SAT alterations: no more subjects tests immediately, no more optional essay come June, 2021


As the class of 2022 is in the midst of preparing for the SAT, the College Board announced some changes to the test. Not only will the optional essay be omitted this year after June 2021, but they will also stop offering SAT subject tests immediately.  

Amongst a year of unpredictable events, students’ daily lives were forced to be modified and large gatherings, such as the SAT, were put on pause.  College Board announced the shut down of testing centers, which caused many in the class of 2021 to worry about their testing options.

The College Board recognized the infringement upon the class of 2021 and 2022’s testing chances, so in return, they increased the regular amount of testing dates once they were able to open back up. This allowed the senior class to squeeze in their last SATs just before deadlines to apply to colleges. However, as other large events began to open back up, such as schools and restaurants, COVID-19 cases began to increase again, resulting in many of SAT cancellations.

As all of this chaos continued into the prime testing time of the class of 2022, the College Board made the executive decision that an increase in testing dates was not enough to accommodate for the hard times. In January of 2021, they announced that they will no longer be offering the optional essay or the SAT subject tests. 

The New York Times explains in their article, “Big Changes to the SAT,” that critics argue this decision “was almost certainly driven by financial consideration.” However, the College Board Blog explains in their article, “College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT with Essay,” that it has all been done “to reduce demands on students.”

For some, this may come as a blessing, seeing that an almost four-hour test has just been minimized. Those who are faced with testing anxiety are surely experiencing a sigh of relief, along with those who have multiple AP exams this spring. On the other hand, The New York Times article, “Big Changes to the SAT,” brings in the factor that “a greater focus on A.P. scores may only increase pressure on high school students.”

The SAT subjects tests have been discontinued for all students in the U.S.  International students can still take the SAT subjects test in May and June.  All U.S. students will receive a refund for the SAT subjects test.  The optional essay is still available until June, 2021.

The decisions of the College Board regarding the SAT alterations are definitely a controversial topic, but nonetheless, they have been finalized. Colleges are now one step closer to discarding the requirement of standardized testing scores.