College Board Cancels all Spring SAT Exams
Having already cancelled its May 2 SAT test date, CollegeBoard announced this past week that it will be canceling its previously scheduled June 6 test date worldwide as well. This means that there will not be another SAT exam offered until August 29 at the very earliest, so nearly six months will have passed between possible SAT administrations for juniors planning to take the exam this year. In making this announcement, CollegeBoard also indicated that it is preparing an online version of the exam in the fall should in-person administrations still be prohibited by the pandemic. This follows in the footsteps of announcements from both GMAC and ETS that, at least temporarily, each organization would be offering and at-home online GMAT and an at-home online GRE exam respecctively.
What Does this Mean for 2021 College Applicants?
In the short term, there is one major difference between the SAT and ACT, namely that there is still an ACT administration scheduled for June 13 this year. Currently, that ACT is scheduled to be administered in-person, but the ACT may have a head start in offering an online version of its exam this summer should circumstances require such a move. This past fall, the ACT announced several changes that will go into effect with the September 2020 administration, including the option to take the exam online at testing centers to speed up the score release process. If the ACT is able to offer that online option remotely come June, or even for its other summer-scheduled exam this July, it could have a short-term monopoly on the college application standardized testing market.
That monopoly could be of limited value, though, since in response to the pandemic, many colleges, most notably the University of California system, have made the 2021 admissions process test-optional. Still, test-optional does not mean test-blind, and a good score on the ACT or SAT will be an asset for any student's college application. So for students with time on their hands while stuck under stay-at-home orders, preparing for the ACT or SAT may be a good way to make use of a potential mandatory lockdown.
How to Plot a Path Forward
If you or your child were already planning to take both the ACT and SAT, as would be recommended under normal circumstances, then the only major change is that it may be advisable to set an order for the exams by taking the ACT this summer and then the SAT in the fall. College Board has announced that to offset its spring cancellations, it will be offering an additional administration of the SAT in September to supplement the previously scheduled exams for August, October, November, and December. The ACT, of course will also offer exam dates in fall and winter 2020/21 as well.
Prepping for the ACT well should prepare any student for most of the skills required by the SAT. In fact, by preparing for the ACT first, there should be no unfamiliar portions on the SAT, since the Science section of the ACT is the only unique section for either exam. So, while there are certainly some unknowns pertaining to standardized testing for the class of 2021, one thing that hasn’t changed is that preparation leads to success. Whether you work with an SAT tutor, take an online SAT class, or pursue self-study, now is not the time to book ACT or SAT test preparation on the back burner.
About the Author
Stefan Maisnier is MyGuru's Director of Online Tutoring, as well as an expert (15+ years experience) GMAT, GRE, LSAT, SAT, ACT, & general test prep tutor. For more information on our online tutoring method for the SAT, click here.