Covid-19’s impact on admissions testing and Breakaway Test Prep

In this time of uncertainty, together with the entire Breakaway Test Prep team, I wanted to express our wishes to you and your family that you remain safe and well.

I also wanted to let you know that Breakaway is closely monitoring the situation with the ACT and the College Board – including the SAT, SAT subject tests and AP exams.  We will continue to provide you with updates as information becomes available.

Please read on to learn more about the virus’ impact on each of the following items:

  1. Breakaway instruction and practice tests
  2. ACT and SAT testing
  3. ACT and SAT test preparation
  4. AP exam preparation
  5. College admissions

Ron Michalak
Breakaway Test Prep

1. Breakaway Instruction and Practice Tests

All Breakaway instruction and practice exams have been moved online.  Instructors and families are free to use an online platform of their choice (Zoom, Skype or FaceTime) to conduct lessons.  Breakaway is also offering home administrations of our weekend practice exams along with online proctoring of the tests via Zoom.  Current students are welcome to take a practice test with us at home.  Please click here to register for a practice test.

2. ACT and SAT Testing

Both the April 4th ACT and the May 2nd SAT have been cancelled.  ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S.  All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.”

The College Board, according to its website, “has not yet cancelled the June 6th SAT and SAT subject test administration and will continue to assess its status”.

College Board is also investigating ways to preserve AP Exams, including the possibility of at-home testing. Click here for more information.

At the present time, the June 6th SAT and June 13th ACT are potential testing options, and we certainly hope that these tests will be available.  That said, we believe that students should consider the July ACT and/or the August SAT as alternatives. Registration for both of these exams is currently available.  Given the history of significant capacity constraints for these summer tests, we recommend that families consider registering for one of these tests as a precaution amid all the uncertainty.

The best way to access the most current information about the status of any ACT or SAT exam is to visit their websites.  Information is usually available right on the homepage.  Of course, the ability of the ACT or the SAT to actually administer a test is subject to local conditions, i.e., the local public high school being open and available for testing.  As such, you’ll need to check the website of the test center as well to ensure accessibility.

Upcoming ACT Test Dates (available for registration)

  • June 13th
  • July 18th

Upcoming ACT Test Dates (available for registration in July)

  • September 12th
  • October 24th

Upcoming SAT Test Dates (available for registration)

  • June 6th

Upcoming SAT Test Dates (available for registration in July)

  • August 29th
  • October 3rd

3. ACT and SAT Test Preparation

Many of you reading this have a student at home who was planning to take the March 24th, April 4th and/or April 7th ACT, or the March 14th or May 2nd SAT, all of which were cancelled.  Given that your student has done some prep, what are the options going forward?

Since January, we have been helping students prepare for these spring exams.  To help your student maintain the momentum they established through their prep and practice, here are several measures we can recommend depending on your circumstances and needs:

  • Take occasional practice tests.  Breakaway has recommended that while preparing for a real ACT or SAT, the student should complete one practice exam every 3-4 weeks.  We are currently offering home administrations of practice exams, where families print, administer and score exams at home.  Please let me know if you are interested in this option.  In addition, we are in the process of identifying an online means to proctor a practice exam, and should have more news available in the coming days.
  • Continue to practice and prep.  During the school year, Breakaway has recommended students do one lesson each week.  Students are welcome to continue to meet with this frequency to take advantage of any newfound downtime and to continue to make progress on their test.  Alternatively, due to the virus and the uncertainty it has created – both in terms of the test date and everyone’s financial wellbeing – Breakaway instructors could also do “maintenance” lessons on a less frequent basis.  For example, students could meet just twice per month for instruction (once per month with each instructor).  Continuing to practice and prep would help students maintain the gains they made while taking advantage of more flexibility in their schedules to do some work on the test.

4. AP Exam Preparation

On March 20, the College Board announced that this year’s AP exams, which were scheduled for administration in May, will now be offered to students online due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  There will be no face-to-face administration of the exams this year.  The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details will be available by April 3.

College Board is currently working with a group of educators to identify the exam questions that will make up the 45-minute online assessments.  Students will be able to take the tests using a range of devices including phones, tablets and computers.  Photos of handwritten work will also be accepted.

In the light of the range of impacts that coronavirus has had on school districts around the country, the AP exams will only include “topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March”, according to the College Board.

The College Board also acknowledged the security challenges of administering exams online.  “The exam questions are designed and administered in ways that prevent cheating; we use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams.”

Lastly, the College Board will announce two different testing dates to accommodate students who may want to test earlier.  Much more information will be available on April 3, and Breakaway will keep you posted.

For the past eight years, Breakaway has provided support for students preparing for AP exams, including all math, science, literature and history exams.  We have nearly 50 instructors, many of whom have master’s or Ph.D. degrees and bring of depth of expertise in their respective areas.  We would be happy to help support your student’s efforts to prepare for many of these exams.  Please let us know if we can help.

5. College Admissions

In an effort to help you stay apprised of the many changes at the nation’s colleges and universities, the National Association of College Admissions Counselors is consolidating information from a broad set of colleges related to changes in college admission events, deposit dates, and more as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.  Please click here to access.

Please let us know if we can be of help to you at this time.

Thank you.

Ron Michalak
President, Breakaway Test Prep
[email protected]

Barbara Jeffers
Director, Maple Grove/Northwest Suburbs
[email protected]

John Kingsbury
Director, Mendota Heights office
[email protected]

Lori Wormald
Director, Wayzata office
[email protected]

Matt McManus
Director, Eden Prairie office
[email protected]

Rachel Erickson
Director, Students with Learning Disabilities
[email protected]