SAT/ACT cancellations – How to work around and what you need to know

The March SAT and April ACT have been cancelled due to COVID-19 and the health and safety of others. If you’re a junior and have had a set game plan, or were just planning on winging it as a start (we get it!), you might be a bit unsure as to how to even take your next step.

First, take a breath. What is important to remember is that ultimately colleges will be mindful of global pandemics and unforeseen events that can cause a major rift in access to completing a piece of the admission process. College Board announced they will be adding more SAT testing dates, we don’t know when, but there are also future test dates well into the fall of senior year that will still be acceptable for college applications. ACT is also offering to shift your testing date for free if you signed up for the April exam to June or later. For example, the UCs will accept test scores up until December of senior year (safely most students can take up until the October exam for a majority of deadlines)

Second, think about your specific testing plan.

If you were already studying and planning on taking the March or April exams and now have a break, create a consistent strategy to maintain the preparation you have done for these exams.

Keep in mind, as you are home learning, you will need to balance an entirely new schedule of all of your classes from home, homework, your sanity and wellness, a.k.a getting some Vitamin D when you can (all while maintaining social distancing).

It is important to weave in SAT/ACT prep that maintains the work you’ve done so you can stay prepared for an exam now further than you expected. This could look like one hour a week of home SAT/ACT learning. You can use free online services such as Kahn Academy or Number 2 ACT. Incorporate one or two full practice exams as well. There are free downloadable ones online, or you can see if a local test prep company offers it online as well and will time you remotely.

Remind yourself that a bulk of your knowledge surrounding these exams have come from your school curriculum. So rather than thinking you’ll lose all of the knowledge, continuing fine tune studying/practicing on the problems or areas that you need growth. This could look like practicing those Algebra equations or reading comprehension.

If you were planning on taking the SAT or ACT later that is okay too! Same rules apply, build consistent testing momentum, work on the areas most needed and incorporate practice exams.

If you were planning on taking SAT Subject Tests, keep in mind that you may shift those until later to prioritize the SAT, or the other way around. Remember, testing is unique to EACH student. So what one student is doing doesn’t necessarily something you might need to you.

BTW, subject tests are by and large NOT required by most universities, read this post from Compass to gain a better perspective.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out test optional colleges. These are colleges that do not require SAT/ACT for admissions. Not grade optional, so do ensure you keep up your home learning.

Information, dates and news will continue to change, so do check reputable sources (College Board and ACT) directly for information. Search ACT or College Board in your email search bar to sift through the clutter.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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