What to do if your SAT or ACT was Canceled

Jed Applerouth, PhD
March 17, 2020
#
min read
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Yesterday, The College Board and ACT, Inc. announced that in response to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the SAT and ACT will be suspended until June. Students who were planning to take the makeup SAT on March 28, the ACT on April 4, or the SAT on May 2 will have to make adjustments to their testing plans.

For students who had prepared or have been preparing for these tests for weeks or months, this decision, though necessary for public safety, was disappointing. At the same time, the delays don’t mean that the work you have been putting in this spring will be for naught or that you won’t be ready to apply for college come fall.

If your spring SAT or ACT was canceled, here are steps you can take to make sure you are prepared once testing resumes:

Manage the delay between your preparation and official test dates

If you were fully prepared to take the March SAT or April ACT, we know that the delay can feel like a setback. But a delay between preparation and official test dates can be okay if you manage it appropriately. Many of our students complete a comprehensive prep course over the summer and then wait several months to take their first official test. Here’s the key: if you’re going to have a long break between the end of your prep and your official test, you need to take one or two practice tests and make time for several review sessions the month leading up to your official test administration. And, if you engage in more deliberate, consistent practice and take additional practice tests between now and June, the break can actually be an opportunity to achieve a higher score.

Shift your testing schedule

Yesterday’s testing cancelations mean that you will have to shift your testing schedule. For example, if you were planning to take official SATs in March, May, and June, you may need to consider a new testing plan that incorporates the June, August, and October test dates. To supplement the remaining test dates, The College Board has indicated that it “will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as feasible in place of canceled administrations.” We do not yet know when these new administrations will be added, but we will continue to follow the College Board’s updates and will keep you updated.

If you were preparing for the April and June ACTs, you may shift towards preparation for the June and July tests - or even towards July and September. Students who were enrolled in the April ACT will receive an email from ACT, Inc. in the next few days with instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.

Given the spring testing cancelations, test sites will be in higher demand in June, July and August, so we recommend that you sign up earlier to secure spots in your desired test centers at Collegeboard.org and ACT.org.

For international test-takers, the loss of the March and May SAT test dates will have a more profound effect, as the next scheduled SAT dates are not until August, October, and December. International students who had similar SAT and ACT baseline scores should consider switching to the ACT, which offers international testing in June, September, October and December.

Use breaks to spread out the preparation

Since you now have longer until the next official test date, you’ll want to use that time to continue to develop your skills and maintain some momentum. If you have already put in substantial prep time, you can certainly space things out, meeting with your tutor less frequently and continuing to take a practice test after every six hours of preparation. If you are just getting started with preparation, you can now can plan your time accordingly, knowing that the earliest possible test date is not until June. With all of our students, we will work to maintain a proactive but also flexible stance, setting up an optimal prep schedule based on the dates we anticipate that testing will be available, but also allowing room to make adjustments should further changes or cancelations occur.

Plan for AP exams and SAT Subject Tests

The College Board also announced that it is streamlining AP exam options to potentially allow students to test at home during the May testing period if the circumstances demand it. The College Board will communicate the details to students by this Friday, March 20. Additional prep resources, including AP lessons and review sessions, will be made available to students to help them prepare at home.

Many students applying to more selective schools will want to use the June test date to complete their SAT Subject Tests, since they will already be preparing for AP or IB exams on those subjects. You cannot take the SAT on the same day as you take SAT Subject tests, so if you find yourself in this position you should consider shifting your SAT prep to the August and October dates. Assuming the current schedule holds, if you’re planning to take the ACT and the SAT Subject Tests, you can take the Subject Tests June 6th and the ACT on June 13th.

What we’re doing to help our students affected by delays

We know that the current situation is stressful and even frightening for our students and their families, and we are committed to supporting our students who are navigating these changes. We are working to extend our students’ online access to all of our digital content and to create free review sessions for them ahead of the June tests. We will be communicating directly with those students to convey our plan.

Staying in the know

We’re keeping a close watch on these developments to ensure you have the information you need for a successful testing experience. Information is moving at a rapid clip, and not all of the things people are hearing from neighbors and friends is accurate. It’s our job to stay tuned to the changes and keep you updated as we learn more. If you have questions about how these changes may affect your student’s prep plans, please reach out to us at info@applerouth.com or 866-789-PREP (7737). We’re here to support you.

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