Extra Time Guide: Sample Tutor Letter Petitioning for Extra Time

The sample tutor letter below is intended as a demonstration of the kind of letter a tutor can write in the appeals process for extra time from the ACT or College Board. See sample parent and student letters as well in Forum’s guides to getting extra time on the SAT andgetting extra time on the ACT.

My name is _________, and I have been working as a tutor and educational consultant for academic subjects and test preparation for over 10 years of my professional career. I have worked with a wide range of students ages 10–18, with varying goals, motivations, and learning patterns. I have worked frequently with students challenged by ADD, ADHD, dysgraphia, executive processing disabilities, dyslexia, anxiety, and other challenges, as well as with students who do not struggle with such obstacles. I am in 100% support of accommodations being granted only in the case of extreme need: in which the student is at a clear disadvantage because of a documented physical or learning difference that places him or her on an uneven playing field relative to their peers, unable to express their full potential under normal testing limitations.

Over the past 8 months, I have been working closely with ______ several times a week in a test preparation context, and it is my professional opinion that her application for extended time should receive full and unequivocal support. _______ is a bright, motivated, and hard-working young woman with excellent potential who is limited by her inability to focus on and process large amounts of written information in a short amount of time. During our work together, she has demonstrated desire and keen work ethic to improve, and she has strengthened the skills and knowledge needed for success on standardized tests (including the SAT, Subject tests, and AP exams) considerably under untimed conditions. Under the regular time of the test, however, she is consistently unable to finish the test in all sections, especially in the Reading and in the word problems in the Math portions.

______’s challenge demonstrably lies in her ability to focus on and process the information- she frequently has to reread information multiple times in order to truly process it, since her mind jumps elsewhere. When she tries to go faster, she is unable to fully retain and process the information on the page (gaps in information when questioned, unfounded conclusions drawn from the text, and/or missing Math elements and calculations), which necessitates rereading, recalculating, and additional time. She also has a tendency to skip writing down work for Math problems in order to stay focused on finding the result quickly, which results in mental miscalculation. She is able to correct these mistakes by taking additional time.

I have administered several tests under regular timed and extended time conditions (results attached pg. 2), and the contrast is significant; her scores differ by 100 scaled SAT points for Math and 120 points for Writing/Reading, most of which is due to additional test questions being answered, some due to inaccuracy caused by rushing, particularly in Math. Her accuracy on the questions she did complete is similar across the tests, but slightly lower in regular time due to rushing.

I give my whole-hearted support for _______’s extended time application, and ask the decision board to consider this appeal thoughtfully. _______ has succeeded academically because of her drive and consistent hard work using extended time in school, and she cannot exercise her full potential on the SAT, Subject tests, or APs under the regular conditions of the test. _______ has a clearly medically demonstrated disability, and under the ADA, she should be granted the accommodations necessary to supplement this condition. Please feel free to contact me directly with any further questions.

To see the full guide to Extra Time, go here.