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 will require even more focus and preparation that usual. Put yourself in position to excel on test day by taking care of all the essential details–like what to bring and not bring on test day–ahead of time:
No matter how diligently you prepare for the big tests, all your effort can come to naught if you drop the ball on test day. Everything you do in the week leading up to the test matters, as does everything you bring–or forget to bring–to the testing center. College Board provides a helpful Test Day Checklist that becomes even more useful with our expanded recommendations:
What to Bring
- A mask or protective face covering (Always take at least one full, timed practice test wearing your mask to get used to the potential distraction. The practice doesn’t hurt either!)
- Hand sanitizer or gloves (the site will likely have sanitizer, but carry your own just in case.)
- Your Admission Ticket
- Acceptable photo ID (pay attention to the rules around acceptable ID)
- Two No. 2 pencils with erasers (mechanical pencils are not allowed, but big erasers are)
- An approved calculator (either pack a spare or be ready if your calculator fails)
- Tissues (Testing seems to elicit all kinds of sniffles, sneezes, and tears.)
- Required medications and medical devices (go ahead and pack a special first aid kit)
Nice to Have
- A watch without an audible alarm (always wear a watch to a timed test)
- Extra batteries and backup equipment (you’ll have to ask for permission to access them)
- A bag or backpack (great place to store layers for maximum comfort)
- A drink or snacks for your break (performance foods like fruit, protein, and something sweet)
- Breakfast before you arrive (we all need fuel for focus and willpower)
What Not to Bring or Do
Basically, don’t bring any prohibited devices, including mobile phones, separate timers, or anything that might make noise during the test. Proctors are encouraged to collect and hold prohibited electronic devices during a test, or alternately to deny admission to anyone who is in possession of a prohibited electronic device.
If you make it through security but your device makes noise or you are seen using it at any time–including during breaks–you may be dismissed immediately, your scores can be canceled, and the device may be confiscated and its contents inspected. Nobody wants that to happen.
Most importantly, follow safety guidelines. Students who violate requirements put in place by their test center will likely be dismissed, their scores will be cancelled, and their test fees lost forever. If you don’t feel well on test day, please stay home… now more than ever, there’s no point in testing when you are not at your best!