Woodlands Test Prep is actively monitoring the COVID-19 crisis. For the safety of our students and our employees, we have made several changes to our practices. For the latest information on Woodlands Test Prep policy, click here.
The June SAT Cancellation
The College Board announced that the June SAT was cancelled on April 15th. The following day, ACT, Inc. reaffirmed their commitment to the June and July ACT dates. The day after that, Governor Abbott announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Given all of seismic shifts in those three days, here’s what you need to consider: when the SAT will next be offered, the possibility of also taking the ACT, and what “test optional” *actually* means.
SAT testing schedule: The SAT will next be offered on August 29th and then once a month through December. If you had been preparing to take the SAT this spring, the big question becomes “Should I delay my preparation?” Given that school remains at home this academic year and given that the summer is yet unknown, it makes sense to complete preparing for the SAT now, while students' schedules are at least somewhat knowable and somewhat clear of extra activities.
Plan to register for the August, September, and October SAT right away when registration opens in May. Registration for those SAT dates will open May 28. Students who were registered for the June administration and students who do not have an SAT score in the classes of 2020 and 2021 will have a one-week head start to register. All students can register for the November and December dates beginning May 28th. We expect demand to be heavy so be sure to register early and often!
Many schools will schedule and hold School Day SAT dates in the fall. While we don’t have any exact dates, we expect many local schools who were not able to hold their spring School Day SAT dates to reschedule for fall 2020, as well as some new schools who have never held one before.
To keep students’ skills sharp between now and the August SAT, students can take practice tests and evaluate their progress. One option is to schedule a few practice tests with us with our Test Flight Club. Students will take proctored tests using official materials (two dates available per month) with a detailed, computerized score report provided afterwards. They will then have the opportunity to participate in a two-hour group tutoring session to discuss how the test went and get specific personal feedback on their test with one of our most experienced tutors. Right now, we are conducting Test Flight Club online with a live proctor, and once we are able to meet in person, we’ll conduct the practice tests in person. You can see all the dates and details here.
Consider taking the ACT in June and/or July: Taking the ACT doesn’t commit you to sending those scores to colleges (you should never send your scores until you’re ready to send your applications in the fall), but it does give you options! If you’ve prepared for the SAT, you’ve learned the fundamental strategies that (for the most part) can translate to both tests. Woodlands Test Prep is planning to host an “ACT Translation” small group class starting late May or early June to show students how to take the ACT given their SAT strategies - check our website for more information on that.
Does “test optional” mean I can ignore taking these tests?: Nope. Let’s break down this topic into some manageable chunks.
- What does a “test optional” policy mean? It means that schools don’t require test scores for a complete application. This is in contrast to a “test blind” application policy where schools will specifically not consider your test scores even if you send them. Given the Zombie Apocalypse that we are currently experiencing, many colleges have announced a change in their application policies for the class of 2021 to a test optional policy. No colleges have moved to a test blind policy.
- What happens when a college goes test optional? Colleges experience at least two changes when they go test optional: average test scores rise and selectivity increases. Average test scores rise because students who are lower-scoring do not report their scores, so their overall average rises for the incoming class. Selectivity rises because students (incorrectly) perceive that it is easier to be accepted and more students apply. The college’s acceptance rate drops, increasing the school’s selectivity. Both of these changes benefit the college, not the student. In some cases, students also benefit from these policies, although that isn’t clear across the board. Test optional does create a new avenue for students who truly struggle with standardized testing; however, schools still value test scores as validation of grades and transcripts. In other words, while it may be easier to apply, it is *not* easier to be admitted. As of last week, UT and A&M confirmed that they had not altered their admissions policies and will still require test scores.
- But what about during the Zombie Apocalypse? It is quite possible that test scores will, ironically, be more important for the class of 2021 because of the erratic nature of this past semester’s grading. Schools across the nation have implemented wildly differing policies for conferring semester grades: give everyone an “A,” pass/fail, completion grades only, use grades as of school disbanding. Colleges will have a great deal of difficulty deciphering what grades actually mean in that context. Also, many summer internships, sports, performing arts, and other extracurricular activities have been cancelled. All of this means that a solid test score may carry even more weight than usual.
As always, Woodlands Test Prep is here to help you think through what makes the best sense for you and your student. Please let us know how we can help!
4/20/20, Updated 5/28/2020