Ep. 156: To Test or Not to Test (ACT/SAT) in the Test-Optional Era with Annika Guy

Oct 24, 2023 | 0 comments

If you have a teen who is preparing for or thinking about applying to college, you are likely aware that some colleges and universities are test optional or even test blind when it comes to ACTs and SATs. But what does that mean? Should students with learning differences, test anxiety, or struggles with test-taking in general take these tests?

Annika Guy is the Director of Independent Study/Homeschool and SAT/ACT programming at Hayutin Education and a valued ChildNEXUS member. And while they know so much about test-optional and test-blind colleges and universities, they are here to tell us that it is a constantly changing landscape. We’ve definitely entered a new era of college acceptance processes and even the tests themselves have gone through some evolution over the last several years.

So if you and your teen are considering colleges, we now need to answer the question: to test or not to test?


Show Notes:

[2:42] – So much has changed in the last few years and it continues to evolve very quickly.

[3:49] – There is a lot of conflicting information and opinions when it comes to testing and college prep. This makes the decision to test that much harder.

[4:59] – It can be very frustrating to go through testing and then learn that the university or college doesn’t require it.

[5:38] – Test-optional means that schools will not require test scores to be submitted when applying, but will look them over if submitted.

[7:21] – Test blind means that schools don’t even look at test scores at all even if you submit them.

[9:08] – A big concern for students and parents is that learning differences and test-taking difficulties result in scores that don’t reflect a student’s ability and potential.

[11:24] – Although it can be confusing, it is ultimately a good thing that there are test-optional and test blind schools.

[13:10] – Testing companies are beginning to shift their thinking around the necessity and accuracy of test scores.

[14:43] – The SAT has gone through a lot of changes in the last ten years. Now it is a much shorter test and is provided digitally.

[17:53] – There are some things that can be put into a test-prep plan including practice tests and test-prep tutors.

[21:24] – Hayutin Education is very transparent about the murky waters of testing and test prep. They help students navigate this decision.

[23:19] – Homeschooled students need to test and there are other demographics that feel more pressured to test like international students and athletes.

[25:01] – Test prep should not be prioritized over keeping up a GPA.

[26:36] – Hayutin Education offers a number of services including test prep services, college application guidance, and academic support.


About Our Guest:

Annika Guy is the Director of Independent Study/Homeschool and SAT/ACT programming at Hayutin Education. Annika joined the Hayutin administrative team in 2021 after two years on the educator team. Annika has worked with students ranging from elementary school through college in a variety of humanities-based subjects as well as math, science, executive function coaching, independent study/homeschool, and test prep. As Director of Independent Study, Annika is passionate about custom curriculum design and developing the best program for each student’s unique learning style. In their role as Director of Hayutin’s SAT/ACT program, Annika consults with families about the changing landscape of college admissions in the test-optional era, and what that means for students facing the question of whether or not to test.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.