As the entire country tries to cope with rising COVID cases and remote schooling, the main question on high schoolers’ minds is: “Is my COVID going to cancel my SAT/ACT?” If you’ve tried to schedule a test date you’ve probably already seen the effects of widespread cancellations. But if you can’t take the SAT or ACT does that mean you won’t be able to apply to college? What do you do if there aren’t any open test centers near you? Will this affect the scoring curve?

Okay, first take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. Schools know that there is no way you could have predicted a global pandemic and they’re willing to work with you as much as possible. That’s why many colleges have adapted a “testing optional” policy this year. Of course, not every school is being this lenient. For example, public universities in Florida are still requiring tests as part of the application process.

Do Some Research

However, your hopes of attending college after graduation are still valid. Every state and school has a different policy this year, so do some digging and see what the schools you’re applying to have to say. There’s no point in psyching yourself out if the schools you are sending applications to have waved the testing requirements.

If you still want to take the SAT or ACT just in case, just try to be flexible. There are a lot of cancellations happening, but just be persistent. You can stay up-to-date with College Board’s official SAT COVID updates page.

Image Credit: College Board SAT & PSAT-Related COVID Updates

Keep Studying

Everything may feel a little chaotic right now, but that’s because everybody is trying to adjust. This means that there is a lot of flexibility right now that you can use to your advantage. Keep working on your test prep, even if you don’t know your test date. There is no such thing as over-preparing, as long as you’re not trying to cram at the last minute. Look at this as extra time to work on those math problems that were giving you trouble or increase your reading speed.

If you feel like you were already prepared for your original test date, great! This means you don’t have to study as rigorously but there’s always room for improvement. Consistent study sessions can help prevent you from forgetting any of the information you’ve been working on. Remember, every point counts, so don’t be afraid to use this time to improve in any area you can.

Don’t Worry About Scoring

With some students able to take the SAT and ACT while others can’t, many have been wondering how this is going to influence the scoring curves. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, if you were hoping for an easier exam) there won’t be much of an impact this year. Every year tests are adjusted per geographical area and for varying levels of difficulty. This is done so that a score given to a student in Nebraska can equate to a score given to a student in Arizona. This means that there won’t be any kind of significant effect from the spotty participation this year. This also means that if you do manage to take the exam, your score will be weighted just the same as the other students across the country.

You Are Not Alone

Remember, this pandemic is affecting everybody, and everybody is coping with it differently. If your local testing center is closed, odds are you’re not the only one trying to figure out what to do. In California, 181 SAT testing centers are completely closed. In New York, it’s 94. Schools know this, which is why they’re being as flexible as possible.

Don’t be too hard on yourself and know that whatever comes, there will be a way through it. Testing cancellations aren’t great, but there will be other dates. College applications are stressful, but you’ll find the perfect school somewhere. Above all, just don’t forget to take some time to take care of yourself and your mental health this year. You’ll be able to figure the rest out as it comes.