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Coronavirus Brings Nationwide Standardized Testing to a Halt

Everything is cancelled -- including standardized testing.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

March 24, 2020

Coronavirus Brings Nationwide Standardized Testing to a Halt
On March 16, both the SAT and ACT tests for the spring were cancelled in response to the Coronavirus in the USA. Students who have spent the last few weeks preparing in order to officially begin (or finish their college applications) are either rejoicing – or kind of freaking out. This decision affects all March, April and May test dates – as of now. As students continue to navigate the constant disruptions caused by the spread of Coronavirus, they can make tentative plans to resume normal activities – like taking the SAT and, or ACT. Here is what we know so far about plans to reschedule: Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.

College Board Makes Changes to SAT in Response to Coronavirus

College Board had plans to host a national testing day on May 2, 2020; however, that test date has officially been cancelled. The College Board also cancelled test make-ups for the March 14 test date, which had been scheduled to take place on March 28, according to collegeboard.org. As of now, the June 6, 2020, test date has NOT been cancelled; however, the College Board will assess whether or not it should remain on the calendar as the Coronavirus crisis in the country evolves. It seems as if the College Board will likely provide additional SAT testing opportunities for students to make up for the spring cancellations. If that is the case, these new test dates will probably not take place until after June 6. Those students that registered for the May 2 test (or any other make-up exams) can expect a full refund in the coming weeks. If you would like to register for the June 6 date, and you qualify for a free waiver, you will have to call the Customer Service department of College Board directly to register for the June exam. The College Board has contacted all colleges and universities in the country to inform them of the cancellation. If students have further questions about how this cancellation could affect their admissions chances, they should contact the schools that they have or are considering applying to and speak with an admissions team member directly.

ACT Cancels April Test Date, Reschedules for June 13

Like the SAT, the national ACT test date scheduled for April 4 has been moved to June 13. Those who have paid for the April 4 test can transfer their paid fees to the June 13 date – or another test date, according to the ACT website. However, if a student is not able to take the test on any of those dates, he or she will receive a full refund. In order to reschedule their test, all students who have registered will receive an email with instructions on what to do next. There is no need to contact the ACT directly, unless you have a specific question not answered by their instructional email. The ACT recognizes that there may be high school seniors who are still applying for Fall 2020 admissions and are currently working on a testing solution for those individuals. Students in this scenario should check the ACT website frequently for the latest updates.

Coronavirus Update from Dept of Ed: States Can Cancel Standardized Testing

As of March 20, 118,000 schools across the country have closed, which has affected nearly 54 million students, according to NBC News. With the closures, many have wondered the fate of statewide standardized testing that typically takes place at the end of the school year. In response to school closures, the Department of Education released a statement saying that schools can opt out of standardized testing for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. In the press release, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, stated, “Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.” Students should check their state’s education website for the latest information regarding standardized test cancellations.

Test Prep During Quarantine

Though it may be a few weeks or months before you’re gearing up for a standardized test, there has never been a better time to study. With hours on end at home, you can devote at least 15 minutes (or more!) a day to SAT or ACT test prep. CollegeBoard provides free SAT study resources through Khan Academy. Students can practice test questions on their desktop or via an app. ACT also has practice tests and expert tips through ACT Academy. While both of the above resources are free, there are also plenty of other test prep resources that come at a cost. However, the practice that they provide is much more extensive. Kaplan and The Princeton Review are both great platforms for students that are looking to get a little more out of their standardized test prep. It has been proven that preparing for standardized tests helps to boost student scores. Khan Academy claims that spending 20 hours on test prep is associated with an average 115-point score increase on the SAT. So, as you process your school and standardized test closures and cancellations, think about prep work you can do for the next big test in the meantime. Utilize test prep resources, read some classic literature and check out some of our test prep advice! You’ll be ready when the Coronavirus outbreak is at an end, and standardized test dates are back on the calendar.

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