Documentation Guidelines: Physical or Medical Disability

To receive accommodations for College Board exams, students with physical or medical disabilities 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. This includes permission to eat food, take medication, test blood sugar, and use medical equipment during the test.

Students who have a short-term injury or condition are not eligible for accommodations through SSD and should instead consult temporary medical conditions for information on receiving assistance.

For students with diagnosed physical or medical disabilities, all requests should meet seven key criteria.


  1. The diagnosis should be clearly stated.

    Documentation should state the specific physical or medical disability as diagnosed and provide a detailed description of the student’s condition. The diagnosis should be made by someone with appropriate professional credentials, should be specific and when appropriate, should relate the disability to professional standards.

  2. All information should be current.

    Because disabilities change over time, documentation should be up to date. For physical and medical disabilities, include the initial evaluation and an evaluation update.

    The acceptable age of documentation depends on the disabling condition, current status of the student, and specific accommodations requested, but in general, the update should be performed within 12 months of the accommodation request. If the initial evaluation is under a year old, no update is required.

  3. History should be presented.

    Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history in support of the diagnosis and the functional limitation. Information about the student’s history of receiving school accommodations and current use of accommodations helps College Board understand the nature and severity of the student’s physical or medical disability and the need for accommodations, including these details:

    • Historical information about the onset of the impairment
    • A description of the student's current abilities
    • The impact of in-school accommodations on the student’s performance
    • The student’s response to medication and other interventions

    Teacher observations are often helpful as well; they may be recorded on the Teacher Survey Form.

  4. The diagnosis should be supported by testing.

    Most accommodation requests for a physical or medical disability are reviewed by doctors. A brief note from a doctor, or a general description of a diagnosis, is usually insufficient documentation. Documentation should demonstrate that a comprehensive assessment was conducted. Specific requirements vary depending on the student’s diagnosis, but all documentation should include:

    • Copies of testing and reports from medical examinations relevant to the student’s need for the requested accommodations
    • Evaluation results
    • A description of the student’s current symptoms, including their frequency, intensity, and duration
    • Detailed medical information about the student's current needs
    • Current medication regimen and its effect on the student's disability and ability to take College Board tests

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

  5. Functional limitations should be described.

    Explain how the physical or medical disability currently impacts the student’s academic functioning and ability to participate in College Board exams. Functional limitation can be documented in a variety of ways:

    • Medical or other relevant reports, such as occupational or physical therapy evaluations.
    • Detailed information regarding the frequency, duration, and intensity of the student’s current symptoms.
    • 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 a Teacher Survey Form.
  6. Recommended accommodations should be justified.

    Provide a detailed rationale for the requested accommodations, focusing on:

    • The connection between the student’s diagnosed disability and the requested accommodations
    • Current academic needs of the student, including functional impairment/s and use of accommodations in school

    Any changes in the administration of the test must be requested specifically and approved by College Board. This includes permission to eat food, take medication, test blood sugar, and use medical equipment during the test.

    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 diagnosis, evaluators must be licensed by the state in which they practice.