Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Live Updates: Effects of COVID-19 on Standardized Testing

Magoosh will update this post as more information becomes available.
Latest update: August 25, 2021

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the globe, it has already impacted nearly all of our professional and personal plans.

To slow the spread of this pandemic, it is vital that we follow CDC guidelines and best practices. These include social distancing, which involves increasing the physical distance between people to a minimum of six feet.

This recommendation has led to the cancellation of many public events—including the administration of standardized tests.

So what should you do if you have a test coming up?


Table of Contents


Understanding the Effects of COVID-19 on Your Test

If you and your loved ones are doing well—and we certainly hope that this is the case—this might be a good time for you to fit in some extra studying. But don’t feel bad if you’re not in the position to do so right now—it’s important to take care of your physical and mental well-being first.

If you’re wondering what to do about the logistics of your exam, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Was it canceled? If it was:
    • How do you get a refund?
    • How do you reschedule?
    • Can you take it at home?
  2. Was it postponed? If it was:
    • How do you reschedule?
  3. How does this affect application deadlines for college and grad school?

What is the status of your exam? Official Test-Maker Responses

  • To find out the latest on exam-wide cancellations and postponements, check the test-maker’s official response on their website:
  • To learn more about your already scheduled test, reach out to your testing center (if applicable).
  • To learn more about application deadlines and decision dates, reach out directly to university admissions departments (expect delayed responses).

What We Currently Know

College Admissions + SAT/ACT + AP Exams Updates

College Admissions Updates

At the height of the pandemic, droves of colleges have announced changes in their testing policy to test-optional. Several continue to do so for at least one more year and many colleges plan to make this change permanent. The University of California system made a huge splash as it relates to standardized testing—first by announcing plans to phase out the use of SAT/ACT for admissions decisions by 2024 and then by receiving a court-ordered mandate barring the UC system from using test scores at all.

As vaccines become more readily available and colleges seek to return to normal, their admissions policies continue to evolve. Make sure to refer to the websites of specific schools for the latest information.

>> Watch & Read: Test-Optional Colleges: What You Need to Know


The latest updates about how the College Board is dealing with COVID-19 here. It appears that things may be going back to normal in terms of SAT administration; while the College Board is still requiring masks and other safety measures, it appears that test closures may not be as common as it was when the pandemic was in full swing. Still, it would wise to check the College Board’s test center closure page and your email often.

The anticipated dates for the 2021-2022 school year are as follows:

  • August 28, 2021
  • October 2, 2021
  • November 6, 2021
  • December 4, 2021
  • March 12, 2022
  • May 7, 2022
  • June 4, 2022

In January, the College Board announced they would be discontinuing the optional SAT essay and Subject Tests:

  • The optional SAT essay will only be offered until June 2021.
  • SAT Subject Tests will only be offered to international students until June 2021.


Not much has been reported as of late on the ACT website regarding COVID-19, indicating that like the SAT, the makers of the ACT are facilitating a return to normalcy. It is unclear whether or not the at-home ACT test, which was piloted during the crisis, is still under development.

The following are the test dates for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • September 11, 2021
  • October 23, 2021
  • December 11, 2021
  • February 12, 2022
  • April 2, 2022
  • June 11, 2022
  • July 16, 2022

AP Exams

College Board has released 2022 dates for AP testing and they will follow the pre-COVID schedule (the first two weeks of May with make-up testing in the third week of May). It is unclear if they will continue with digital administrations, but it appears unlikely for those who don’t need accommodations.


The GRE at-home is here to stay permanently. If you’re planning on taking the GRE soon, check out our online GRE blog post to see what that means for you.

As of July 11, 2020, in Mainland China, the National Education Examinations Authority announced that the GRE General Test has resumed at a few locations.

As of June 15, 2020, GRE test centers around the world are beginning to reopen for June and July test dates (with the exception of Mainland China, where GRE testing has been suspended until June 30, 2020). Check here to see if GRE test centers near you are open and accepting appointments.

Most GRE exams, including all computer-based GRE testing done by Prometric test centers, have been suspended around the globe. Check your email and GRE account online for specific information about your exam.

You can reschedule your GRE exam free of charge IF you reschedule via live chat, email ([email protected]), or phone (1-866-473-4373).If you reschedule by yourself online, you will incur a rescheduling fee (don’t do this!).

>> As of Monday, March 23rd, students can register to take the GRE General Test online at home. While this started as a temporary solution with limited availability, ETS has now made the GRE General Test at Home a permanent, widely available option. Students can now schedule tests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To find out more, check out ETS’s official GRE at Home FAQ. Note also that as of December 2020, ETS is temporarily accepting expired identification documents for those taking the GRE at Home. According to the ETS website, “ETS is temporarily accepting government-issued IDs with expiration dates from February 1, 2020, forward. All other ID policies still apply.” Also as of December 2020, the GRE at Home Test is scheduled directly through ETS’s website; previously test-takers scheduled through ProctorU, and ETS partner company. ProctorU staff still provide proctoring services for this test, even though they no longer handle booking.

Note that some programs are waiving GRE exam requirements for 2021 applicants. This isn’t widespread, so check with your specific program for updates.

>> Watch: GRE at Home: A Real Student’s Experience & Tips
>> Watch: ETS Online GRE: A Good Experience with Unexpected Surprises
>> Read: Was Your GRE Canceled? You Can Take It at Home
>> Read: A Student’s Guide to Taking the GRE Online with ProctorU
>> Read: Magoosh GRE Prep During COVID-19



The GMAT online exam will be a permanent testing option alongside the in-person GMAT. GMAC will also be rolling out these changes to the GMAT online for appointments on April 8, 2021, and onward:

  • Return of the AWA (GMAT essay) section
  • Choose your own section order (just like the in-person GMAT)
  • Two optional 8-minute breaks
  • View your unofficial score as soon as you finish

Registration for this enhanced GMAT online format will open on February 17, 2021. Exams taken before April 8, 2021, will have the current GMAT online format.

Starting September 23, 2020, at 12:01 EST, you have the option to retake the GMAT Online exam. The online exam option is also being offered until February 2021. The GMAT Online exam price is $250 USD, and rescheduling and exam cancellation fees will be reinstated at $25 and $100 USD respectively. GMAT Online exams taken on or after September 23rd will also begin counting towards your overall 12-month and lifetime GMAT attempt limits.

As of June 15, 2020, many GMAT test centers are reopening with increased safety measures in place to protect test-takers and proctors (see the updated list of open test centers by clicking here). Safety measures include the use of face masks, frequent sanitation of check-in and testing equipment, and easily accessible hand sanitizer throughout the test center.

Starting May 12, 2020, all test-takers are required to wear a face mask for the duration of the exam (with the exception of test centers in Australia and the United Kingdom). You may also wear disposable gloves if you wish. Please check your nearest test center location for rules and regulations.

All GMAT exams at US and Canadian Pearson VUE centers have been suspended until further notice. If you have a GMAT scheduled outside of the US/Canada, you can check the status of your exam here.

If your exam has been affected, it will be either rescheduled or canceled, with fees waived. You will receive notifications via email, and the organization asks that you do not try to reschedule or cancel your appointment online but instead contact customer service.

Note that some business school programs are waiving GMAT exam requirements for 2021 applicants. This isn’t widespread, so check with your specific program for updates.

>> Read: GMAT Canceled? You Can Take the GMAT Online Exam At Home
>> Watch: GMAT At Home: Real Experience and Tips
>> Read: Online GMAT Exam Experience and Tips


To help students whose test centers are closed as well as those would prefer to test from the safety of their home during the pandemic, IELTS Partners has introduced IELTS Indicator. IELTS Indicator is an online test created for students who want to take the IELTS. At this time, it is not a full substitution for the IELTS, as it is not accepted at all institutions. However, the IELTS does list the growing number of schools that accept the IELTS Indicator worldwide.

Check out our IELTS Blog (especially the “Read” article linked below), where we’ll update with more information about IELTS Indicator as it comes in.

IELTS has is opening more and more locations, although testing is still limited or cancelled in some countries or regions. To find out more, go to the official IELTS booking site, or contact your local test center with questions. But do NOT go to IELTS’ Covid-news web page. THIS PAGE IS OUTDATED, even though IELTS hasn’t taken it down.

While IELTS is reopening test centers around the world, the makers of the exam are sensitive to the new dangers of in-person testing during the pandemic. Re-opened test centers often take number of safety and social distancing precautions. These requirements vary form region to region, so you’ll want to contact your local test center for any onsite Covid safety requirements.

In addition, to address the need for home study during the pandemic, the IELTS now offers a number of home study options:

  • The IELTS has partnered with Kaplan to provide official online IELTS preparation courses for students who currently reside in the United States. And of coruse, our Magoosh IELTS courses remain available worldwide!
  • Students can now take a free IELTS Masterclass, online or in person. These 90 minute sessions allow studnetys to learn more about the exam and ask questions of a live IELTS instructor. Recordings of past materclasses are available online as well. For details, see the official IELTS Masterclass website.
  • In addition to the Masterclasses, the IELTS test-makers offer a number of other study-from home educational resources, including IELTS webinars and the courses linked under the “IELTS Online Courses” heading on the IELTS IDP preparation web page.
  • The IELTS also now provides a paid practice test that can be taken online. Students who complete this test will have their results scored by actual IELTS examiners. This practice test is called the IELTS Progress Check, and it costs $49.95 USD.

>> Read:



Although test centers are continuing to reopen around the world, some TOEFL exams are still cancelled or less available. Check both your email and your TOEFL account online for more information about your specific exam.

As of December 2020, a number of changes have been made to the TOEFL Home Edition:

  • The TOEFL Home Edition, initially created as a temporary home-based testing option for the pandemic, is now being offered permanently. According to ETS’s TOEFL Home Edition FAQ: “The TOEFL iBT Home Edition is now a standard option for test takers and will be available for the foreseeable future, along with the option of testing at a test center.”
  • Also per the TOEFL Home Edition FAQ, ETS is temporarily accepting expired IDs for TOEFL Home Edition registration. From the FAQ: “ETS is temporarily accepting government-issued IDs with expiration dates from February 1, 2020, forward. All other ID policies still apply.”
  • Although ProctorU’s staff still provide proctoring for the TOEFL Home Edition, you no longer book the Home Edition through ProctorU’s website. Booking and scheduling for the home version of this exam are now handled entirely on the ETS website, through the same platform that you’d use to book a test-center TOEFL.
  • For all TOEFL tests, including the TOEFL Home Edition, there is now a $60 fee for rescheduling the exam, and all exams must be rescheduled at least four days in advance. For more information, see this page from the official TOEFL website.

The TOEFL Home Edition test was originally created as a safe way to take a real TOEFL exam from home during the pandemic; it is now being offered on a permanent basis.

This at-home test is available everywhere except Mainland China and Iran. If you are able to take the TOEFL Home Edition outside of mainland China or Iran, you can register with ETS here.

In addition to the Home Edition, the TOEFL has also unveiled a completely new version of the exam that can also be taken online: the TOEFL Essentials test. The format is slightly different than the iBT, although many of the details on this exam have yet to be announced. For more info, read this Magoosh TOEFL Blog post.

One Covid-era alternative to the regular TOEFL has been discontinued. Now that the standard TOEFL is increasingly available in mainland China, the TOEFL ITP Plus, which was created specifically to address the pandemic, has been discontinued. The good news is that if you’ve taken the ITP Plus, you can still use your score report when applying for work or study. Read here for details.

Last but certainly not least, ETS has reopened test centers in various countries, regions and cities in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. To see TOEFL availability in your test or region, use the TOEFL’s test center and date lookup service.

>> Read:



In 2020, LSAC began to offer a new, remote-proctored, at-home LSAT exam: LSAT-Flex. A remote version of the exam will continue to replace the in-person LSAT through at least June 2022. However, as of August 2021, the 3-section LSAT-Flex will change into a remote LSAT with 3 scored sections and 1 unscored section. Like the LSAT-Flex, the remote LSAT uses real LSAT questions and is monitored by live proctors.

As of August, 2021, the remote LSAT will:

  • have 3 scored sections and 1 un-scored, experimental section,
  • include a 10-minute break between sections 2 and 3,
  • and be scored on the standard 120-180 LSAT range.

Magoosh LSAT Prep is customizable for remote LSAT studiers, and includes official full-length practice tests with Flex timing, study schedules, and a score predictor.

>> Watch: LSAT-Flex Review & Tips: A Student’s Experience
>> Read: Taking the LSAT-Flex Exam: Online At-Home LSAT Testing
>> Read: LSAT-Flex Score Conversion Table (How to Predict Your LSAT Flex Score!)


MCAT & Coronavirus in 2021

On October 7, 2020, AAMC announced their plans to return to regularly scheduled programming in 2021. That means administering MCAT exams on the typical full-year schedule, and holding only in-person administrations of the full-length exam. AAMC added a new January testing option, and began offering an afternoon testing session (non-morning-people rejoice!).

There are updated health and safety standards at testing centers, to help keep testers safe during their exam. You can learn more in AAMC’s FAQs: The MCAT and COVID-19.

What Happened with the MCAT & Coronavirus in 2020?

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAMC cancelled MCAT exams and then offered a shortened MCAT for the remainder of 2020. This exam was 5 hours and 45 minutes long, as opposed to the normal 7 and a half hours. AAMC also added three new test dates: June 28, September 27, and September 28, and expedited score release timelines. If you were scheduled to take one of the cancelled exams, you should have received a cancellation email.

>> Read: What to do if your MCAT study plans have been disrupted due to coronavirus
>> Watch: Message to MCAT Students from an MCAT Expert re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Med School Admissions
>> Watch: Study With Me LIVE – MedKinza & Kat from Magoosh MCAT

Other Tests

The Praxis exam now has a home edition! For teachers seeking licensure, the Praxis portion of that path is now safer and more convenient. For more information, see ETS’s press release on the home-based Praxis tests.

If you live in a state where the HiSET is accepted as a high school equivalency exam, then you’re in luck. You can now take the HiSET from home as well! Check out the ETS website for more information.

The widely accepted GED high school quivalency exam is also now available in a home-based format for those unable to take the traditional GED due to Covid-19. Click this link for more information on the home-based GED.

Magoosh’s Response

Students with a Magoosh Account

If you are a current Magoosh student, we know that your studying plans may be disrupted. We are offering all of our existing students the option to pause or extend your Magoosh account free of charge. Please send a message to our team at [email protected] if you’ve been impacted.

New Magoosh Students

Are you thinking of purchasing Magoosh prep but worried your standardized test will be affected due to the implications of Coronavirus?

After completing your purchase, email us at [email protected] and we will pause or extend your Magoosh subscription plan for free.

Take Care

We wish everyone the best at this stressful time! Please take good care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your community.



  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin’s Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn’t strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!