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College Entrance Test Changes

*Updated April 21, 2020

Given all the changes occurring in the College Admissions process in regards to testing and test prep, we’ve compiled some suggestions as to how to proceed. We are here to support you during this difficult time! 

We are all adjusting to remote learning. This is true for parents, students, teachers, and tutors alike. However, this is also an adjustment period for the College Board, ACT, and colleges and universities across the country and around the globe. Colleges and universities are aware of the stress students are currently facing, and many of them have become more lenient in their requirements for this application cycle and the next few application cycles. 

So, what’s the plan?

Many colleges and universities have announced that they will go test optional (will not require the SAT or ACT) for the 2021 admissions cycle- including the UC and Cal State systems. However, according to the LA Times, UC President Janet stated that “students can still submit standardized test scores, which can support their statewide UC eligibility and application for scholarships and help fulfill some graduation requirements.” Thus, although these exams are not a requirement, they can still help students in the admissions process. 

2020 College Entrance Exam Dates
2020 College Entrance Exam Dates
Please note the College Board has cancelled the June 6, 2020 exam

Currently, the College Board and ACT have the dates below scheduled and the ACT still plans on administering June tests. We will be monitoring the testing schedule and will help you make any necessary changes to your testing plan. The College Board also announced that it may add more test dates or other means of testing if necessary. 

What are my next steps?

At the present time, we recommend the following:

Breathe – this time of uncertainty can cause a lot of anxiety, but we want to emphasize the importance of grounding and calm so that you can move forward with ease. Read our blog entitled Tips for Test Anxiety for more on grounding.

Check-in and Strategize – Check-in with yourself and your family! How are you feeling about the current situation? Do you need to take a break or do you want to continue test prep? Every situation is different for each family, so it will take some teamwork and communication to figure out what plan of action is best for you! Planning together can also help reduce any stress and anxiety that you are all feeling. Also, create a backup plan in the event of test cancellations in June!

Testing Options

If you were preparing to take a March or April Test your options are:

  1. Take a break and then resume prep closer to the June Test (May) if you’re preparing for the ACT. This option allows you to take some time to relax before you refocus. This way you can avoid experiencing “burnout”. You can either resume tutoring or study independently using past course materials and practice tests. 
  2. Keep the momentum going by setting goals and working towards them! You will want to maintain some aspect of structure and will be motivated to keep working. We recommend reviewing past practice tests and material covered during your prep course. Even 1 hour a week can assure that you retain valuable skills. 
  3. We highly recommend registering for a June test as soon as possible if you decide that you’d like to take it! The registration deadline for both the June ACT is May 8th.
  4. If you are taking the ACT, you may want to register for the July test as well. In the event that the June test gets cancelled, your registration will be transferred. However, the ACT scheduled for July will not administered at all locations. The registration deadline for this exam is June 19. Further, check with your summer plans to ensure that you are available during the test date. 

If you have not taken a practice test yet:

We recommend trying a full-length test sooner rather than later. That way you can have a baseline to assess your progress and move forward from there. Read our blog entitled Does Taking a Practice SAT/ACT Test Make a Difference? Feel free to email us, and we can send you a practice test with in-home testing instructions. You will also submit your answer sheets and receive grading from us. From there, we’re happy to help you build a test prep plan to fit your needs whether it’s with one of tutors or independently. 

If you plan to test in the fall:

Registration for the fall SAT exams opens in July! If you have tried to register recently, the dates may appear “closed.” This does not mean you missed the deadline, but rather that registration has not opened yet. Please note that if you plan to apply Early Decision or Early Action, you need to have your tests completed BEFORE the deadline, which is usually November 1st or 15th. If you are applying to schools with late December and January deadlines, then you have plenty of time to test during the first semester. 

What about Subject Tests?

Subject Tests are starting to phase out of the application process, as no schools currently require them for all applicants. Many schools recommend Subject Tests, but given the current circumstances, colleges are being more lenient and more schools may decide they are not necessary.

Subject tests are administered by the College Board, so students have to choose between the SAT and Subject Tests since they are administered on the same day. If you feel strongly about taking Subject Tests, and you are taking the June SAT, you may want to consider taking Subject Tests in August to space things out and allow you to review. There are also other testing opportunities that may be compatible with your application timeline. If you feel overwhelmed or you feel that Subject Tests may not be necessary, this would allow you more time to prepare for the SAT or ACT; You should always prioritize the SAT and ACT. 

AP Tests will be administered online and they will be 45-minute free-response exams. We offer assistance with preparation for these exams in English, Spanish, Chemistry, Biology, and Calculus AB. You can find more information about the exam and how it will be administered here

Please Remember…

Students, faculty, staff, and parents across the country and around the world are facing similar challenges. 

You will still have the opportunity to take these tests! Additionally, there will still be time to test again, and will be able to test more than once. We recommend that students test 2-3 times. 

We are happy to offer assistance! You can schedule a 20-minute phone consultation here where we can recommend a testing course of action. 

We are happy to build a custom plan for your family based on your needs, budget, and availability. We can also grade your practice test and provide you with a full score report free of charge. But most importantly, during this time prioritize staying healthy, and taking care of yourself and your loved ones!

(Some parts adapted from Summit Educational Group) 

More information from Summit can be found here:

“UC to ease admission requirements: No SAT, no letter grades due to coronavirus”

“Coronavirus Drives colleges to Test Optional”