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SAT/ACT Update: January 2021

By Huntington Learning Center

With the state of the SAT and ACT changing constantly these days, it’s time for an update for your college-bound teen. Here are the latest test dates and other news that you need to know as your teen prepares to navigate the college admission process.

SAT updates

  • The remaining 2020-2021 SAT dates are March-June. Test dates are March 13th, May 8th, and June 5th.
  • The second half of 2021 offers four test dates. Those are August 28th, October 2nd, November 6th, and December 4th.
  • Optional SAT essay eliminated in June 2021. The College Board announced in January 2021 that they are discontinuing the administration of the SAT optional Essay on National test dates after the June 2021 test. Students who are currently registered, or plan to register, for an upcoming SAT with Essay will still be able to test through the June 2021 administration. Students who prefer to cancel the optional Essay portion of their SAT can do so in their online account, with no change fees, until the registration deadline. After June 2021, the Essay will only be available in states where it’s required as part of SAT School Day administrations. Students scheduled to take the SAT on a school day should check with their school about whether the Essay will be included.
  • SAT Subject Tests will no longer be offered in the U.S. SAT Subject Testswill only be available for international students in May and June of 2021.  International students who are currently registered for, or plan to register for, an upcoming Subject Test outside the U.S. can still test through the June 2021 administration.  International students who no longer want to take Subject Tests can contact Customer Service to cancel and receive a refund. U.S. students who are currently registered for an upcoming Subject Test will automatically have their registration cancelled and fees refunded.
  • Test centers are still closing and making changes on short notice. Test center data is updated every few hours on the College Board website, so it’s important that students check before their exams to ensure scheduled test dates will be held and make sure the College Board has current contact information. The College Board even advises checking on test day.
  • Plans for an at-home SAT offering are on hold for now. In 2020, the College Board suggested that it would offer an at-home SAT, but those plans are on hold for the time being.
  • The College Board has asked colleges to extend deadlines for receiving test scores. Most aren't requiring test scores for the upcoming admissions cycle and are extending deadlines and/or accepting scores after deadlines for students who choose to submit them. Check individual colleges’ websites for the latest information and their policies.
  • Seating capacity will be limited. Public health restrictions vary from state to state, so some exam dates might have limited capacity. The College Board suggests continuing to log back in to My SAT for updated capacity information.

ACT updates

  • The remaining 2020-2021 ACT dates are February-July. Test dates are February 6th, April 17th, June 12th, and July 17th (except in NY).
  • The second half of 2021 test dates have yet to be confirmed. They are likely to be in September, October, and December.
  • Test dates may be cancelled. ACT will notify students of any test center closures or capacity reduction due to COVID-19. The company continues to add as much capacity as possible, but things do change, so students should check their emails leading up to test day.
  • ACT still hopes to launch an online testing option in 2021. Although not currently available, students will in the future be able to take the ACT on a computer, at an ACT national test center.
  • Remote proctoring is also coming. ACT has plans to allow students to take the test online, at home, or at other convenient locations in the near future.

It’s wise to keep checking the College Board and ACT websites for the most current information, but here are a few tips for guiding your teen this spring 2021.

  • Prep for an upcoming exam. Juniors should take the SAT or ACT for the first time in the spring, and now is the perfect time to get started on a targeted test prep program.
  • Keep working hard in school. No matter what happens with upcoming test dates, the best way for students to prepare for SAT and ACT success is to keep grades up in school and keep working hard.
  • Take the exam regardless of colleges’ policies. Most colleges and universities right now are making SAT and ACT scores an optional component of the overall application package, but there are still advantages to testing. If your teen earns strong scores, they can boost their application and qualify for scholarships – and counterbalance a lower GPA (especially if the disruptions of COVID-19 have taken a toll on school performance).

Huntington is the test prep leader! For more information about the SAT and ACT and our renowned test prep programs, contact us at 1-800 CAN LEARN.