For many high school juniors and seniors, SAT and ACT tests are an additional chance to prove their strengths to college admissions officers. Preparing for these exams is an ongoing process that requires students to develop a study plan in order to succeed. In addition to students actually taking the exam, a new challenge presented itself this spring: the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has affected college visits, financial aid packages, and now, test dates.
On April 15th, College Board announced the cancellation of their June SAT test date after canceling their March and May test dates. ACT, Inc. has also taken similar measures by rescheduling their April 4th test date to June 13th. This solidifies the cancellation of all spring dates for both ACT and SAT tests. According to the College Board, this means that one-million first-time test-takers in the class of 2021 weren’t able to take the exam in the spring.
On the bright side, if COVID-19 urges high schools to be closed through fall, College Board and ACT, Inc. have already provided flexible summer schedules, at-home testing options, free test prep resources, and additional test dates.
What College Board promises for Fall 2020 SAT test dates:
During the press conference, David Coleman, chief executive of College Board, said the company would seek to expand capacity due to “pent-up demand of students who wish to test.” In addition to this, they plan to add a new weekend test date in the month of September if allowed and necessary. Students who registered for the June SAT will have priority in registering for all test dates scheduled for August and beyond.
College Board has also decided to add a new test date on September 26 along with their previously scheduled August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5 dates.
What ACT, Inc. promises for Fall 2020 test dates:
ACT, Inc. understands that their priority is the health of their students and abiding by CDC’s guidelines. With that said, they’ve promised students flexibility in scheduling tests during the months of June and July. The ACT also plans on providing an online-testing option for students in addition to the three already scheduled fall testing dates.
“During this time of crisis due to COVID-19, we understand that students need more flexibility in taking the ACT test, and these steps are intended to help students stay on track with college planning and career exploration,” said Marten Roorda, chief executive.
How test changes affect the students
The effects of COVID-19 on standardized tests put additional stress on students to excel. College admissions officers are anticipating several trends in their applications for the class of 2021 like a high rate of pass/fail grade classes and students needing more financial aid. Although most colleges use the holistic admissions process, institutions keeping their standardized test requirements may be looking at test scores more closely to evaluate which applicants stood out regardless of the obstacles presented.
Many students already find it difficult to take exams. Make sure you’re using the flexibility presented by College Board and ACT, Inc. to your advantage. Using your resources to stand out will be critical in receiving a college acceptance letter.
How you can prepare to take the SAT and ACT in the fall
College Board recognizes that prepping for the SAT is no easy task so they’ve offered students free resources leading up to fall test dates to ensure their success. Along with Khan Academy, they’re offering students SAT boot camps, free full-length practice tests, and personalized learning tools. To sign up for a free live-event or any additional free resources, click here.
For students and parents, ACT has trusted a non-profit in its initiative to help students, parents, and the workforce during this time. Students can now use ACT Academy to explore their skills through individualized learning plans. The ACT Academy offers students educational games, quizzes, and previous ACT exam questions.
Free online resources to help you prepare for the new Fall test dates
Although it’s important to have your own methods for studying, there are a plethora of free resources online and study tactics that can help you get ready for this fall. Here are a few we recommend:
Kaplan: It’s a difficult time and Kaplan has recently reduced pricing on their tutoring and test-prep services. However, they are also offering free informational webinars on a variety of topics.
The Princeton Review: The Princeton Review is offering free SAT online exams throughout the week. You can register for one of these free exams by clicking here.
McGraw Hill Education: Get ready for the ACT with these two full-length ACT exams. McGraw Hill has put together a series of videos and other ACT preparation resources to ensure students do well on the exam. Get access to the exams by clicking here.
PrepFactory: PrepFactory doesn’t include full-length practice exams, however, it tests your ACT strategies and helps you master concepts often found on the ACT. This way you’re prepared for any question that may appear on the exam. To get started with PrepFactory’s study approach, click here.
Youtube: Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. Use it to your advantage. Many companies like Princeton Review, College Board, and ACT have study tip videos on Youtube. Although they are in a shorter format, it may help you understand a difficult topic by listening to an actual person explain it.
Online flashcards: Flashcards actually work! Take a different approach to the classic studying method by researching some online ACT and SAT flashcards. These resources also usually include an explanation with every answer.
Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.”: Practice reducing distractions so you can focus on studying effectively.
COVID-19 has affected more than just standardized tests in the college application process. In our recent blog post How Coronavirus is Affecting College Admissions, we discuss COVID-19’s impact on admitted student events, college visits, and financial aid packages. In an effort to shed some light on the situation, Prepory is offering free college admissions resources to high school students during this time. Some of the services include college essay reviews, scholarship sourcing, access to our college exploration workshops, and negotiating financial aid packages. You can start benefiting from these services by signing up.