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Standardized testing for US colleges and universities

At this point, students who are considering applications to American colleges and universities should have discussed a schedule for standardized testing with their counsellor. Students have the option of writing either the SAT or the ACT. Many students wrote a diagnostic test at UCC last fall or in the spring of Year 10 in order to assess which type of test best suited their learning style.

Some of you have already taken the SAT or ACT earlier this year. Unfortunately, many students had planned to take the SAT in March or May or the ACT in April, only to have your test dates cancelled due to Covid-19. The College Board has just cancelled the June test date and while the ACT has not yet announced the cancellation of its June test dates, we anticipate they will. Both organizations are still finalizing their plans for late summer and fall testing; we will update you as further information becomes available.

The ACT is planning to offer test dates for international students on July 17 and 18 and the College Board has scheduled an international SAT on August 29. Given that many students’ initial plans for the summer may have to be modified, these could be viable options for many.

In light of the challenges associated with standardized testing this year, a number of US universities and colleges have modified their policies for students applying to start their studies in the fall of 2021. Some schools (e.g. Williams College, Pomona College, Boston University, Northeastern University and the University of California system) will be test optional for those applicants. Tufts University and Davidson College will be test optional for the next three admission cycles. Other schools such as Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and Brown will not require subject tests for the Class of 2021. MIT has decided that it will no longer require (or consider) SAT subject tests. We anticipate that more US schools will be introducing additional flexibility regarding standardized tests over upcoming months.

However, it is important to prepare carefully for standardized tests if the universities you are exploring still require them. Low cost options include the Khan Academy’s SAT tutorials https://www.khanacademy.org/sat, the ACT Academy https://academy.act.org/  or one of the many textbooks that can be ordered online. If you wish to arrange an online course or individual tutoring, there are a number of private companies that provide such services. In the past, many of our students have worked successfully with The Princeton Review www.princetonreview.com, Kaplan www.kaptest.com, or Ivy Global Education Consulting www.ivyglobal.ca.