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Goodbye SAT Subject Tests and Essay, Hello AP Exams and SAT Revision

Written By: Scott Webster - Owner

What’s going on?

The College Board recently announced it would no longer administer SAT Subject Tests or the SAT Essay component of the SAT I. This shakes up the college admissions paradigm, so here’s what you need to know.

When will SAT Subject tests be removed?

All Subject Tests will be canceled immediately, barring international administrations in May and June 2021.

When will the SAT Essay be removed?

The Essay component of the SAT will no longer be offered after the June 2021 administration, with few exceptions at state and local levels.

Why Eliminate Subject Tests?

The short answer? The decline in demand. The long answer? A combination of marketing and political realities. The Collegeboard cites, “We’re reducing demands on students.” but the motives are likely not purely altruistic. Since 2000, enrollment in SAT Subject Tests has declined precipitously, while demand for AP tests has dramatically expanded. As the College Board grapples with the ongoing repercussions of COVID, it makes perfect sense that they would use this as an opportunity to redirect their focus to a service on the rise and to eliminate one on the decline, all while playing the compassion card.

Why Eliminate the Essay?

Eliminating the Essay component of the SAT falls in line with the College Board’s decision making to eliminate Subject Tests. The optional Essay was already losing traction in the eyes of admissions officers when students were submitting far more representative and compelling writing samples as part of their application.

What does this mean for students?

At the end of the day, I imagine most students read this announcement with optimism. Two fewer high-stress assessments to worry about? Great! For admissions officers, the response is likely more muted, as Subject Tests and the SAT Essay already played very minor roles in admission decisions. That said, it behooves students to actively seek out the position of their schools of interest.

What if I was registered for a Subject Test?

Any students registered for SAT Subject Tests in May or beyond will receive a notification of the cancellation of their test and a refund of the registration fee.

What if I was registered for the SAT Essay?

Again, you will have the option to take the essay component of the test through the June SAT administration. I encourage you to still take the test with the essay, just to establish another assessment benchmark. Just don’t place undue emphasis or pressure on your performance here.

Wrap Up

  • SAT Subject tests will no longer be administered, effective immediately.
  • The SAT Essay will no longer be offered beyond the June SAT.
  • The elimination of these two components of the College Boards testing suite means a greater emphasis on other services:
  • The PSAT, SAT, and AP Exams.
  • Expect these emphases to elevate the bar for performance and preparation academically.
  • Planning your course selection, especially APs, will be critical for your college application success.
  • As always, early planning and preparation is the key to peace of mind and a better future.

If you have questions or concerns about the PSAT, SAT, or ACT, or the college admissions process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at contactus@clayborne.com or 434-260-3180.

Scott Webster, Owner
Clayborne Education, LLC

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