SAT Mayhem 

Brianna H., Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing has greatly challenged the SAT testing process.  


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Board has decided to include additional testing dates to account for the cancellations of the March and May SATs by many U.S. testing venues and the nationwide cancellation of the June SAT by the College Board.  


So far, the College Board added a testing date in September for this year. Additionally, according to the College Board website, “while the College Board cannot directly control capacity and test center availability, [they] are working with local high schools, colleges, and other sites to increase seating capacity in areas where August and September registration are filling up.”  


For the remainder of 2020, students can take the SAT on August 29, September 26 (no subject tests), October 3, November 7 (subject tests only), and December 5. Registration for these testing dates opened to all students on June 3. Students who registered for the June SAT and current juniors who don’t have SAT scores had early access to registration starting May 28. More information and updates can be found here


In April, the College Board proposed online at-home SATs in the unlikely event that school would not reopen in the fall. However, after more consideration, the College Board has decided to delay these at-home tests.  


The College Board website states: “An at-home SAT would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet which cannot be guaranteed for all students. While we will continue to deliver the SAT online in some schools, we do not want to introduce the stress of extended at-home testing in this already disrupted admissions season.”  


Most colleges have sent emails to students and updated their websites with information on how they will be considering SAT scores during the admission process next year; many colleges have become test-optional for next year. The College Board has also asked colleges to consider the circumstances that were placed on students because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  


“I think [a lot of colleges going test optional] would ease some junior concerns,” said junior Kevin C.  


Despite colleges going test-optional, most students are still planning on taking the SAT.  


“[I’m still going to take the SAT] because a lot of scholarship opportunities are based on SAT scores rather than grades or anything else,” said junior Tryphena Z.  


Some students who have already finished taking the SATs and are pleased with their scores are unbothered by the change in next year’s admission process.  


“I think the trend is that standardized tests are mattering less. Of course, I’m not an admissions officer, but generally, in my experience, if you get a super good score on the SAT, it’s alright. Even though I have a decent score, I wasn’t going to rely on it to get into college, so [to me, the process] is kind of the same,” said junior Kevin C.  


Despite everything, many high school students are not satisfied with what the College Board has done so far.  


“I feel like the actions taken by the College Board were okay at best. They should have had more SAT dates and locations available to help with all the cancellations,” said junior Annika C.  


Furthermore, the College Board has yet to refund the students who registered for cancelled tests.  


“They didn’t refund [the] people who were supposed to take [the SAT] but [their] test got cancelled,” said junior Elena G.  


Students have also reported troubles with the College Board website during the registration process.  


“I registered for the [test] in August and trying to get a location was extremely frustrating. The site kept crashing and saying there were no spots left. The College Board should definitely fix their site and try to make more locations available that are closer to [where] students [live],” said Annika C.  


Some students have decided to take the test in further locations because all the testing venues in closer proximity are already full.  


“I’m taking [an SAT] in Connecticut in August. All of the [August] spots [on Long Island] are filled. If everyone is scrambling to sign up for the same testing locations that are close to them, spots are going to be limited. It was kind of expected,” said Elena G.  


In addition to the overwhelming number of current juniors registering for the fall SATs, a few current sophomores are signing up for these tests as well.  


“[I’m taking a fall SAT] to feel more prepared [for college applications],” said sophomore Lindsey C.  


However, this is increasing the competition for testing spots and adding onto the stress of current juniors.  


“I definitely am a little frustrated with the sophomores taking the SAT [this fall] because they have all next year to take it, and they might be taking someone else’s spot who desperately needs to take it [right before college applications],” said junior Nicholas L.  


In light of COVID-19, SAT testing, and college applications, there is a common worry among current juniors.  


“I’m stressed that I won’t have enough time to do the best that I can on these tests because I feel like there’s so much going on during those beginning months of senior year already, and SATs are just adding to this stress,” said Annika C.  🔳