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The Effects of the Cancellation and Modification of Standardized Testing

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, many people have had to adapt to very different lives, no longer able to go to the gym for exercise or the office for work. Likewise, because of these changes, many high school students feel a lot more stress than normal, mostly due to the changes in grades and standardized testing and how that will affect their college applications and futures. Many upperclassmen in high school are worried about their college applications and choices, since all college visits and tours are cancelled due to this pandemic. Adding on to these cancellations, the College Board decided to cancel the SAT and SAT IIs until June, push back ACT dates, and modify the APs (Advanced Placement classes) for the 2019-2020 school year. This abrupt change in scheduling for many sophomores, juniors, and possibly seniors, has much stress for students who have been preparing all year for these standardized exams. 

In light of these changes and limitations, many colleges are attempting to help with student stress by making their applications SAT optional, stating that the SAT scores are not mandatory to be accepted or to apply for that college. Kelly Walter, Associate Vice President & Dean of Admissions at Boston University, stated, “We are responding to the shifting landscape, with juniors in high school not able to access testing, and we wanted to be flexible" (Jaschik, 2020). Meanwhile, other colleges are providing an easier route financially for applications and are attempting to make it more affordable to secure a spot in the college. Lastly, there are a number of colleges attempting to help current seniors to make their commitments to colleges by virtualizing college visits and tours. These attempts the colleges are making to relieve the stress of students have been helping students to cope during these challenging situations. 

Another issue has to do with the AP examinations. Although many different examinations, such as the IB (international Baccalaureate) exams, have been cancelled, the College Board had made the official decision to keep AP examinations and modify them to be able to be taken at home and within a shorter period of time. Though at first glance this may seem ingenious, there were many problems that caused students even more stress than before. One issue that arises with online testing is that certain students do not have ease of access to computers or laptops and even the internet, creating stress for the students because of their worry about not being able to take this exam they have been preparing for all year. A more common problem many AP level students face is that they don’t feel confident studying for a completely different type of exam in a shorter time frame without studying with their teachers like they would have if they were in school. Though the examination has become optional for students who do not feel comfortable with the change in curriculum, many students feel pressured to opt for taking AP exams due to fear of seeming less competitive for college admissions (Jung, 2020).

Overall, the modification and cancellation of standardized exams has brought much stress to teens in quarantine, but there have been attempts from different educational groups accommodate these changes and lower the anxiety and stress levels of these students. During troubling times like these, mental health, especially among hard-working students, should and has become a top priority in the nation. 



Jaschik, Scott. "Coronavirus Drives Colleges to Test Optional." Insider Higher ED, 30 Mar. 2020, Accessed 23 Apr. 2020.

Jung, Carrie. "Worry, Stress as Students Prepare for Modified Advanced Placement Exams during School Shutdown." Wbur, 8 Apr. 2020, Accessed 23 Apr. 2020.

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