Coronavirus Testing Policy Updates

Padya Paramita

Coronavirus Testing Policy Updates 

With safety measures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have already been notified of adjustments made to your SAT or ACT exam dates. On top of standardized tests being moved, there are also changes to be aware of regarding your end of year exams. As new developments come in each day, it can be hard to keep track of all the Coronavirus testing policy updates.

If you haven’t already, take some time to go over the canceled or postponed exam sessions to see which ones affect you. To help you stay in the loop about changes, I have included information on the SAT, the ACT, end of year exams such as the AP, IB, and A-Levels, along with how to go forward from here if your initial testing plans have been disrupted. We will continue posting Coronavirus testing policy updates as announcements are made.

Changes in the SAT and ACT

Your SAT or ACT score makes up a key part of your college application profile. In case you were hoping to sit for one of these exams soon, know that the Coronavirus testing policy updates include changes in SAT and ACT sittings.

  • SAT: The March and May SAT sittings were canceled in March by the College Board. On April 15, the team also announced that the June SAT will no longer be held. The board has announced that it will add an August date to make up for the lost sessions. The board is also on the lookout for providing students with at-home testing opportunities to make up for the missed sessions. 
  • ACT: The ACT organization has rescheduled the April 4 administration of the test to June 13 across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who were registered for the April exam have received an email with information on how to register for the June 13 session or a later test date free of cost. 

While this might be frustrating, test dates are still currently on for the summer. If anything happens with those dates, we presume that the fall dates will still be a possibility for any candidate who needs a standardized test score to apply to college in Fall 2021. The remaining SAT and ACT test dates are included in the table below:

Remaining SAT Dates for 2020 Remaining ACT Dates for 2020
June 6, 2020 June 13, 2020
August 29, 2020 July 18, 2020
October 3, 2020 September 12, 2020
November 7, 2020 October 24, 2020
December 5, 2020 December 12, 2020

End of Year Exam Updates for AP and IB Students

Alongside changes in the ACT and SAT, the Coronavirus testing policy updates also apply to exams you may have been planning to take at the end of senior year. 

  • AP exams: The College Board surveyed high school seniors asking whether they would still like to sit for the AP tests, and received a resounding yes from those who took the poll. The organization is thus in the process of developing a secure, 45-minute online free-response test for each course, without multiple choice questions. The board has stated that they are aware that different students might have access to different technology, and are allowing candidates to take the AP exams on any device — laptop, smartphone, tablet etc. They have also mentioned that students are allowed to write their responses by hand and submit a photo of their answer. Because students’ preparation may differ due to the shift to online classes, the College Board will announce two different dates for each AP course. High schoolers will only be tested on material taught until the end of March.
  • IB exams: While the AP exams will continue in a different way than students had initially anticipated, those registered for the IB exams were told last week that the International Baccalaureate has completely canceled the exams. Originally scheduled for April and May, the IB tests will no longer be held this year due to the ban on large gatherings and implementation of social distancing. Students in their senior year will receive the diploma contingent upon finishing all coursework, turning in internal assignments,  and the predicted grades they receive from their instructors.  
  • A-Level exams: It was also announced last week that students in the UK and other countries preparing for A-Levels would not have to sit for the exams in May. Similar to the IB, A-Level students will be evaluated on the basis of their school assignments and predicted grades as assigned by their teachers. 

For more information on Coronavirus testing policy updates, check out this video:

      How to Prepare in Light of this Situation

      Your study plans might be thrown off due to the Coronavirus testing policy updates. Here are some tips on keeping yourself on track as you prepare for your APs and the SAT.

      • Stay organized and take care of yourself: The transition to online classes isn’t easy, especially as you have to make the switch in the middle of the semester. It can take time to get used to the technology, figure out the logistics, and adjust to a new environment. As you continue to make the change, create a study space with as few distractions as possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teacher or school’s tech support team in case you struggle with Zoom or other apps. Make a schedule for yourself that allots time for rest, eating all your meals, and getting enough sleep. Remember to also save time for exercise, as sitting in one place all day isn’t the best for your health. As you settle into a routine, leave time to prepare for your AP exams or the SAT. 
      • Keep up with your SAT/ACT prep: If the Coronavirus testing policy updates have led to your SAT or ACT date being canceled or postponed, you must continue setting time aside to ensure you don’t forget everything you’ve studied. Because you don’t want all your efforts don’t go in vain, allot yourself a few hours a week to sit with your SAT books and dedicate time towards taking practice tests. College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide material for you to keep up prep. While colleges will definitely take the COVID-19 circumstances into consideration, your SAT score is a number that top schools evaluate when reading your file. Alongside bringing a high GPA, an impressive SAT or ACT result can strongly support your application. So, try your best to continue studying for the test, especially once it’s clearer when your sitting will actually be held. 
      • Look into test optional colleges: It’s understandable if the pandemic causes a significant disruption to your test prep — the current situation is undoubtedly unpredictable and stressful. If you believe that your SAT-taking skills aren't the best or you aren’t happy with your score, it’s not the end of the world. Numerous top schools are now flexible with their testing policies. UChicago is test optional, while NYU allows you to substitute AP or IB scores or SAT subject test scores instead of your SAT results. Columbia University, and recently, MIT, are two top schools which do not require students to take SAT subject tests. 

        New Test Optional Policies

        Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, several schools, including Cornell, Williams, Amherst, and the University of California colleges have declared the suspension of the SAT/ACT requirements for at least the next cycle. Some colleges have extended it to three-year pilot programs. You can view the full list of test optional institutions here.

          Updates on SAT Subject Tests

          Below we will include schools which have adjusted SAT subject test requirements due to the Coronavirus:

          • University of Pennsylvania — UPenn has just announced that SAT subject tests, which were previously recommended, are now optional for applicants during the 2020-21 cycle. The school still requires your SAT/ACT scores.
            • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT has announced that it will no longer consider subject tests as part of the admissions process. Students will still have to submit their SAT/ACT scores.

              We will continue updating this section as more schools announce how the COVID-19 cases will impact their testing policies.

              At the end of the day, remember that this is a situation everyone in the world is tackling. Admissions officers will review your GPA and test scores with the context of the pandemic in mind. That said, you should still try your best to keep up the hard work and do your best when it’s time to sit for your exams. Stay on top of the Coronavirus testing policy updates as you transition to online classes and a new schedule, while prioritizing your safety and well-being.

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