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Jonathan Reidenouer

SAT Cancelled: Now What?

Both March and May SAT test dates have been cancelled. How should students proceed?

If you’re like everyone else in the United States right now, you likely asking the question, “What is going on out there?!”

And if you are an educator, student, or the parent of a student, you must feel as if your entire world has been flipped upside down. School closures have forced students out of classrooms and into isolation at home. Most public schools are not permitted to switch to online instruction due to the fact that not all students have internet access. Many other schools now have students learning online from teachers who aren’t experienced in such instruction.

With less than three months before the end of the school year, everyone involved feels like they’re in a state of limbo. You may be wondering about graduation requirements like senior projects or state standardized test scores. Perhaps you’re concerned about whether you’ll be able get those college credits by taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. If you are a high school junior, you must have a lot of questions about the SAT.

On March 14, most students were unable to take the SAT, as testing locations—both nationally and internationally—chose to shut down and not administer the exam. Shortly after, The College Board announced that the May 2 SAT was cancelled. The vast majority high school juniors rely on the March and May SAT test dates in order to get their SAT scores in before final exams and summer vacation, but now both those have been eliminated for the bulk of test-takers.

What about the SAT?

In response to the continually evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the College Board has announced that both the May 2 SAT and SAT Subject Tests and the makeup exams for the March tests (scheduled for March 28) have been cancelled.

So…when is the SAT? As of right now, the College Board is still planning on administering the June 6 SAT and SAT Subject Test Students. An additional international SAT administration later this school year is also being considered. The College Board will share additional information and details directly with registered students and test centers as the situation continues to develop.

For those who had already registered for the May SAT or whose test centers were closed for the March test, you most likely have questions about those registration fees. Well, the College Board has announced that not only will those who were unable to take the March or May SAT get their money back, but anyone who took the March test but didn’t receive their scores or who do not receive March scores because of any irregularities will receive refunds as well.

As events continue to play out, the College Board will share more information directly with registered students and test centers. The makers of the SAT pledge to be as flexible as possible to provide additional testing opportunities to make up for cancelled administrations. Of course, the College Board wants everyone to know that its top priority is the health and safety of students and educators. The status of all tests is continually being assessed, so it’s best to check with the College Board regularly in order stay up to speed on cancellations, makeups, refunds, and more.

How can students continue to prepare?

Having the SAT cancelled obviously isn’t desirable, but there are advantages to the difficult situation. The good news is that you now have more than two months to prepare for the next time it’s offered. The downside is that you don’t have that previous score to provide perspective on your ability and goals for your next test performance. That’s where SAT practice tests really come into play.

All 10 of the College Board’s official SAT practice tests are available for download online, along with the answer keys, explanations, and tables to determine your scaled scores. The more practice tests you take, the more familiar with the test you’ll become and the more prepared you’ll be for that June 6 test.

If you’re like most students, you are especially in need of help with SAT Math prep. While you’re prepping at home now, you can access all the great insights online, such as a detailed description of how you can use your TI-84 calculator to the fullest on the Calculator section. In addition to all the great free resources out there, you may want that extra edge to bump your score to the next level. In order to get the most out of your preparation process, you should seek out an experienced tutor who can direct your SAT math practice and teach you the test-taking skills and time-management tips that will lead to your best possible score on the next SAT.

What about AP tests and the ACT?

In addition to being the maker of the SAT, the College Board also administers the AP exams. With the understanding of the unexpected challenges posed by the coronavirus protocols, the College Board is developing a new at-home testing option. For only the 2019-20 AP exams, there will be two different testing dates for each subject so that all students will be accommodated: some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh, while other students may want more time to practice. The College Board is committed to making sure every student who wants to take the AP exams will be able to do so:

  • Secure 45-minute online free-response exams are being developed for each course.

  • The content of each exam will focus on what most schools were able to complete before they were closed in March.

  • Exams can be taken on any device you have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. You’ll even have the option of writing your responses by hand and submitting photos of your work.

  • To accommodate students who may not have access to the internet or a device, the College Board is working on solutions to help them get what they need to show their best work. If you or anyone you know needs mobile tools or connectivity, just contact the College Board directly and they will be more than happy to help. In case you’re wondering, the AP exams will be secure. The College Board is using a number of digital security tools, including plagiarism detection software, to ensure that the tests are fairly administered and that the results are legitimate. All the testing information, including the full exam schedule and free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, will be available by April 3.

If you’re one of the many students who were planning to take the ACT test in April, it should come as no surprise that it has also been cancelled. All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT providing instructions for free rescheduling to a future ACT national test date. If you can’t or don’t wish to reschedule, you will receive a refund of your April registration fee. The next national ACT test dates are June 13 and July 18, while the next international test dates are June 12-13 and July 17-18. The folks at ACT are adamant in their commitment to the safety of students and test center staff as their top priority.

What resources are available online?

For AP exams, the College Board is now providing online AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These mobile-friendly courses will be available on-demand, so you will be able to access them at any time. While these review courses will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of your AP classes, there will also be some supplementary lessons covering the remainder of the material.

There are lots of free resources out there for the SAT and the ACT as well. While the two tests have their differences, much of the preparation you can do will apply to both. If tests are administered in June as currently proposed, you will have to prep for them simultaneously. Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review offer a slew of online test prep materials and practice tests for both the SAT and ACT.

With students, teachers, and many parents stuck at home, this is the perfect time to scour the internet for information about online SAT prep and tips on how to study for the SAT. With teachers and other qualified experts now relegated to their homes as well, there is a wider selection of tutors out there than ever before. High supply means lower rates, but that also means you’ll need to be thorough as you look for the right person. Make sure you ask the right questions so you can find the perfect tutor to suit your needs.

While those tests you had hoped to take in March, April, and May have been cancelled, the organizations that administer them are committed to providing opportunities for retakes and resources for preparation. Your plans have been disrupted, there is still time to regroup and focus on the next round of tests. With expert tutors and quality resources available online, you can actually capitalize on your time at home to be fully prepared for the SAT on June 6.