The Ivy Coach Daily

April 16, 2020

ACT and SAT in the Age of Coronavirus

The pandemic has led to major testing changes for high school students.

With Wednesday’s announcements by College Board, the maker of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests as well as by ACT, the maker of the ACT, that at-home tests are in the works for the fall, we figured we’d focus today’s post on all your testing questions. So here goes!

Q. My child is in 10th grade. I’ve noticed more and more elite universities are going test-optional. Should she still prepare for the ACT or SAT or it it a waste of time?

A. She should absolutely be preparing for the ACT or SAT. Remember, just because a school goes test-optional doesn’t mean that school doesn’t want to see great test scores. Even test-optional schools have to submit their data to US News & World Report, data that includes test scores. Test-optional schools, logically, receive fewer test scores from applicants. So those who do submit test scores to these schools end up being bigger fish in the smaller pond of scores. They thus have greater influence over the school’s ranking. And does every elite college care about its ranking? You bet.

Q. But what about MIT, which recently announced that students can’t even submit SAT Subject Test scores?

A. MIT is an exception, not the rule. Haven’t you seen He’s Just Not That Into You? Just about all test-optional schools still allow students to submit test scores. And even MIT still requires the SAT or ACT.

Q. Will my child be able to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests in June?

A. No. The June SAT and SAT Subject Test administration has been canceled. As of now, the next administration will be in August. It will be offered at least one weekend a month beginning then.

Q. Will my child be able to take the ACT in June?

A. Possibly. As of now, as announced by ACT, the ACT will offer testing with reschedule options for June 13 – June 20. As of now, July testing will be offered as well.

Q. What will the take-home ACT and SAT look like?

A. No one can answer this question. And if they do answer this question, run. Because it seems not even College Board and ACT yet know. So how should students prepare? The same way they’ve been preparing for prior administrations of the ACT and SAT. And what’s the best resource? Real previously administered tests — not the made up questions test prep companies publish.

Q. How will these tests be secure to prevent cheating?

A. Who knows. As reported by The New York Times, “The College Board’s president, Jeremy Singer, described plans for a remote proctoring system that ’locks down everything else in the computer. The camera and microphone are on, you can detect any movement in the room. If the parents are in there, next to them, that would be detected.’”

Q. Isn’t it unfair that some students will be able to take the test in the privacy of their own bedrooms while other students may not have quiet areas to take it?

A. If you read yesterday’s New York Times article on the changes in the works by College Board and ACT, there was a quote from the hypocritical and deceitful Mark Sklarow, who as many of our readers know is one of the biggest perpetuators of misinformation about the college admissions process and is a villain of this college admissions blog. He questioned how it can be equitable for some students to take the tests in their bedrooms while others take it at their dining rooms. It’s as though he’s implying the ACT and SAT were ever “equitable.” Wait, all these years, wealthier students could get fancy test prep to boost their scores? Mon Dieu! The inequity!

Q. Isn’t it weird that College Board and ACT announced all these changes on the same day?

A. No. They’re arch-rivals competing for marketshare. ACT’s announcement came hours after College Board’s announcement. Test cancelations are a grave threat to both businesses. The University of California system’s recent decision to eliminate the SAT/ACT requirement for the Class of 2025 in light of the pandemic was most unwelcome news to these organizations. After all, the University of California system was their biggest customer. And there’s a real possibility that once schools go test-optional, they stay test-optional.

Q. How is my child supposed to prep for the SAT, ACT, and/or SAT Subject Tests while he’s stuck at home?

A. Ivy Coach’s SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Test one-on-one tutoring has been virtual for many years. If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s tutoring which regularly boosts students’ scores quite significantly, fill out our free consult form, indicate tutoring, and we’ll be in touch.

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