Mid-May 2020 SAT report

STATE OF THE SAT TEST: mid-May 2020

The next SAT test date is Saturday, August 29th. According to my sources, registration will begin on May 26th. if you are interested in this date–and you probably should be–then I strongly urge you to mark this date in your calendar and register as soon as you possibly can. 

Why the urgency? Because no one had a chance to take the SAT this spring, so there will almost certainly be a mad rush to sign up. And if there are fewer high schools willing to host the test… andthose schools have to implement social distancing and other protective measures… it seems likely that all test centers will fill up quickly and that many erstwhile registrants will be turned away.

The good news is that the Collegeboard has recently added a new test date on September 26th, though it will probably be over-crowded, as well. Other test dates of interest for rising seniors are  October 3rd, November 7th and December 5th. I urge you all to sign for at least one test date (two would be better) as soon as you can.

To register, visit https://www.collegeboard.org

AT-HOME SAT?

According to the SAT folks, if there is a problem with onsite testing (not enough locations, not enough space at locations… no public testing at all, etc.), they will find a way for kids to take the SAT at home. We don’t yet know what that will look like. Also, there is no guarantee that colleges will look favorably on at-home scores, since there are real security and fairness issues associated with at-home testing.

WHY SHOULD I TAKE THE SAT THIS YEAR?

Again, while most colleges are going test-optional next year, they will all continue to accept both SAT and ACT scores and to include them as an important part of the admissions and merit aid allocation process. Indeed, given the unreliability of this semester’s spring junior grades–and AP scores–which are usually a crucial part of an applicant’s transcript–it seems logical to assume that colleges will be desperate for any other information that will help them distinguish among their tens of thousands of applicants. Thus, students who turn in excellent scores should be able to help themselves more than ever next year.

Indeed, given that a lot of kids will opt not to take the test again (or at all) in the fall, those students from the Class of 2021 who submit good scores should have a substantial advantage over many applicants who do not.

SAT SUBJECT TESTS

Subject tests will be available on the August test date, but not in September. You cannot take the SAT subject tests on the same day that you take the SAT, so you must plan accordingly.

The good news is that most students need not worry about this. First, the SAT subject tests have been getting less popular with colleges every year. Second, unless your college absolutely demands SAT subject tests–and I don’t think the ANY school will do so next year because of the spring cancellations–members of the class of 2021 can probably ignore the subject tests. Now, if you are sure that you can really crush the tests (700 or better) and you have the space in your testing schedule… go for it. But I would definitely put subject tests on the back burner and focus on the main test.