AP, SAT and grades: Coronavirus updates


Angie Gulizia, Editor in Chief

With all the crazy changes coronavirus has caused, there’s a lot for high schoolers to keep track of. AP testing, SATs, grades, and testing requirements for college have all been affected. This update will be most helpful for current juniors, but other forward-thinking students should also read on for updates on all of these!



The most pressing issue at the moment is AP testing. It’s widely known that AP tests will be taken online and at home this year, and they’ll be 45 minutes long and open-note.

  • You can use online or printed notes, but online notes can’t be in a shared folder or google doc.
  • Collaboration with classmates during the test isn’t allowed.
  • CollegeBoard has software that will track your activity during the test, so you could face consequences even by unintentionally cheating.
  • Consequences include canceling your scores and notifying every college you send scores to.
  • Grammarly and any other extensions on your computer need to be disabled; they’ll interfere with the testing software and you’ll likely have to make up the test in early June.
  • You can find a 5-step checklist, a test demo, and some videos on rules and what you need to know for the AP tests on collegeboard.org.



SJUSD has switched to a pass/fail grading system instead of letter grades for the spring 2020 semester, which is raising some concerns among students and parents.

  • Pass fail grades won’t hurt your college admissions applications.
  • According to the UC admissions website, “UC has temporarily suspended the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in spring 2020 for all students”.
  • Colleges will likely look at your first semester grades for the 2020-2021 school year more closely. Juniors—don’t slip into senioritis too quickly!
  • SJUSD still expects students to keep completing their work at home if they’re able



Many colleges, including the UC and CSU systems and many privates, are switching to test-optional admissions. 

  • Widespread misconception: you can’t send your SAT scores into these schools. Untrue!
  • This just means that schools won’t look at you negatively if you don’t send your test scores; you can still send them if you want to
  • They’ll just look at your transcript (your grades and course difficulty) and other aspects of your application more closely.
  • Even though the June SAT is canceled, the August SAT and all test dates after that are still on if public health guidelines allow it. 
  • CollegeBoard is also adding a September 26th test date. In case public health guidelines don’t allow for in-person testing, CollegeBoard is developing an at-home SAT. 
  • Whatever happens, if you still want to up your SAT score to impress colleges, you should have the opportunity to do so.