Students with dyslexia who are determined to go to college may need some extra help preparing for the SAT or ACT. Rising a student’s score by just 2 percent can expand the possibilities of colleges that they can attend dramatically. If you are a concerned school administrator or a parent of a student with dyslexia, then you need to help the student do their very best.
File for Appropriate Accommodations
The College Board who owns the SAT allows students to receive several special accommodations when they need it, as explained by the University of Michigan. For example, they may be able to receive extended time to take the test, use technology–compatible test forms, take an audio version of the test, or use a four-function calculator on the math portion of the test. The key to getting appropriate accommodations is to have it written in the child’s plan for the school and to apply well before the deadline.
Teach Test-taking Techniques
The ACT and the SAT are mainly reading tests. Therefore, many students with dyslexia benefit from special guidance on how to read actively, classify information visually, and summarize the main idea. Taking pretests for the ACT and SAT where the student concentrates specifically on one area can help the student feel more confident going into the test. Once the student discovers their weakest areas, then they can focus specifically on that part of the test in the weeks ahead of the actual test date.
According to Dyslexia.com, one way that students can improve their scores is through deliberate practice. For example, if a student makes the same mistake many times on the test, then they need to focus on how to correct that mistake. Writing down the correct way to do a problem in a notebook and studying it daily can help students improve their scores.
Conquering the SAT or ACT can seem like a big task. It can seem even bigger for students with learning disabilities. Therefore, breaking the task down into smaller goals and creating SMART objectives for each part can be very helpful. These objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Achieving success on one goal often has a snowball effect, so students often feel like they can master the entire test.
According to Connections Academy, there’s no advantage to taking one test over the other when it comes to being admitted. Universities accept both ACT and SAT scores with equal weight. What it really comes down to is a matter of style, and which test suits you better. Taking ACT and SAT pretests is a good way to judge this, as they give you a taste of what the real test will be like. While many colleges may put a lot of emphasis on a student’s score, do not overlook the importance of other aspects of the student’s learning experience like extra-curricular activities. Help the student set realistic expectations about the test and take it as early as possible allowing them time to retake the test if necessary.
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