MCPS slowly resumes SAT and ACT administration


Oct. 7, 2020, 2:54 p.m. | By Shruti Chauhan | 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Test centers implement extra protocols to adhere to social distancing guidelines


On Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) held its first set of SAT administrations following a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier Aug. 29 cancellation in MCPS caused many students to drive long distances and test in different counties within Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. 

Upcoming SAT dates include Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. Students who are already registered should regularly check their College Board accounts for test center updates including closure, relocation or cancellation due to limited capacity. More guidelines for MCPS test centers (arrival information, parking, entrances, etc.) can be found here or on their individual websites. 

Aside from normal testing requirements, the College Board issued a series of additional coronavirus-related protocols that must be followed on test day. This includes requiring masks for the duration of testing, limiting testing rooms to 10 students, and asking that students arrive 15 to 30 minutes earlier than the normal 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. window. The early arrival request will allow time for test takers to complete a COVID-19 safety screening — a process where students verbally respond to a series of statements about potential exposure — before being permitted to enter the building. 

Photo: The SAT is enforcing a COVID-19 Safety Screening as one of its precautionary measures (Courtesy of Sydney Hastings-Wilkins).

Any individual who violates these requirements, in addition to any extra guidelines implemented by their test site, will be dismissed by their test center and their test scores will be cancelled without refund. However, students who feel ill on test day are encouraged to stay home; registrations can be transferred to another test date at no charge or cancelled with full refund through Dec. 31 for this reason.

At this time, the SAT is the only large national test administration offered in MCPS. The county is only administering the ACT to students with previously approved accommodations. “This small group testing will take place during the approved October special testing window. Parents of students with approved accommodations for special testing should contact the counseling department at their child’s school to make arrangements with the testing coordinator for testing to take place outside of the school day,” MCPS said in a statement released on Sept. 17. There are no further updates from MCPS on when ACT testing will return in an increased capacity. 

As a result of continued standardized testing uncertainty, colleges have updated their requirements for the 2021 admissions cycle. Most schools have increased flexibility by extending score deadlines, reviewing applicants with or without test scores equally and understanding that applicants may not have had multiple testing opportunities (typically results in a higher score). A list of colleges with test optional policies can be found here. Students can also further confirm the testing requirements of individual schools via their websites and/or application portals.



Last updated: Oct. 7, 2020, 3:17 p.m.


Tags: ACT standardized testing SAT Testing

Shruti Chauhan. Hi, I'm Shruti and I'm a senior at Blair! Apart from writing for SCO, I enjoy playing tennis, biking, and watching Netflix. More »

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