Students prep for standardized tests amidst the COVID-19 pandemic


Charlotte Pollack, Entertainment Editor

COVID-19’s impact has spread across every aspect of life for teenagers across the globe, even down to the way that they take integral standardized tests. The American SATs and ACTs look a little different for high schoolers in the age of COVID-19, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School juniors are feeling its impact.
Even with many schools going test-optional this year, juniors still have to sign up for test dates. However, the process by which students prepare for their test, and the protocols in place on test day, impact the way students must approach the test.
As test dates draw closer and closer, students are doing the best they can to prepare for the upcoming exam days. But with strict precautions in place, it has been more difficult to get the help and guidance they need to get their desired score. 
The biggest obstacle has been not meeting with my SAT tutors in person,” junior TJ Baylock said. “I’ve had to do my SAT prep online, which isn’t the easiest way to learn.” 
The stress of exams weighs on students, and the pandemic seems to only be adding to the pressure. However, students have not let the situation get the best of them.They go in with an optimistic attitude and do what they can with what they have prepared. 
Junior Aditya Phatak, for example, has gone above and beyond to prepare for the tests. 
“I prepared for the test by using online programs, getting in-person tutoring and taking several full practice tests,” Phatak said. “In terms of online programs, I used Khan Academy for a while before switching over to PrepScholar, which helped me improve greatly through their lessons and practice questions. I also took a full SAT, old SAT and old PSAT practice tests each weekend. Finally, I have received tutoring from SPF’s own Mr. Capron, who helped me greatly increase my reading and writing score.”
Upon arriving at the test location, students are required to wear a mask and complete a survey to assess whether they are experiencing any symptoms. Test sites have also begun to run at smaller capacities, each room seating no more than nine people at a time leaving room to allow test takers to socially distance themselves. 
“When we got [to the testing site], they took our temperatures and had all of the hallways blocked off so there was only one way to get to the rooms,” junior Kayla Morrow said. “In the rooms, all the seats were spread out.”
Morrow had taken the SAT twice this year and had spent the summer preparing. Many students are taking different paths when it comes to testing this year. If you haven’t begun testing or are already done, do it your way.