by Jimmy Yates ‘21
The College Board is planning to administer exams in high schools throughout Maryland this fall while keeping student health and safety as a top priority. Many high school students were unable to take the SAT in the spring and summer because of the pandemic. SAT exams were cancelled in March, April, June, and July. The first SAT since the pandemic was scheduled for August 29 but was cancelled in Montgomery County.
Regarding safety precautions for the upcoming exams, the College Board announced that students must wear face masks, practice social distancing, and stay home and communicate with SAT customer service if ill on the test day. There will be a limited number of students in each classroom and the total number of students at each testing center will be reduced from normal. Testing locations are filling up faster than normal because of the limited number of students allowed at each test site. The September 26 SAT will be the first one administered in Montgomery County since the pandemic. The tests will be given at Good Counsel, Damascus, River Hill, and other high schools around the state.
Because of the difficulty accessing and taking the SAT and ACT exams, many colleges have made such tests optional for college applications for the Class of 2021. Therefore, those who have already taken the SAT are conflicted whether or not to report their scores and students who have not taken the SAT have less motivation to sit for the exam..
“I do not plan to take the SAT this fall because none of the schools I’m applying to require it,” said senior Tess Farley. She has already taken the SAT once but is choosing not to report it to colleges because her desired schools have announced they are test optional.
However, others are electing to take the SAT although it is not required, whether to boost their chances of getting into certain schools or to help with financial aid. Some students have gone to great lengths such as traveling to other states and staying in hotels just to take the exam.
“I plan on taking the SAT this fall because I feel like it is necessary to stand out for college applications,” said senior Woojin Yang. “As long as testing locations practice social distancing and there are not too many students in a room, I would feel safe taking the SAT in person.”