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Testing Updates and Summit’s Recommendations during COVID-19

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The State of Standardized Testing in College Admissions

To Families and Colleagues,

As the weather warms, and we get glimpses of the country beginning to “open,” my impatience for the old normal is palpable. I’m sure many of you feel the same, including those juniors whose school year and college process were disrupted by the pandemic. To myself and to the juniors, I say, “hang in there!”.

While there is still plenty of uncertainty, each week brings added clarity to the world of standardized testing and college admissions. By now, most colleges have signaled various philosophies and admission approaches that are empathetic and forward-looking. They understand that all juniors across the country and around the globe are being affected.

Continue reading this message from Summit’s Founder & CEO, Charlie O’Hearn

Testing Updates

SAT and Subject Tests

The College Board canceled the SAT and SAT Subject Test administration slated for June 6. It has added a new test on September 26 to its existing roster of fall tests. They will not be administering SAT Subject Tests in September.

Registration for fall 2020 SAT opens at the end of May.

Read more SAT Coronavirus Updates

ACT

ACT said to expect an announcement with updates the week of May 26. For now, ACT June 13 and July 18 tests are scheduled, and ACT added makeup test dates of June 20 and July 25, respectively, for when a test center location is not able to open on the regular test date. Also, ACT stated it will offer a remote proctoring option for the ACT test in late fall/early winter 2020.

Registration for fall ACT dates opens in July.

Read more ACT coronavirus updates

AP Exams

On April 3, the College Board announced the dates for the new 45-minute, online AP exams. The table on their website shows primary dates for every exam and make-up dates (i.e. secondary dates), which can be found in the table at bottom. Scroll down or click the link at the top.

They have provided access to free online AP review courses. Read more AP exam coronavirus updates.

SSAT

The Enrollment Management Association (EMA) cancelled the April 25/26 SSAT administration and all SSAT Flex and Benchmark administrations until May 31. EMA extended its deadline for free test changes until July 31.

April 15 Update: The EMA announced it will offer large-scale online at-home administration of the SSAT beginning in fall 2020. The new “SSAT at Home” will also be administered on a limited basis starting mid-May.

Read more SSAT coronavirus updates.

ISEE

ERB, the administrators of the ISEE assessment, is offering families a secure, online, remotely-proctored option that enables students to take the exam at home. This option is only for those applying to grades 5 – 12 and testing in the U.S. and Canada.

Read more ISEE coronavirus updates.

Summit’s Recommendations

Here are some general guidelines. Keep in mind that your approach should be personalized to your student. If you are a Summit client, your Program Director will make a customized recommendation based on your student and our shared history of tutoring sessions and practice tests.

High School Juniors

SAT VS ACTFor juniors who have not taken their first official SAT or ACT.

If your first official SAT was one that was cancelled, we strongly recommend that you register for the August and September SAT knowing that you can take it again in October if needed. For all of these 3 test dates, you will have scores back in time for a November 1 early decision deadline. For the regular decision deadline you could potentially test in November or December (if needed). Registration for these tests will open in May with priority given to students who  registered for June SAT and have not taken an official SAT.

If you are on the ACT path, the June 13 and July 18 tests are still on (along with makeup dates of June 20 and July 25, respectively). However many schools are closed until the end of this academic year, thereby eliminating certain test center locations from the June dates. If you haven’t done so, register for a July test date as a hedge against June ACT cancelling. Start thinking about your fall testing plan, with the September ACT as your next opportunity. ACT may add an August test date but no announcement has been made.

Whether you are on an SAT or ACT path, we strongly recommend that you take a full length practice test under realistic conditions soon.

It will be easier to make decisions about how to structure the timing and content of your test preparation with a recent baseline score in hand. Summit provides a free consultation to students which includes a detailed score analysis and advice on how and when to test. Please feel free to contact one of our Program Directors for help with your test plan.

SAT SUBJECT TESTSWith the cancellation of the June SAT/SAT Subject Tests we recommend that students who have yet to take an official SAT not worry about taking Subject Tests. As with all general recommendations, there are always exceptions, please reach out to your program director for additional guidance and advice on changes to your testing plan.

Keep in mind the vast majority of students aren’t going to need Subject Tests. Only a few schools have programs that require SAT Subject Tests. Even those schools that traditionally recommend them, are stating on their websites that they are de-emphasizing them.

SAT VS ACTFor juniors who have taken at least one official test.

Use that score to decide what to do next. Most students test 2 or 3 times before college applications are due to make score improvements and to take advantage of superscoring and score choice options offered by some colleges. But there are a small percentage of students who scored well the first time they took it and might decide they’re done.

For students on an SAT path whose test plan was to retest in June, obviously, choose one of the fall dates based on your score goals. We anticipate high demand for all tests in fall 2020 so we encourage you to secure a test date when registration opens in May. Keep in mind that for the November 1 early decision deadlines, the August, September, or October SAT dates will get your scores back in time. You could also potentially test in November or December and still make regular decision deadlines.

For students on an ACT path, the June 13 and July 18 tests are still on (along with makeup dates of June 20 and July 25, respectively). However many schools are closed until the end of this academic year, thereby eliminating certain test center locations from the June dates. If you haven’t yet done so, register for a July test date as a hedge against June ACT cancelling. Start thinking about your fall testing plan, with the September ACT as your next opportunity. ACT may add an August test date but no announcement has been made.

SAT SUBJECT TESTSIf your test plan was to SAT retest in the fall, then using one of the other fall dates for SAT Subject Tests can be a good option. We want to emphasize though that taking your final SAT should take precedence over Subject Tests. If it makes sense for you go for it, but make sure you lock in your SAT score before worrying about SAT Subject Tests.

AP EXAMSFor AP Exam Prep Support

We have adapted our AP tutoring programs to match the new format set forth by the College Board. Beginning with a rigorous self-assessment, our expert tutors will customize online sessions to address the most immediate needs of the individual student. Focus will be split between content review and real practice with free-response questions that have appeared on past AP tests. Our engaging tutors work with your student in real-time on shared documents and teach strategies that help break down the free-response tasks into easier, manageable steps. Homework assignments will help bolster key content mastery and familiarity with the new test format. If your student needs the extra support and/or accountability of one-on-one tutoring please contact us to discuss your needs.

Online Tutoring
With our online programs you receive the same high-quality Summit experience and results. Our expert online tutoring services are available for:

SAT and ACT prep • AP exam prep • Academic subjects • SAT Subject Test prep • SSAT and ISEE prep

Live, Online Proctored Practice Tests
Summit hosts free, online proctored practice tests so that students can still have the experience of a proctored full-length test. At this time, we offer SAT, ACT, and SSAT practice tests with options for regular time or extended time.

High School Sophomores

Most of our sophomores should be unaffected by the recent test cancellations. Both the SAT and ACT are curriculum based tests and a student’s performance correlates with age, maturity, and time spent in school. Students generally reach their peak score in spring of junior year or early fall of senior year.

Anticipating a high demand for seats at testing centers in fall 2020, we want to emphasize that having a clearly defined testing plan is important. We usually recommend that sophomores take a practice SAT and ACT in the summer months leading up to junior year, then use these tests to decide between the SAT-ACT and create a test plan with target test dates and a study schedule. Taking these practice tests gives students an exposure to the type of content and difficulty level of the material, a sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and can uncover underlying skills that need to be improved upon.

The few situations where we diverge from our standard recommendation of targeting spring test dates are when a sophomore is a strong scoring student, a recruited athlete, or knows that their spring of junior year is too full of other commitments to make time for test prep. These sophomores typically move their testing timeline up to take advantage of the December test dates as their first opportunity to take the test.

These sophomores, the “early testers”, may want to consider registering for the December test when registration for the fall testing season opens up in a few short weeks (at this writing, in May for SAT and July for ACT). At Summit, we anticipate there will be a larger demand for seats at the fall test dates due to the seniors who were impacted by the spring 2020 cancellations. For early testers, taking an SAT and ACT practice test in the next few weeks might be beneficial so when the registration for these fall tests open, they know whether they are pursuing an SAT or ACT path.

Calendar of Test Administrations

Dates are subject to change. Always check the test administrators’ website.

* Fall SAT registration opens at the end of May, the College Board recently announced.
** Fall ACT registration typically opens in July and, at this writing, ACT has not announced any changes to this.

SAT & Subject Test Dates ACT Dates
August 29  * June 13 (makeup date June 20)
September 26 (no Subject Tests) July 18 (makeup date July 25)
October 3 September 12 **
November 7 October 24
December 5 December 12

Additional Resources

The National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) has created a central repository of changes in college admission events, deposit deadlines, and more.

nacac-college-admission-coronavirus

The British Council Americas has created this resource for counselors, students, and families to get updates on UK universities for the Americas‘ admissions and contact information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Collegiate Commissioners Association announced March 15 that there would be no national letter of intent signings until April 15. NCAA Division I Committee has extended the recruiting dead period until May 31. Visit NCAA Coronavirus Resources.

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