This week, ACT has confirmed that it will not offer the July test date in California. This announcement may throw a wrench into the plans of students who were counting on the July test, which was proving to be a popular option for rising seniors wishing to finish testing before beginning the school year.
ACT’s decision is in response to California’s “Truth in Testing” laws, which require the testing agencies to release no fewer than 50% of the tests they administer each year. The law’s intention is to give students more access to the material on these high stakes tests, thereby allowing for better preparation and more transparency. Previously, ACT offered 6 dates, and released 3 sample tests to comply with California’s requirement. This year, ACT added a July test date to accommodate the growing number of students wishing to test in the summer. To comply with California’s law, ACT would need to release an additional test, which they say would be cost prohibitive for them. So instead, they have opted simply to not offer the July test in California.
The state of New York also has similar “truth in testing” laws, and ACT does not offer a February or July test in New York as a result. Many New York students travel to neighboring states in order to test in February or July, but this isn’t a logical option for most California students.
So, what to do? Students in California and New York who were counting on the July option will now need to shift to the June or September test. To be fair, this is what students in previous years had to do – but both dates have downsides. In June, when students are swamped with finals and AP exams, adding another high-stakes test is particularly stressful. The September test pushes into application season, when students need to be focusing on essays and apps.
Furthermore, the timing of ACTs decision is unfortunate, as most students in the Class of 2019 have already mapped out a tentative testing schedule. Some of the students we work with had even delayed their test preparation because they were planning on taking July test. Now, they face the decision of pushing their testing timeline back (before they’ve had time to prepare) or forward (adding testing to an already busy application season).
As we often tell students, flexibility is critical when applying to college! Approach it with an open mind and the willingness to work hard, and you will be accepted to excellent colleges that fits your needs – no matter the bumps in the road along the way.