Tag Archives: test day

“Are the kids allowed to use sound blocking ear plugs during the SAT?” This question popped up recently in one of the many Facebook groups devoted to college admissions questions. The general understanding is that earplugs are absolutely forbidden on the tests, although my friend and colleague Pranoy Mohapatra shared the more pragmatic response: “Technically no… although it’s a rule many proctors are unaware of.” While I certainly agree that many proctors tend to be unaware of many important rules during these high stakes tests, the issue of earplugs is less familiar, so I did a little research. Interestingly, neither the current SAT Test Day Checklist nor ACT Test Day Checklist explicitly prohibits earplugs. [EDIT: Apparently, section 4b of the SAT Terms and Conditions expressly prohibits them. Looks like you have to read the fine print!] The initial question may raise another one, mainly, “Why should earplugs be prohibited in…

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Very few people love taking tests, just as only a special handful look forward to crisis and conflict. The day you are tested–in whatever way that concept is meaningful to you–is the day you must shake off doubt and distractions, marshal your energy and focus, and rise to the occasion. Luckily, in normal times, those days are few and far between. These are not normal times. For teens hoping to take the SAT or ACT, nearly every Saturday from now through early November (along with various Sunday and school day options) features a test. More generally, the start of another academic year under the same conditions that ravaged the last one presents at least the potential for daily trials and tribulations. How do you not just get by but bring your best when every day feels like test day? Consider the words of the great American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson:…

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“We all had to stand in line for about 20 minutes because we had to agree to statements regarding our health and COVID, which stunk. Then we were all divided into rooms with no more than 9 kids at a time. Nothing too crazy but it was definitely different!” “The testing center was very disorganized, and we had to wait for over an hour to even go to the testing room. They made us wear masks throughout the exam which was a little annoying.” These actual statements from actual students who took the actual SAT on August 29 should be taken as both precautionary warnings and signs of hope. What is the warning? The test makers and site supervisors are committed to enforcing health and safety measures for SAT and ACT administrations. Expect the following on test day: — All students and staff must wear masks or protective face coverings…

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Test preparation means being prepared for test day, come what may. While most preparation occurs in the months, weeks, and last desperate days before an exam, every test taker should endeavor to be ready for whatever might happen on the day when it all counts. And unexpected, surprising, and sometimes even alarming things can happen during tests. The process of testing can take as much of a toll on a body as it does on a brain. The atmosphere of intense concentration and anxious silence tends to open up nasal passages and magnify the nuisance factor of every little itch, pain, and sniffle. Toss in the fear that the students testing next to you might be carrying COVID-19 (even though they almost certainly are not) and you can understand why your Test Day Checklist must include a well-stocked first aid kit: MASK Don’t expect to get into your test center…

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While scattered locations across the country saw ACT administrations in June and July, the last weekend of August really marks the beginning–and hopefully not the end–of college admissions testing in the time of the novel coronavirus. Many school districts may have abruptly closed their test sites, but many still seem committed to offering anxious teens the opportunity to test. If you were lucky enough to register for a test center that is still running the SAT or ACT, make it count! College Board has shared guidance on health and safety measures for weekend test administrations, including the following rules: — All students and staff to wear a mask or protective face covering during an SAT administration. — Students must be seated at least six feet apart during testing. — Students must confirm a series of safety screening statements prior to entering the test center or room. Clearly, testing during COVID-19…

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Into each life, a little rain–or snow or natural disaster or pandemic–must fall. Isn’t that how the line goes? No matter what calamity comes your way, don’t make it worse by showing up for a test that’s been cancelled. Both College Board and ACT maintain pages with critical information about test center closings and reschedules. SAT Test center closings for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are listed on the SAT Test Center Closings page a few days before each test date. Information about makeup testing is posted to this page as it becomes available. If a makeup date has been confirmed, that information is included. Note that students affected by test center closings will be notified by email, possibly before the official page is updated. It’s also worth sharing that the College Board page doesn’t always update quickly, so consider checking in with the school hosting your test if…

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