SAT Subject Tests and SAT Essay Discontinued

College Board has made two big announcements in the world of college admissions: for students in the US, both the SAT Subject Tests and the SAT essay writing section will be discontinued beginning this year.

Previously, there were 20 Subject Tests in five areas: math, English, science, history, and languages. Some colleges used the scores for admissions purposes, while other colleges used the scores for placement purposes; students might have been able to opt out of a language or be placed into a higher-level class based on their score. For the most part, many colleges didn’t use them at all. Any student who has already registered for Subject Tests will automatically have their registration cancelled and will receive a refund.

For the majority of students, the SAT Subject Tests caused a great deal of stress, especially during the pandemic.  Additionally, students taking AP classes saw the Subject Tests redundant to the AP tests. Eliminating the Subject Tests will simplify the college application process. On the other hand, homeschool students, international students, U.S. students wanting to study internationally, and students in schools that don’t have an extensive AP curriculum will be left with a void. College Board suggests that these students take their AP exams. However, AP exams are administered in a student’s school during the school day, and students who do not attend a school that administers the tests typically do not have access to sit for their exam. We will have to wait and see what the solution will be for these students.

College Board is also discontinuing the optional SAT Essay. Students can still take the SAT with the essay through the June 2021 SAT administration. If you are registered for the SAT with the essay this spring, you can cancel the essay portion for free. The SAT Essay had a lot of problems; many colleges did not find the essay scores useful or necessary for admissions, and as a result, many colleges stopped considering the essay in the admissions process. However, students still felt obligated to sit for the 50-minute essay even when colleges didn’t consider them. Now, students will no longer have to worry about this added stress. The elimination of the SAT Essay hurts those students who are good technical writers, however, as taking the SAT Essay in a controlled environment showed that the work was theirs and that they could write under pressure and without assistance.

Need help with getting your child ready for the SAT test? Click here for more information.

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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