Documentation Guidelines: ADHD

To receive accommodations for College Board exams, students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) must make a request to College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)—even if they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a 504 plan, or already receive those accommodations for school or state tests.

All requests should meet seven key criteria.


  1. The diagnosis should be clearly stated.

    The ADHD diagnosis should be made by someone with appropriate professional credentials, should be specific, and should reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 or whichever edition was current at the time of diagnosis).

  2. All information should be current.

    Because disabilities and needs for accommodation can change, documentation should be up to date. In most cases, the educational evaluation and testing should be no more than five years old. Cognitive testing may be older than five years, but testing performed before third grade may not provide a valid indication of the student’s current ability. Medical or psychiatric testing should have a current update, completed within the last year.

  3. History should be presented.

    Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history in support of the ADHD diagnosis and the functional limitation. The student’s history of receiving school accommodations and current use of accommodations helps College Board understand the nature and severity of the symptoms of ADHD and the need for accommodations. Teacher observations are often helpful and may be recorded on the Teacher Survey Form.

  4. The diagnosis should be supported by testing.

    A medical note is usually not sufficient to support the need for accommodations. Documentation should demonstrate that a comprehensive assessment was conducted, with a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including:

    • A narrative summary of evaluation results
    • Test results with subtest scores (standard or scaled)

    Tests used to diagnose ADHD may differ, depending on the accommodations being requested. For instance, requests for extended time should be supported by comprehensive cognitive and academic assessments that are:

    • Individually administered
    • Nationally normed
    • Administered under standardized conditions

    Consult our page on commonly used diagnostic tests for frequently used assessments.

  5. Functional limitations should be described.

    Explain how ADHD impacts the student’s academic functioning and ability to participate in College Board exams. For example: Is the student able to focus for the entire class period?

    Functional limitations can be documented in a variety of ways:

    • Psychoeducational evaluations, including standardized test scores and narrative. Use national norms to support both the diagnosis and functional limitation.
    • Summary of the student's developmental, educational, and/or medical history.
    • Descriptive information from the school, such as teacher observations, which can be recorded on the Teacher Survey Form.
  6. Recommended accommodations should be justified.

    Provide a detailed rationale for requested accommodations, focusing on:

    • The connection between the student’s ADHD diagnosis and the requested accommodations.
    • The current academic needs of the student, including functional impairments and use of accommodations in school.

    For example, a request for extended time should document difficulty taking timed tests and include standardized scores on timed and untimed or extended time measures.

    See documentation guidelines for frequently requested accommodations for requirements specific to extended time, breaks, reading and seeing accommodations, recording responses, use of a four-function calculator, and assistive technology.

  7. Evaluators' professional credentials should be listed.

    To ensure valid testing and ADHD diagnosis, evaluators must be licensed by the state in which they practice.