College Board Eliminates SAT Subject Tests Permanently

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

SAT_subject_testsSAT Subject Tests and the Essay Section of the SAT are Gone for Good

The College Board announced that it is discontinuing SAT Subject Tests permanently, as well as revamping the current SAT exam to eliminate the optional essay section.

This comes after a tumultuous 2020 testing season, with limited testing options and most colleges going test-optional for the 2020-21 application season due to COVID-19. SAT Subject Tests were already on the decline, with only a handful of colleges and universities requiring or “strongly recommending” SAT Subject Test scores as part of an application before the pandemic.

What does this mean for admissions?

Simply: it’s one less test students have to worry about.

“Not too long ago, many colleges still required the Subject Tests as part of their application evaluation process, but over the last few years, the role of the Subject Tests in the US university admissions process has diminished significantly,” said Christine, IvyWise Premier College Admissions Counselor and former Assistant Director of Admissions at Yale and Georgetown – one of the last schools to drop the SAT Subject Test requirement.

While submitting an SAT Subject Test score in a subject of interest is one way to signal a specialty to a college, it has never really “tipped the scales” for students. In short, an SAT Subject Test score might reinforce an application, but it’s never going to make someone an automatic “admit.”

“The grade they are earning in the class day in and day out, from doing the work, taking care of business, preparing for quizzes and tests, those grades speak much more volumes about a student’s work ethic and potential than one 60 minute multiple choice test,” said Katie, IvyWise College Admissions Counselor and former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at MIT.

What if I’m registered for an SAT Subject Test?

If you are in the US: Your registration will be canceled and you will be provided a refund.

If you are an international student: The College Board will provide two international SAT Subject Test administrations in May and June of 2021. However, if you don’t wish to take the exam, you can call to cancel your registration.

What happens to my SAT Subject Test scores?

If you’ve already taken an SAT Subject Test, you will still have access to your scores. However, colleges will decide individually if they will accept/consider them as part of the admissions process moving forward. You should check with each college on your list if they plan to accept SAT Subject Test scores.

What about the optional essay on the SAT?

Students will be able to take the optional essay section of the SAT through the June 2021 administration. After that the essay section will be eliminated altogether, except for in states where the essay is required as part of SAT School Day administrations. Many see this as a hopeful sign of making the testing process more equitable and lifting a burden for many college-bound students.

From IvyWise Counselor Katie: “Since the separation of the essay as an optional section back in 2016, there has been an added cost for students to take the test with the essay. For something that has not held much sway in the admissions process, this has put undue stress on low-income students who don’t qualify for a fee waiver or have used up their two fee waivers to have to make the choice to spend those precious dollars on the essay thinking it is a worthwhile expenditure, when in reality, save for a few schools, it is superfluous.”

If you are registered for the SAT with the optional essay portion, and you wish to cancel the essay section, you can cancel for free at any time.

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