College Board Is Scrapping the Essay Section and Subject Matter Tests From SATs

Looking to streamline the standardized test.

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The College Board recently announced major changes to the SAT standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States.

In a statement regarding “An Update on Reducing and Simplifying Demands on Students,” the Board revealed that it is scrapping the optional essay section and subject matter tests for students in the U.S. Noting that the changes were pushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, “The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to reduce and simplify demands on students.”

Going on to highlight increasing access to AP courses has made optional SAT subject tests “no longer necessary for students to show what they know.” While new “ways for students to demonstrate their mastery of essay writing” has made the essay section redundant.

Following two final SAT subject tests in May and June 2021 for international students, U.S. students that signed up for subject tests set for later this year will be refunded. The essay section will still be available in states where it’s required for SAT School Day administrations for accountability purposes, but students registered for the essay section this spring can cancel the portion now.

It is also important to note that these changes are part of a larger conversation of how the SAT can be “streamlined” and ultimately “digitally delivered” if the Coronavirus “continues to impact testing this spring.”

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