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OPINION: Should colleges go test-optional?

By Gabi Pucher

For the class of 2021, the SAT was originally scheduled for April. However, the test was continually moved around and landed on October 14. The SAT test was not taken in any normal standard and caused students much-unneeded stress in these already harrowingly difficult times. Due to all of the effects COVID-19 had on the test and the students, colleges should make the SAT/ACT optional.

I know many students that should have performed much better on SAT than they did. When I talked to my friends about it, we all had come to the same conclusion: they had forgotten about what was taught and prepared them for the SAT. Junior year prepares students to take the SAT with English and math courses focusing on what will be on the test with tips on how to do well. By moving the test six months after the original date, it can cause students to lose some of the information. Most students were preparing for the test in April, and had been studying in the earlier months. After talk about moving the date or not taking the SAT at all, many students pushed the idea of studying to the back of their minds, saving those worries for the future. 

Unlike past students, the class of 2021 was not offered the SAT prep classes in the library. This lack of study sessions gave students a disadvantage in the SAT. We were not given the option to have a teacher or other adult help us and know how to prepare. For the students that don’t have a quiet and calm workspace, there is no guarantee quality studying can be done with the libraries closed. This lack of help can be attributed to some of the lower scores on the test, providing another reason for colleges to make the test score optional. 

Lastly, with the surplus of worries that have come with COVID-19, colleges should not be adding more struggles and worries to students’ shoulders. Many have lost family members or know someone who has because of Coronavirus. Students should not be focusing all of the attention on these tests but rather on the health and safety of their family members. Colleges should understand these worries and try to help students by making these tests optional.

Many say that the SAT being pushed back provided an opportunity to study for all of the summer. However, I would strongly disagree. Many students that I know, as well as myself, were very preoccupied worrying about the implications of COVID and the safety of our families. With the test data being stamped in, many students instead focused their efforts on other activities such as making masks or trying to help their families and their community.

The Coronavirus has caused a great amount of worry and stress due to all of the unanswered questions. The SAT/ACT should not have to be one of those worries for students. Students should instead focus on their grades and the safety of their families.

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