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Who Should Take the December ACT or SAT

Juniors - YOU may just want to

take the ACT or SAT in December! 

It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. If Covid has taught us anything, it's to plan ahead because we don't know what's next.

While in the past many juniors delayed testing until spring or summer, that put many in the class of 2020 in a precarious decision. Take Angie's story.

Angie's goal is to attend a direct admit nursing program and honestly her strong GPA and course rigor in high school had positioned her to do so....until lack of strategic planning derailed her. 

Her plan was to:

  • take the free ACT her high school would offer in late winter in March as a cold baseline test
  • Schedule a retest in June with test prep leading to this date
  • Test again in July if necessary

Her story became:

  • She took her school ACT with less than stellar results that could potentially keep her out of a direct admit nursing program despite her excellent grades
  • She scheduled a retest in June that was canceled due to Covid closures and couldn't find a July test date in her area due to very little availability due to Covid
  • In August, as she started college applications, she realized that many colleges require nursing students to have ACT or SAT scores for admission despite many colleges being test optional for the class of 2021 only; she can't apply test optional as nursing is one of the exceptions to test optional - YIKES! And nursing isn't the only exception. 
  • In September, she was scheduled to test only to have her test site announce a last second closure days before the test; she was very frustrated as she was well prepped and scoring great on practice tests
  • Now she waits to see if her October test date will actually take place; if it doesn't, she may be out of luck and unable to apply to nursing

Juniors are ready to take the December ACT/SAT if they have completed algebra 1 as well as geometry or are finished with or at least half way through the last of those three courses which is generally algebra 2 in traditional math sequencing at high schools. 

A strategic plan for juniors who fit the above profile for math completion is: 

  1. Register for a first ACT/SAT in the fall of the junior year, if they've not already tested.
  2. Take a prep course leading to the first test. You were planning to test cold? Take a free LEAP diagnostic ACT or SAT instead; these are actual retired tests you get to keep!
  3. Register for a spring retake if you aren't one of the lucky ones where your state gives all juniors a late winter ACT or SAT.
  4. Brush up on your weak areas with tutoring or LEAP's Perfect Practice Program.

You could be finished testing or only have one more summer test to go!

Some Seniors may still want to take the ACT or SAT in December

It may not be too late, but this is likely your last possible test date. 

Many colleges which have "Regular Decision" deadlines in early January have explicitly stated on their admissions page that December test results will arrive on time. 

A few elite colleges like University of Chicago and Yale will allow testing as late as the February ACT as stated on their sites. 

If you applied "Early Action or Decision" at schools, double check their website for deadlines as many will allow you to continue to test after the application deadline and submit scores for consideration as is the case for Miami University in Ohio

Register at ACT or SAT.  Like all test dates, registration to sit for a test is about 4 to 5 weeks in advance. 

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