Traditionally, high school students are supposed to take the SAT and/or ACT at the end of junior year and, if needed, the beginning of senior year. COVID-19 ruined most opportunities to test in the spring of 2020, but College Board and ACT have responded with a ton of fall options. If all goes well, September will be a month like no other with more official SATs and ACTs than every before. That’s good news, as September may be the best month of the year for testing?
Why should people get excited about testing right as they get back to school? Well, obviously, July and August have a lot to do with what makes September so great for testing. During those blissful summer months, most teens historically enjoy a much lighter academic and extracurricular schedule. The current pandemic has further constrained activity to the point where some SAT & ACT prep might present a welcome distraction. Now more than ever, summer is the very best time of year to prepare for the SAT and ACT.
The multitude of fall options benefits rising juniors as well as seniors. I’ve long espoused the philosophy that juniors should test as early in the academic year as makes sense based on their goals and activities. This past year, students in the HS class of 2021 who were able to implement that strategy locked down their best test scores long before schools shut down. For the 2020-21 academic year, fears of disruption later in the fall still support September as the best month to target the tests.
Even the students who traditionally steered clear of September testing in favor of later dates might reconsider this year, as the outlook for fall sports and group activities seems grim. Better to prep over the summer–and maybe get a head start on Algebra 2–and get testing out of the way as early as possible. If schools can meet the demand, the first months of the academic year will offer enough test dates to meet every schedule. The case for September testing has never been stronger. Take advantage of this unprecedented moment and plan for the SAT and/or ACT this September!