testing time (time and a half) and reduced-distraction rooms.
New Test Formats and Accommodations
- Students approved for extended time are also provided extra breaks in between test sections.
- Students approved for extended time for only part of the SAT (e.g., math only) receive extended time for only the designated sections.
- Assistive technology–compatible test format: A digital test form, delivered on a flash drive, is now available for use with screen readers and other assistive technology.
- MP3 audio test format: This is an audio version of the test, delivered on a flash drive. It allows student with reading or visual impairments to listen to the test. The MP3 audio test format accommodation replaces the cassette test format accommodation.
- Four-function calculator: Students who are approved for this accommodation are permitted to use a four-function calculator for Math Test sections that do not permit the use of a calculator.
Resources to Help You Prepare for the SAT Test
Scholastic Aptitude Test Preparation for the Adolescent Dyslexic
Based on the known features of a specific language disability—including vocabulary deficits, difficulty discerning literal words from figurative words, difficulty summarizing reading passages, and deficits in abstract reasoning—Lois Rothschild has developed specific recommendations regarding how dyslexics should study and prepare for their college entrance examinations. Through a highly structured program devoted to vocabulary development, increased understanding of test-taking strategies specific to the SAT, and patterned analysis of reading passages and reading comprehension questions, Rothschild offers dyslexic students a means of improving their SAT scores to reflect their true potential.
Barron’s SAT Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
This book was written primarily for parents and teachers of high school students who have average to above-average intelligence, but who also suffer from learning difficulties that stem from a variety of different causes. Just a few among those possible difficulties are ADD/ADHD, difficulties in perception, motor control problems, and even severe anxiety related to test-taking situations. The author presents a strategic study program and test-taking plan specifically designed to help such students prepare for the SAT college entrance test. The cost for this book was $11.99.
LD SAT Study Guide
LD SAT Study Guide is the first commercially available SAT preparation manual that prepares students with disabilities in general, and devotes specific attention and instruction to the more common disabilities, including dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilities, math disabilities, and visual or auditory processing disorders. The cost for this book used started at $9.99. The Kindle edition was $15.99.
Khan Academy is an excellent free site offering SAT prep podcasts that can be downloaded on iTunes, or try Khan Academy SAT Math Prep with outstanding videos.
Specialized Prep provides test preparation services to students with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, and to students that have received accommodations for either the SAT or ACT tests. The cost for their SAT prep course is $425.