Live Updates: Effects of COVID-19 on Standardized Testing

Live Updates: Effects of COVID-19 on Standardized Testing

Rachel on June 28, 2020

Magoosh will update this post as more information becomes available.
Latest update: October 19, 2020

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

The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) created the College Admission Status Update, a database of colleges that changed their admission process due to COVID-19. Search by institution name for updates.

Almost daily, colleges are announcing changes in their testing policy to test-optional, at least for fall 2021 applicants. The University of California system continues to make a 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 college 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 College Board is providing the following SAT exams for the remainder of 2020:

  • November 7
  • December 5

There is also a possibility of a test in January 2021 if there is enough demand.

Students should be warned that many test centers will have limited seating and may experience unexpected closures, so be prepared to travel some distance to take the SAT. Students who may have been banking on an at-home SAT exam—similar to the digital AP exams taken in the spring—are currently out of luck. Due to feasibility concerns, the College Board has currently delayed plans for a digital, at-home SAT.

For more information, check out How to Handle SAT Test Cancelations Due to COVID-19.


For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, the ACT will be administered:

  • October 10
  • October 17
  • October 24
  • October 25
  • December 12
  • February 6
  • April 17
  • June 12
  • July 17

Although registration for the October dates have closed, the remaining dates are open for registration. The next registration deadline is November 6 for the December 12 testing date.

The ACT was also planning an at-home option for this fall; however, they are now focusing on accommodating students affected by COVID-19, and the roll-out of the at-home test has been postponed to 2021 at the earliest.

For more information, make sure to check out the FAQ about the ACT and our post on How to Handle ACT Test Cancelations Due to COVID-19

AP Exams

In 2021, AP Exams will be administered over May 3–7 and May 10–14. In order to encourage students to register for AP exams this fall, College Board is waiving exam cancellations or unused exam fees. Note that the cost per exam is $1 more than in previous years.

Unlike the at-home option this year, College Board is planning on supporting in-school testing in 2021. If social distancing protocols are still in place at this time, there will be additional contingency plans to support in-school testing or testing in the event of school closures.

In 2020, at-home AP Exams were administered from May 11 to 22 with makeup dates from June 1 to 5. A small minority of students were able to take the test in late June.

Although the College Board claims that at-home AP testing was a success, several students had problems submitting answers and were told they needed to take a makeup test. Students consequently filed a lawsuit to force the College Board to grade their responses for the initial test. The organization Fair Test also joined the lawsuit due to compliance issues with the Americans With Disabilities Act.


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

As of June 15, 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 (, 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. This is a temporary solution with limited availability. Find out if you’re eligible and register here.

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


Starting September 23, 2020, at 12:01 EST, you have the option to retake the GMAT Online exam. With this announcement comes a price update: on the same date, the GMAT Online exam pricing will go up to $250 USD, and rescheduling and exam cancellation fees will be reinstated. 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.

>> As of April 14, 2020, registration is open for the GMAT Online Exam. Online test dates are available April 20th through June 15th. The Online GMAT Exam will not include an AWA section, but will otherwise have the same format, timing, and scoring as the traditional GMAT. Learn more here.

Note that some 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 tests were canceled, 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 Inidcator wordlwide.

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 announced that testing will continue in limited locations, but more locations are opening. If you click this link for official IELTS COvid-19 upates, you will see an extensive list of areas where the exam is canceled, so be sure to check. Contact your local test center with questions. This link also includes the growing list of places where IELTS test centers have reopened, including an increasing number of locations in mainland China. Most importantly for those who do have IELTS test center access, the page I’ve linked above in this paragraph includes a list of Covid-19-related precautions you must take in order to be admitted into the test center to take your exam.

If your exam is not suspended, you are able to bring in and wear a mask, hands should be washed upon arrival, test report forms will be received by mail, and IELTS partners are offering free support material for affected test takers.

In addition, to address the need for home study during the pandemic, 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!

>> Read:



Although test centers are continuing to reopen around the world, many TOEFL exams have been cancelled. Check both your email and your TOEFL account online for more information about your specific exam.

As of April 2, 2020, ETS is offering the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test. This TOEFL exam that is identical to the TOEFL iBT that you’d encounter at a testing center, but that can be taken at home using ProcturU. On Sept. 23, 2020, ETS announced that the exam will remain available through most of the world until the end of the year, and also indicated that they hope to “extend that date further” until “the situation returns to normality.” In other words, it looks like the TOEFL Home Edition will be available for the foseeable future.

This at-home test is available everywhere except Mainland China and Iran. Note that China and Iran have reopened some of their traditional TOEFL test centers, and that China also offers the TOEFL ITP Plus as an alternative exam. Find out if you’re eligible to take the at-home TOEFL. If you are, you can register with ETS here.

ETS has also begun offering a live chat service for test-takers with COVID-19 questions. This service can be access from the pop-up chat window on the official TOEFL homepage.

Last but certainly not least, ETS has begun to open test centers in various countries, regions and cities in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. For updates on reopened test centers and health and safety requirements for in person testing see the official page for ETS Covid-19 updates, and click on the link for your testing region.

>> Read:



Due to test cancelations related to the Coronavirus pandemic, LSAC is offering a new, remote-proctored, at-home LSAT exam: LSAT-Flex. This exam lasts two hours and has three sections. It uses real LSAT questions and is monitored by live proctors.

Adcoms will be able to see if a student took the LSAT-Flex. LSAC advises that most law schools have no issue accepting Flex scores, though it should be noted that some programs will only accept these scores for fall 2020 admissions, not for fall 2021 admission. Please check with the programs you plan to apply to for more information.

Magoosh is offering a free LSAT-Flex 101 prep course, which includes an LSAT-Flex practice test, score predictor, study guide, and free trial of Magoosh LSAT Prep.

All exams through at least April, 2021 will be LSAT-Flex exams:

lsat flex calendar

>> 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 is adding a new January testing option, and offering an afternoon testing session (non-morning-people rejoice!).

mcat january 2021 test dates

AAMC will have new 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.

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.

For more information direct from AAMC, read AAMC’s June 29th letter to MCAT examinees, which provides the most recent developments in regards to testing and fall 2021 admissions.

And if you’re looking for insight into the shortened MCAT testing experience, Magoosh MCAT Expert, Kat, interviewed two students who took the shortened MCAT. Watch the videos for some incredibly helpful tips!

>>Watch: A Real Student’s Shortened MCAT Experience
>>Watch: Shortened MCAT vs. Full-Length MCAT
>> Read: What to do if your MCAT study plans have been disrupted due to coronavirus
>> Read: Should I take the shortened MCAT in 2020?
>> 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 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 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.