Last Updated On: May 17th, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing have left everyone with a lot of question marks about many aspects of life, including standardized tests. If your standardized test was cancelled this month or next, for now you should assume that you still will need to take the test at some point in the future. You should also rest assured, however, that no program or school is going to eliminate you from consideration because of circumstances beyond your control. Here’s what you should do while you wait for more specific plans:
1) Check with your particular school or program about any adjustments they might make to admissions timelines, testing requirements, etc.
Different schools might make different decisions, so check with each one individually.
2) Stay aware of new options like test-from-home.
The GRE already has a test-from-home option, and the College Board is also offering it for Advanced Placement tests. The SAT and ACT don’t currently offer test-from-home, but they may in the future.
3) If you were all ready for your test, plan to spend at least a couple of hours per month keeping up your skills.
If you were pumped up and ready, it’s frustrating to have to wait to demonstrate your test-taking skills. In order to keep your skills fresh, plan to do at least one practice test section each week, focusing on the sections that are harder for you, along with reviewing the most challenging formulas and skills.
4) Once you know the actual test date, complete one or two additional full-length practice tests in the two weeks leading up to the test.
Try one test two weeks before. Once you begin taking practice tests at home, use our proctored videos to help track time and pace yourself: LA Tutors Proctored Videos. If you’re still at the top of your test-taking game, you might choose to just review key formulas and concepts before the actual test. If you’ve slid a bit from peak preparation, you’ll need to spend more time refreshing your skills and should plan to complete at least one more practice test before the real thing. If you currently have a tutoring package, you might save one or two sessions for the time when you know your actual test date, or purchase a couple of extra sessions.
5) Prioritize the SAT or ACT general test over subject tests.
Some schools that require both the SAT or ACT and the SAT Subject tests might waive the subject test requirement for students who have had to deal with cancelled test dates. You should check with each school to verify this, but if you have to choose between one or the other, the general admissions test will likely be the more important one.
6) Make sure to keep your grades up!
Though the transition to online classes has been smoother for some schools and teachers than others, most teachers are still giving assignments and assigning grades. With test dates postponed, GPA will likely play a larger role in admissions decisions, so it’s more important than ever to complete and turn in excellent schoolwork.
7) If you have more free time, take advantage of it!
For students who usually fill their schedules with sports, drama, and other after-school activities, this might be an excellent time to prepare for a standardized test. Though you should keep your preparation timeline flexible, you can still benefit from mastering the skills and strategies needed for the test you’ll be taking in the future. If you have completed or are currently taking Algebra II, you’ve probably covered all or most of the concepts on the SAT and ACT and can start preparing, even if you’re only a sophomore. If you’re thinking of applying to graduate school, now might be the time to learn those GRE or GMAT skills and strategies. Doing most of your preparation now, while you’re stuck at home, can free up your schedule once life returns to normal.