To Test or Not to Test? That is the Question

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With so much uncertainty about test requirements for the high school class of 2022, many juniors are torn as they try to decide if they should prepare for and take the SAT or ACT this year. As of this time, many colleges have not announced their plans for remaining test-optional or test blind next year. So how do you decide if you should invest both considerable time and money into test prep for the next admissions cycle?

This is really where your My Pathway to College counselor can be very valuable. Your counselor will look objectively at your high school record, consider your past performance on standardized tests or have you take mock SAT/ACT exams, and review your profile in light of the colleges to which you aspire. Together, you can map out a testing plan that truly suits you. If you do decide to take the SAT/ACT, you will still have the option of applying test-optional to a great many colleges next year. Because many test centers are still closed because of the pandemic, you might want to put off testing until late this spring or early summer. We expect more available test dates to accommodate students who wish to test during the summer months.

Even with all the uncertainty, there are some things we do know. On January 19, 2021, the College Board announced the end of the optional SAT Writing Assessment. This test has become increasingly irrelevant in the college admission process, as colleges agreed that it was a poor measure of a student’s grasp of essential writing skills. As of this date, the ACT is still offering this optional assessment, but the admission testing giants do tend to follow each other’s lead, so we might expect changes to the ACT as well.

In addition, the College Board also just announced the end of the SAT Subject tests for US students. (Some foreign countries still use these so tests will be available for international students through the end of this academic year.) In lieu of the SAT Subject exams, College Board is encouraging students to prepare for and take AP subject exams as a way of demonstrating competency in specific subject areas. How will colleges respond? Stay tuned!