With the June SAT test date recently canceled and June ACT test date looking unlikely to go ahead, you may be wondering whether you should still take either. This is especially the case for juniors who have not already taken the test, or considered taking it again. Now you find yourself faced with the question: to take or not to take? Is it even worth my time and effort if some colleges no longer require it? Can I juggle the work that I need to put in to prepare as well as the added pressure of studying online?
Let's dive in, and answer all those questions and more.
Should I still take the SAT?
While the cancellation of standardized tests affects all high school students applying for college admission next year, the impact is being felt to varying degrees. The choice to take or not take the test will differ for everyone as it depends on the set of circumstances you find yourself in. Let’s have a look at some of the factors to consider in deciding whether or not to take it.
Firstly, think about the colleges you would like to apply to.
While many colleges have suspended standardized testing, including Boston University, Case Western Reserve, and the University of California and California State University, many colleges are still requiring it. If you need to submit test scores in order to apply, then the question of whether or not to take it is answered for you.
If you have already done the prep work before the tests got canceled...
...then some quick revision before the test should have you prepared and ready to take it when the exam is eventually offered again. Maintain your pre-pandemic position and be ready to sit the test when the new test dates go ahead. That way, all that work and preparation you put in won’t be wasted.
If you haven´t prepared, but have the time and resources to prepare (and taking it would enhance your application and show your competitiveness)...
...then taking it is probably your best bet. If your course load isn’t weighing you down or you expect to have free time in the summer, then you could use that time to prepare! There are plenty of online resources available—including free SAT or ACT prep tests and study guides online that you can take, webinars, and online tutors.
Perhaps you think your strengths lie in the other components of your application, and skipping the SAT may not hurt your acceptance chances. It’s important to remember that testing is just one part of the application, there are many other components that make up a competitive application. Take stock of these components and consider whether you can stand on these alone. If you have a strong GPA, have taken full advantage of the AP courses your high school offers, and held leadership roles in activities outside of the classroom, then those alone may be sufficient to demonstrate your competitiveness.
Another factor to consider is scholarship funding.
If you are planning on applying to merit-based scholarships, test scores are often a requirement. Scholarships provided by test-optional colleges, may not require them, but most will, so if you are relying on scholarships to help fund your education, then you need to bear this in mind.
Lastly, your mental well-being is important!
If you are struggling with the shift to online learning, feeling overwhelmed or anxious, then perhaps the stress of trying to prepare just isn’t worth it. It might be better to let the test go for now and focus on your high school coursework. During this already stressful time, it’s important that you don’t overload yourself and put your own learning and well-being at risk. You can always re-assess in the summer.
What about SAT subject tests?
Again, it’s important to take stock and prioritize. SAT subject tests aren’t widely required by colleges, so you don´t need them to apply. If you haven’t taken the SAT I or want to sit it again, then you might want to reconsider whether taking subject tests is really crucial to your application. If your load is already full, then your efforts are better focused on the SAT I than the subject tests.
However, there are some circumstances, where take a subject test would benefit your application:
- Some major or specialized programs recommend subject tests, for example, engineering or BS/MD programs.
- To compensate for a course that has a fail/pass grade–if pass/fail is now only available for classes that are important for your choice in major, then taking a subject test might help demonstrate your competency.
How long will the onsite test be put on hold?
There are so many unknowns at this point in time, so its a bit difficult to speculate. But you can expect onsite testing will remain suspended for as long as schools are closed. The next SAT test date is scheduled for late August, but if it can´t be onsite, online options will probably be offered. Testing agencies understand that these are unprecedented times and consideration of these disruptive times needs to be made to ensure that testing remains fair and equitable.
Message from the Empowerly team:
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