SAT cancellation due to COVID-19

If your SAT was canceled or postponed, know that you are in good company. Thousands of March 14th registrants had their exams canceled…and then their March 28th makeups canceled…and then their May 2nd makeups-to-the-makeups canceled. The changes have come as quickly as COVID-19 seems to spread—and the silver lining is: they are all meant to contain the virus.

Still, while the many dramatic cancellations and closures may be beneficial for your physical health, they can place a strain on your mental health. We’re hearing from a lot of students who are stressed—as you may be too. The uncertainty can be scary and frustrating, but know that you will get through this—and you’ll be stronger and more resilient for it. To help you navigate the changes, we’re publishing answers to your most frequently asked questions. Have a question you don’t see here? Tweet it to us, and we’ll answer you! 

My exam was canceled. What do I do next?

First, bookmark this page. We’ll be posting updates about the exam dates, changes to college application requirements, and new resources to help you stay sharp. After you do that, the very first thing you should do is reschedule your exam. If you can reschedule for June 6th, the next date that (as of now) is available, do that. Next, make a study plan. Remember that you are already ready to take the test; the goal is to stay prepared. Once it becomes clear when you’ll be taking the test, then you can pick up the pace and do a couple of practice tests. Continue to practice about 30 minutes per day so you can keep your skills sharp. For your daily practice, choose to study what you need to study, not what you want to study. Random studying can be disastrous. Formalizing a plan of action and dedicating days to specific preparation offer your best opportunity for success. Set yourself up to study without distractions. No TV, no phone, no social media. (We know, it’s really hard—especially when you’re feeling anxious. You can do this.) Also, remember that “studying” should be more than simply running through questions mindlessly. Check your answers, analyze your progress, and determine what you need to change about your approach. Also, you can spend time reviewing notes or watching instructional videos. To the greatest extent that you can, think of this extra time as a gift.

What if the June SAT gets canceled?

Given that we don’t yet know the trajectory of COVID-19, it is certainly possible that the June SAT could be canceled. The College Board has promised to provide “future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as possible in place of canceled administrations.” They have said that students will be able to take the SAT in (or before) the fall. They’ve also committed to being “as flexible as possible to give students the best chance to show their skills and stay on the path to college.” What that could mean is the administration of SAT exams during the summer months (during which there typically are no SAT exams), and/or a remote testing possibility, as the College Board is creating for the AP exams this spring.

Know that whatever happens, you will be among an entire cohort of students in the same situation. The College Board knows this; college admission teams know it, as well. You could not have anticipated a global pandemic, and now that we are in the midst of one, you can only do exactly what you’re doing—staying informed, planning for the future, and most importantly, washing your hands.

How will changes to the SAT schedule affect the scoring curve?

Some students did get to take the March SAT. Still, thousands fewer students took that exam than were supposed to take it. And we expect that the next testing dates will see thousands more students taking the SAT than typically do. How will this affect the scoring curve? We expect that the difference in test-taker numbers will not have a huge impact on the curve, for a couple of reasons: Tests are equated so that performance on one is meant to be equivalent to performance on another. That’s the reason why it’s not great to get an “easy” SAT. (And in case you're wondering: College Board will also adjust the scale to accommodate any geographic differences in test performance.) Because the numbers of students are still in the thousands, we expect that the curve will not be affected by some exam cancellations.

How will SAT cancellations affect college application season in the fall?

The short answer is: You’ll be able to find updates on this page and via the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), which is aggregating changes to admission events, deposit dates, and more here.

The longer answer is: This will depend on whether the June SAT administration takes place; whether students will get a chance to take (or retake) the SAT over the summer; and whether the format will change to accommodate public-health needs (e.g., if some students are able to take the exam from home). 

This spring, we’re seeing a growing number of colleges move their Decision Day deadline (and deposit deadline) from May 1 to June 1. Among these are Oregon State University  (the first to announce this change), Augustana College, Northern Arizona University, and Williams College. Should opportunities to complete the requirements of college applications not be available between now and the fall, colleges are very likely either to change those requirements, or to move the deadline to enable students to meet them.

Are you offering resources to help students whose test dates were rescheduled?

Glad you asked! We are indeed offering free resources to help you stay sharp. For starters, join us for SAT and ACT skills livestream sessions. If you follow us on Instagram or Twitter, you'll find lots of free practice questions—along with explanations. 

Finally, we have created a Bridge study program for our SAT students. If you’re experiencing test anxiety, check out our free resources to help you thrive during these uncertain times.

What about students enrolled in classes at The Princeton Review?

For students enrolled in our in-person classes, we've transitioned to LiveOnline courses (find out more). For LiveOnline students, we'll continue to provide the top-notch, real-time instruction you're accustomed to. Also check out our Bridge program resources.

What’s the bottom line?

Remember that this is a global pandemic. Colleges will have to adjust their expectations with students applying for spots in the September 2021 first-year class. Your whole cohort is in the same situation; expect adjustments and allowances to be made. This is an unprecedented event in the modern college admissions environment. No one will be able to predict how the situation will play out, but SAT cancellations will not put you at a disadvantage. We’re all in this together. One final note: Never underestimate the power of handwashing. Take care. We’re rooting for you every step of the way.