ACT coronavirus COVID-19 Standardized Testing

Big Changes Coming for ACT

Post by TTA tutors: Steven and Amy

As we all struggle to find some stability in a chaotic world created by the Coronavirus, it seems that the only constant is change. In many cases, the change is welcome, even necessary.  Such is the case, we believe, with the proposed three major changes coming to the ACT beginning with the September 2020 test date.


  1. The ACT will be available as an online test at select locations in September, 2020. Of course, this is slightly questionable as shelter in place orders continue to extend.

The sections, question types, timing, and scoring will remain the same. The online test may be more comfortable for some students. For others, it might prove more stressful or distracting. Colleges will not know whether you take the online or the paper test — it is strictly a matter of personal preference. The scores for online tests will be available as quickly as two days later. This is significantly faster than the paper test and may be helpful for students who are up against application deadlines.

The online test will be given at specified locations on ACT computers. It will not be available for home testing, or on your own laptop, even at a testing center. Scratch paper will be available, and the testing software will include highlighting tools. You will be able to go back and change answers if there is time remaining in the section.

Some students prefer the comfortable environment of working on a computer screen. Others prefer to have the ability to mark on the page with their pencils as they work through the material. We advise you to try both environments before making your decision. The Official Beginner’s Guide for ACT (a publication of ACT, Inc.) includes access to an online practice test so that you can see for yourself which option is best for you.

  1. ACT will report a “superscore” for those who take more than one ACT.

About one third of all institutions currently allow superscoring. The change is that, now, ACT will automatically report the best score on each of your English, Math, Reading, and Science sections across all of the ACTs you take, and calculate your hypothetical composite score as though each of your best section scores were on the same full ACT. Colleges and universities will still each decide how to handle this information. Some will not consider the superscore in making admission decisions. Be sure to check with the schools and programs you are applying to for more information.

  1. If you have taken one complete, or “full-battery,” ACT at any time since 2016, you may choose to retake individual sections.

You may retake one, two, or three sections as an online test at select locations on any of the seven annual national test dates beginning with September 2020. You may NOT take individual sections as paper-and-pencil exams. In our opinion, this is the most exciting change. It means that, with proper planning, you could take your “full-panel” ACT on one day, and then do the writing section as a stand-alone test at a later date without the fatigue that is a major factor for many students. Some students will benefit from the reduced fatigue and stress when retaking only one, two, or three sections rather than an entire ACT exam.


As always, talk with your tutor to determine whether to take advantage of the new ACT testing format.  Preparedness is still critical, so be sure to work out a plan well in advance of your test date.

The situation with COVID-19 remains a fluid and fast-changing one wreaking havoc on all scheduled testing. Be sure to regularly check testing websites to stay on top of the most recent developments regarding closures or travel restrictions. For more information read our prior post about COVID-19 and admissions.

College Enrichment Program coronavirus COVID-19 Graduate Admissions Seniors

College Enrichment Program: Maintain Your Scholarly Focus

You are asking and we are listening.

We’ve been flooded with inquiries from parents whose college aged kids are home and unclear how to maintain their scholarly focus. Hopefully everyone is heeding the social distancing mandate, but with time on your hands you CAN take action.


This month has NOT gone to plan for you with the multitude of closings, cancellations coupled with the move to virtual learning for almost all students due to COVID-19. We’ve spoken with students in the U.S. and internationally who were hurriedly ushered off their campuses, have received little academic guidance as their courses flip to online formats, are unsure how to arrange backup summer plans, and are seeking to ensure their academic, research foundation and overall college (and eventual grad school) plans don’t fall off track.

You don’t have you do it alone!….


Dr. Kristen Willmott​​ will help ​students​ sharpen an academic area, define a clear research-based foundation, and take tangible steps to demonstrate scholarly achievements at the college level. Even better, our College Enrichment Program is fully virtual so no coronavirus concerns. Consulting is done via email, phone and/or Skype/Zoom and sold in 5-hour increments. 

Our program includes:

  • Personalized College Enrichment Action Plan
  • College Course Selection Guidance (including summer online courses for credit)
  • Identification of Unique Academic and Research Opportunities Customized for You
  • Recommendations and Assistance with Appropriate Fellowship, Scholarship, Internship, Conference Presentation & Publishing Opportunities
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae Guidance/Editing

You lost important access to your on-campus academic, college, internship, and research advisors  –we are here to fill that gap. Contact us today to learn more. Limited availability.

coronavirus COVID-19 Top Tips

Top Tips to Fight Coronavirus Stress

Post by: Mimi Doe

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is incredibly stressful for all of us in so many ways. For students, whose lives are turned upside down, they are unable to turn to friends to buffer their anxiety. Routines are disrupted, plans are canceled, and high school as they’d envisioned has changed overnight. One of the most effective ways to bolster your immune system, however, is to reduce stress. Here are some tips as you navigate this surreal new reality.


  1. Limit News

I’ve been in the hospital for the past 3 days with my daughter, who just had a baby girl. Yes, it was stressful and eerie being in a hospital during this frightening time, wondering if the coronavirus was lurking on every surface. But once my sweet, tiny granddaughter was born, we entered another zone.  It became all about the baby and mommy recovering. It was baby’s weight and hearing test and blood work and burping and feeding.  We didn’t watch television news, read a newspaper, or turn the New York Times on our phones. Instead, we counted time by the baby’s feedings.  It was liberating.  There were no visitors allowed, so the rhythm of life in a hospital room was calm.  I urge you to take a conscious break from the news. Life will go on without you checking in on the latest crisis.  Try it.  Ban the news for the day and see how you feel. Trust me, you will hear any urgent updates from family and friends.

  1. Create a Schedule

Around the world high schools have switched to online classes or simply ended classes for the year.  It’s not easy to manage a schedule when there are no bells ringing or the routine of life in high school. Be the boss of your day, as much as you can, and organize your time. Create a mindful routine in the mornings now that you aren’t rushing to catch a school bus or carpool.  Set up breaks to move away from the computer.

  1. Exercise

Even though sports practices are halted, don’t stop moving your body.  Add exercise to your schedule.  There are plenty of free ways to do so online.  I’m obsessed with Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and I’ve heard great things about Core Power Yoga classes.  Get outside and jump rope (we see plenty of rope jumpers on high rise balconies here in Austin), or like my husband, challenge yourself to increase your time in plank posture.  Exercise definitely helps lower your stress and increases your endorphins.

  1. Stay Connected

Friends are a critical lifeline during this time of isolation and it can be agony to be away from them.  Come up with ways to stay connected while maintaining social distance.  Have a virtual dinner party with a bunch of your friends via FaceTime or Zoom.  Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t visit a friend through the window or 6 feet apart in a circle playing your favorite instruments.  Can you designate a parking lot and gather sitting on your car trunks like these teens? 

  1. Address Test Anxiety

High school classes are still happening online and students still have tests.  Many classes are going to be pass/fail, but it’s not a time to slack off.  Standardized tests will happen eventually and your prep for the ACT, SAT, Subject Tests and APs should be happening for you now.  AP tests will be administrated online, so students can still take them at home. They will be shorter than the original AP test but the scores will still matter for college admissions, especially for current juniors. Subject Tests in May have been pushed to June and who knows if they will happen.

We’ve got you covered with our Test Anxiety guidebook with all the tips and techniques you need to conquer this particular stress. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive this super helpful resource.

  1. Sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more stress hormones.  Create a plan for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night!  Have trouble falling asleep? I use the free Insight Timer app when my racing mind keeps me up. The guided meditations are just the trick when sleep won’t come.  I especially like the sleep meditations by Bethany Auriel-Hagen.  I also am a big proponent of getting your technology out of the bedroom (yes, even charging your phone in another room). In fact, get off of your devices an hour or two before preparing for sleep.  There is plenty of research that blue light increases your stress. Blue light glasses are readily available online and you might try them to see if your stress goes down. I take magnesium about an hour before bedtime.  Studies have shown that many of us are magnesium deficient.  Talk to your doctor of course, but magnesium relaxes and calms most people.  Some like to drink their magnesium and Calm does the trick for many teenagers I know. Give it a try.

  1. Take a Virtual Vacation

Many families were planning exciting summer trips that have now been cancelled or postponed. Just because you can’t fly to Paris, however, doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time in the Louvre! Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can teleport to some of the world’s greatest art museums and historical sites from the comfort of your quarantine. As an added benefit, studies show that engaging with art and culture leads to increased rates of good health and lower rates of anxiety and depression.

Next time you’re tempted to refresh Twitter, try going on one of these virtual tours instead:

Remember—take it one day at a time and don’t forget to breathe. When it comes to college admissions stress, we’re here for you! Reach out today, and let’s make a plan together.