Never in our lifetime have schools closed on a global level because of a viral pandemic. Students have experienced many unexpected changes this year, from schools closing three months early to the administration of AP exams at home instead of in the classroom and the cancellation of multiple SAT and ACT test dates. This uncharted territory has stirred up much anxiety among students, especially juniors planning to attend college after high school graduation.
Many juniors wait until the spring to sit for their first SAT or ACT exam, which most colleges and universities require for admission. But with the cancellation of March, May, and June SAT test dates as well as the April ACT, students are unable to take any standardized tests this spring. Many are concerned that the change in schedule may preclude their acceptance into top choice schools.
ACT test administration is expected to resume in June, and SAT testing should return in August with an additional test date scheduled for September 26. This means current juniors will have four chances to take the SAT test before regular decision deadlines and three chances if applying early decision. College Board has announced a plan for at-home online SAT testing in the fall if schools remain closed during that time. For a student who has not yet taken the test, this delay and potential change in test administration can be unnerving.
To ease the fear and anxiety among students, some colleges are announcing changes to their college admissions policies for college applicants in the class of 2021. They are easing up on test score requirements and, in some cases, waiving standardized testing requirements all together, joining the 1,000 or so colleges and universities that have already adopted a test optional policy. As of April 20, at least 50 colleges have temporarily dropped SAT or ACT admissions requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, * including Longwood University, UVA- Wise, University of California, and University of Oregon. Despite these changes, uncertainty of what lies ahead and when the next SAT and ACT test will be administered continues to elevate student stress.
With the cancellation of May and June’s SAT II Subject Tests, students will not have as many opportunities to take both the SAT and SAT II Subject Tests. As a result, many Ivy League colleges that previously required SAT II test scores are waiving these score requirements for the class of 2021. Harvard, Yale, and MIT are among the schools that have announced SAT II test scores will be optional for the next admissions cycle.
In addition to anxiety surrounding these high-stakes tests, frustration continues to rise as a result of recent changes to this year’s AP exams. Not only will tests be administered at home and shortened to 45-minutes, students can use their books, notebooks, and other resources while taking the test. This has brought up many concerns regarding the validity of test scores and if colleges will offer credit for an open book, open note exam even though CollegeBoard has confirmed scores will be accepted by colleges.
Regardless of which exam you take, it’s important to prepare for it! Since school is out of session, you can take advantage of the extra time available to prep for these tests. Tri-Ed Tutoring offers one-on-one test prep tutoring for the SAT, ACT, and AP exams as well as in-person and online SAT prep classes. Registration is now open for our online class starting in June. Contact us for more information on our test prep services.