For the first time in recent memory, both College Board and ACT will be offering tests this summer to interested students.* While the added dates offer more opportunity to show off your standardized test skills, we want to encourage students and families to take a second look to make sure that summer testing is right for you. (And be sure to reference this handy flowchart as well!)
Five Good Reasons to Test
- You have been granted extended time for the ACT. Beginning this September, ACT will no longer allow its extended time students to allocate the 5 hour multiple choice block as they see fit. Instead, each section will be timed at 50% longer. If you have extended time on the ACT, it can be a big advantage to distribute the time as you choose. Perhaps you don’t need 50% more time on all four sections. The current policy allows students to spend time where it will most benefit them. Beginning this fall, students will lose this flexibility.
- This fall will be particularly busy for you and your family. Let’s face it, senior fall is no picnic for anyone. However, if will be traveling for school or sports, or will be participating in more than a couple of clubs or teams, perhaps you want to look at a summer test as a way to reduce the stress of the upcoming fall.
- World History is not offered in October or November. Not every SAT subject test is offered each month. It is important to verify when the tests you need will be available. If you don’t take World History before the fall, you’ll have to wait until the December test date.
- You are applying Early Action or Early Decision. As in the example above, it is important to know when you need to have your testing complete. Most tests taken in October will be scored in time for EA/ED. This is less certain for those taken in November or December. Talk to your school counselor or one of our Educational Planning team members to confirm and check out our Compiled College Admission Requirements to get a head start on knowing which schools require which tests.
- You are taking a test specific class this academic year. Simply put, if you are taking history, physics, or anything other than math or maybe literature, you’ll want to take the test earlier rather than later. Trying to recall the specifics after a few summer weeks have passed will prove harder than expected and an unwelcome drain on your time and energy.
Three Bad Reasons to Test
- Your summer is already booked. Perhaps you have landed a great internship. Maybe your family is traveling abroad. Alternatively, old Uncle Louis has invited you to work at his office in Chicago. If you’re going to lose most of the structure and relative flexibility you had during the school year, or if you won’t have a few weeks to include test prep in your schedule, it may not be the best time to try to nail that last score.
- The Language with Listening tests are in November. If you need to take one of these tests, there’s no reason to go through more pain than necessary. If you will be taking a language with listening subject test in November, why not tack on one more subject test then and save the August or October dates for the SAT/ACT, if necessary.
- A convenient test location will not be available. It is important to confirm that a local test center is available when you want to test. Even though there is summer testing, not all centers will offer each test. You don’t want to add the challenge of a less familiar area or a long drive to an already full test day.