Impact of Canceled SAT/ACT Test Dates

What Do Canceled Dates Mean for Students?

The short answer: Many students will not have the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT, and most students will only have one shot at hitting their score goals.

When the pandemic prompted the College Board and ACT to cancel spring test dates, most students assumed that they would still have plenty of opportunities in the summer and fall—but that has turned out not to be the case. According to Inside Higher Ed, some 337,000 students who registered for the SAT in September and October will not be able to take the test. Meanwhile, while ACT is not releasing the numbers of cancelled tests, there are many reports of last minute testing cancellations.

If You’re a Senior

Try not to worry too much. In light of widespread testing cancellations, many of the nation’s colleges and universities have temporarily adopted test-optional policies. Good SAT and ACT scores may still give you a competitive advantage, but if you don’t have the option to take the exam, many schools are now test optional.

If You’re a Junior or Younger

Plan on needing SAT or ACT scores

Most colleges will resume SAT or ACT requirements after this year. Since SAT or ACT prep is a marathon, not a sprint, you’ll need to start your test prep early, even if the SAT and ACT are currently difficult to access.

Look for practice and diagnostic test alternatives

Many juniors take the SAT or ACT in the fall for extra testing practice or to help calibrate their SAT or ACT prep. Don’t let limited access to the official tests get in your way. You can still get valuable practice and diagnostic insight through practice tests, whether online, in a book, or through a provider like C2 Education. Remember: as with anything else in life, practice makes perfect!

Expect fewer chances to reach your goal scores

There’s no telling when testing access issues will be totally resolved, and it’s likely that you will have fewer test dates available to you to meet your score goals. You may only have one or two chances to hit your target, so you’ll need to be particularly diligent about test prep and about taking practice tests.

We’re In This Together

Whatever happens, remember that you’re not alone. All of your peers are suffering the same testing cancellations and access issues. And since your peers are the very students against whom you’ll be competing in the college admissions race, that should be comforting. If things don’t improve, rest assured that everyone else is in the same boat as you.


  • Check back in a few years!
  • Not many sophomores take these tests, but if your test was canceled, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to register for this fall. Due to limited capacity, seats will be prioritized to older students.
  • If you’re planning on taking the SAT this fall and haven’t already registered, do it today!
  • Registration for fall ACT test dates opens in late July.
  • Both College Board and ACT are doing their best to ensure that everyone who needs a test score is able to register and take the test. It is possible, however, that you may not be able to take the test this year. If that happens, don’t worry; you can still apply to most schools under test-optional policies.
  • It’s also probable that retest opportunities this fall will be extremely limited, if available at all. If you’re not already prepping for the test, start now!