Are you looking to take the SAT or ACT in the near future? Which one is the best one to prepare for given the current COVID-19 situation?
The most important factor in test availability is where you live; depending on state and local policies, tests may not be administered near you. National policies and the spread of COVID may also play a large factor in the ability to take these tests. With this considered; here are some of the biggest differences between the ACT and SAT regarding COVID-19:
1. Safety Concerns
The SAT has required social distancing and mask-wearing, with overall more explicit rules. The ACT has only recently begun to require masks and social distancing, with these policies being recommended up until now.
2. At Home Testing
The ACT is in a better position to offer an online test, as they already have a similar online test implemented for online students, with the only problem being security. They plan to have an online version out by Winter 2021, while the College Board has been hesitant to develop an online test after fears of cheating on the online AP exams in May.
3. Test Dates
For most students, the ACT might provide more opportunities to take a test before college applications are due. International students might be better off taking the SAT, which has cancelled both December and February dates.
4. Sign Ups and Availability
Signing up for an account on both sites is the best way to look for an open test center near you. Even if you are able to register, cancellations are likely to occur in areas with many cases of COVID-19. The ACT does provide more test dates overall, giving students the opportunity to sign up for multiple tests, with some potentially across state borders.
5. High Scorers/PSAT Takers
High scorers on tests often choose to take the SAT/PSAT for a chance to get the scholarship, but schools that are closed will be unable to administer it this year. With that being said, the ACT is more of an option for students now.
Looking at current data, we suggest taking the ACT due to a higher test availability, both with future online tests and more test dates in general. International students may still consider taking the SAT.
No matter what test you decide to take, we wish you the best of luck!
Where schools are reopening in the US – CNN August 31, 2020
I took the ACT during the pandemic. We didn’t have to wear masks – Inquirer July 18, 2020
Another problem with shifting education online: cheating – The Hechinger Report August 7, 2020
Registered for the SAT, Unable to Take the Test – Inside Higher Ed August 24, 2020
For many students who tried to take the ACT test this weekend, it was a total fail – CNN July 20, 2020
Photo of Joe Biden – The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain
Photo of Donald Trump – Shealah Craighead / Public domain