Singapore’s SAT Test Centers usually fill-up well in advance of the test date, and this year the chances of securing a seat have been dramatically affected by Covid-19. Earlier this year, in response to growing safety concerns, CollegeBoard cancelled the SAT test date in May 2020 (May 2nd). Test centres have also had to reduce capacity as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus through large gatherings. Due to these external complications, several students who had planned to take the SAT this year have been unable to secure a seat.
If you belong to this category, rest assured, your college plans for the US absolutely have not been jeopardized. Here’s 5 things you can do if you can’t find a test slot for the SAT.
1. Closed SAT Test Center
There are certain schools in Singapore that are closed test centers – this means only students from that school are allowed to sit for the test on-campus. These closed test centers do not appear on the list of centers on the College Board website, and you would need the test center code from your school to find them. It is much easier to get a seat this way, since you would not be competing with students from other schools for test seats. So please do contact your school to check if they are offering the SAT as a closed testing center.
2. Try an alternate option for test registration
There is a way to request for a seat for the SAT exam that has worked for a number of students in the past, so you can give it a shot too! Once you’ve selected your test date and location, you would be shown the list of test centers. Below the list, there would be an option “Let us find you a test center“. If you choose that option and complete provisional registration, College Board usually gets back within 5-10 working days with any available seats at any test center. If there are no seats available, they get in touch to try and find you a seat for an alternate test date, or give you the option to refund your payment.
3. Keep a lookout for future SAT test dates
This goes without saying, but you should continue to monitor the registration website to sign up for the next available test date. If you are applying to US universities this year admissions, do note that many colleges are open to accepting scores that have been sent in past their application deadlines. Since the test date is now pushed back, you should take advantage of the extra time to keep your SAT practice up and get the test completed at the earliest possible opportunity. The next available testing dates may involve clashes with your other commitments such as school exams so make sure to start your exam preparation for both early.
4. Consider taking the ACT
Ultimately both the SAT and ACT are tests of aptitude and are designed to assess critical thinking and reasoning skills rather than conceptual knowledge. All US colleges and universities accept scores from either the ACT or SAT, and there’s no advantage in taking one test over the other. Both tests contain similar passage-based reading for English sections, involve a Math section, and offer an optional essay section whose score does not count toward your total score. Hence, your SAT preparation will serve you well for the ACT and with a little extra effort, you will soon be comfortable with the ACT.
5. Improve the rest of your application
Perhaps you’ve already tried Steps 1-4, but are still unable to take either test in time for the applications. Universities acknowledge this possibility and have amended their requirements for standardized test scores. Many have adopted test-optional policies, meaning that the student has the freedom to choose whether or not to send in test scores. Hence, you can continue to apply to any of the over 400 universities in the US that are test-optional. We have compiled a list of 5 top schools that do not require SAT scores.
However, now that one component of your application is no longer available, it goes without saying that other components of your application such as your academic performance in school and your profile will come under greater scrutiny. Hence, you’ll need to optimize other aspects of your application to stay competitive. Although you may not have the option to take part in various events or extracurriculars, there are a growing number of ways to stay engaged online.
An aspect of your application that is entirely under your control is the essay. Essays are a crucial component of your application and can often be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful applicant. If you are a “borderline” candidate with good but less-competitive grades and test scores, then a strong essay could push you into the admitted pool. This can be a tricky part of your application, so do make sure to dedicate enough time to crafting a perfect essay and get as much feedback as possible.
Navigating the college admissions process with the added uncertainties of test cancellations can be difficult, so if you would like to seek help to discuss your options, contact us today for a free consultation with one of our admissions consultants.