ACT’s Announcement on Summer 2020 Test Options Due to COVID-19

What this news means and how students can prepare

ACT’s Announcement on Summer 2020 Test Options Due to COVID-19

Updated as of 4/16/20

The ACT posted an update on Thursday detailing their plans for additional summer test date options and the option to test online at home. Here are the key takeaways: 

The Announcement:

  • Students will be able to take the ACT in June and/or July as allowed by the CDC and local guidelines. 
  • Students can reschedule from the June test date to the July test date. They will be able to reschedule from June 13 to June 20 and from July 18 to July 25. 
  • Beginning in late fall or early winter 2020, students will be able to test at home on the computer. The test will be remotely proctored. 
  • The ACT will continue to offer in-school (school day) testing in the fall for states and districts that offer it. 
  • The ACT will offer individual section retesting in the fall as planned. For more information about section retesting, see this blog post

What it means for students: 

  • Whether or not the June ACT will be cancelled will happen on a regional level. Students will need to monitor their emails. The ACT has not clarified the process for what it calls “Flexible Scheduling” between dates in June and July. We will follow closely and update the information on our website as it becomes available.  
  • The ACT was already planning to offer an online option beginning in September 2020 to be taken at test centers. Now, they are expanding online testing to an at-home option. They have not yet clarified the timeline beyond saying that at-home testing will begin in “late fall/early winter 2020.” 
  • The at-home online ACT will likely use the same or a similar format to the planned online ACT at test centers. 
  • If all goes according to plan, students will have multiple opportunities to take the ACT before college applications are due. They can test on paper in June, July, September, and October; on the computer at test centers in September and October; and at home on the computer beginning in the fall. 

How students can prepare:

  • Students planning to take an online test will be best prepared by practicing online. The ACT has limited practice tests available on their subscription service ACT Online Prep.
  • Private Prep will launch a platform for online ACT practice tests this spring with more than seven practice tests. By teaching relevant skills, our tutors will be ready to help students transition from paper practice to an online format. 

How this may impact the college admissions process:

  • More testing opportunities in the fall will ultimately benefit those students who have not yet achieved their goal scores. 
  • The at-home testing raises bigger questions. First, colleges have not yet confirmed how they will view at-home testing. Second, “late fall/winter” is a big window, and the time within that window when they roll out this new option could have major implications for the process. If, for example, the at-home testing becomes available by October, students could potentially use these scores and still apply in time for Early Action or Early Decision deadlines. If the ACT rolls this option out in winter instead, it may benefit fewer students in the class of 2021 in terms of having scores in time for college applications. We will be keeping a close eye on colleges’ responses and sharing developments in the coming weeks.

While the ACT’s announcement didn’t completely clear up whether the June ACT will happen for all students, it did demonstrate ACT’s commitment to helping students access testing. For recommendations on how to best prepare for the ACT given this news, reach out to your director or contact us.

Becky McGlensey