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COVID FAQs: Test-Taking in the Time of Coronavirus

By May 8, 2020 May 12th, 2020 No Comments

What to know about COVID Testing

COVID-19 has changed the landscape of college admissions so much over the past few months, especially with regards to SAT and ACT testing. While the team at Mindfish has successfully moved all standardized test preparation to an online format, we know that there are still many questions surrounding when and how students will take the SAT and ACT exams. We have compiled some of the most common questions below, along with answers based on the most up-to-date information that we have. Here’s what you need to know about COVID testing: 

Since COVID-19 has encouraged a number of schools to go test-optional, do my SAT or ACT scores really matter?

While this is a complex question that colleges will have to decide for themselves, the short answer is that a competitive score will enhance your application – even if the school is test-optional. Being test-optional does not necessarily mean that the school you’re applying to doesn’t value your SAT or ACT score. Instead, it reflects their understanding of the COVID-19 test changes (e.g. SAT and ACT cancellations) and the impact that these testing changes may have on student performance.

Even with these new test-optional policies, it is likely that most students will still submit standardized test scores to colleges as a way of differentiating themselves during the application process. Therefore, if you have been studying for an ACT or SAT exam, even if your original exam has been cancelled, keep studying! Achieving a competitive SAT or ACT score will provide you with more options in the long run (especially in terms of schools that you can apply to) and will enrich your college application in a holistic manner.

When will I be able to take the SAT or ACT?

For the SAT 

As of writing this blog post (May 8, 2020), the June 6 SAT has been cancelled, and the next three SAT exams are scheduled for August 29, September 26, and October 3. Students will be able to register for these exams starting in May. The College Board announced that they will contact students directly starting the week of May 26 to provide them with more detailed information regarding registration. Students who were registered for the June exam, or those who are in the high school class of 2021 and do not currently have SAT scores, will be given early access to register for these exams.

For the ACT 

Earlier this year, the ACT cancelled its April 4 national test date in response to the coronavirus outbreak and rescheduled the exam for June 13. The ACT exams on June 13 and July 18 are currently scheduled to run as originally planned (if in compliance with CDC and local guidelines at the time of testing). There are two makeup test dates planned for the June and July ACT exams if they need to be rescheduled: the makeup date for the June 13 test will be June 20, and the makeup date for the July 18 test will be July 25. Students are also able to change from the June to July national test date without any fees.

Is remote online ACT or SAT testing an option?

According to announcements from the College Board and the ACT in mid-April, online testing will likely become an option in the late fall/early winter. The College Board stated that online SAT testing is likely in the event that students are unable to go back to school in the fall; the ACT announced that online testing will begin in the late fall since they were already planning to offer an online test option to students this year. In its press release, the College Board said it would “ensure that at-home SAT testing is simple; secure and fair; accessible to all; and valid for use in college admissions.” While the specifics of online ACT or SAT testing have not yet been released, students can expect that the format will be similar to the in-person exams.

As of right now, the scheduled August/September SAT exams and the June/July ACT exams will still take place in-person and on paper. However, the good news is that here at Mindfish, with our bi-weekly online practice tests and remote tutoring via Zoom, students are already being prepared to take an online exam. If a decision is made that online testing is required or when online testing is made available in the fall, we will have more information and online test-taking strategies to help our students prepare.

The SAT/ACT that I prepared for was cancelled – what do I do? 

We completely understand that SAT and ACT cancellations are a frustrating reality for many students right now. The good news is that if you finished a prep course for an exam in April, May, or June, you’ve already learned all of the material that you need to succeed on the test! Now, you just have to keep reviewing your course material and taking practice tests on an occasional basis. If you need to take a short break from test prep before jumping back in, take it! Give yourself the break you need and then create a plan that includes online practice tests and SAT/ACT content review prior to your new exam date. If you feel discouraged, remember your reason for taking the SAT or ACT: to get into the college of your dreams.

We at Mindfish are here to support you throughout this confusing and chaotic time. If you have any questions about the SAT or ACT exams and how to best prepare for them, please give us a call at (720) 204-1042 or contact us at info@mindfish.com.