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Extra and Extended Breaks

Most College Board exams include some scheduled breaks for all students. Many students with disabilities are approved to receive additional or longer breaks than those typically provided.

College Board Approval Required

Use of accommodations without College Board approval results in cancellation of test scores. Learn how to submit a request >

Details on Extra and Extended Breaks

Because the needs of students differ, different types of breaks are available:

  • Breaks between test sections meet the needs of most students who are approved for extra breaks. These breaks are a standard length (usually 5 minutes) and are given at scheduled times.
  • Extended breaks between sections or subjects are usually twice the standard time.
  • Breaks as needed are given to some students with medical conditions. They are granted as requested by the student during the exam. Students notify their proctors by raising their hands, and the timing of the test pauses. When students are ready to continue, they again notify their proctors, and the timing continues.

Eligibility for Extra and Extended Breaks

Extra or extended breaks are appropriate for students who cannot test for an extended period of time and who need more breaks than those given to all test-takers. Often, students with physical or medical disabilities request breaks if they will need to test blood sugar, take medication, rest, or use the restroom. Some students with ADHD also find extra breaks helpful if they have difficulty focusing for extended periods.

Some students who request extended breaks will need additional accommodations, such as permission to eat or take medication or permission to test blood sugar. These must be requested specifically.

Approval for Extended Time May Include Approval for Extra Breaks

Students who are approved to test with extended time and who will take the redesigned SAT (launching in March 2016), the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT (launching October 2015), or the PSAT 10 (launching February 2016) are also automatically approved to test with extra breaks.

Students who are approved to test with extended time and who will take the current SAT, which will be administered for the last time in January 2016, must request extra or extended breaks separately if they need this accommodation.

Learn how to document requests for extra and extended breaks.

Related Topics

Who Is Eligible?

Learn how eligibility for accommodations on College Board exams is determined.

Find Out Who’s Eligible

Requesting Approval

If you’re new to SSD, start here for the big picture on getting accommodations on College Board exams.

Get an Overview