College Board makes changes to SAT

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Photo courtesy Dylan Taylor

Junior Dylan Taylor practices for the SAT.

As students and colleges are adjusting to the new normal, so is the College Board, who has recently announced changes to the SAT. There will no longer be SAT subject tests or the SAT with the optional essay. 

The SAT subject tests have been discontinued in the United States. They will be discontinued internationally after June 2021. The SAT essay will also be discontinued after June 2021.

The College Board is discontinuing the SAT subject tests in reaction to lower student demand. Students get a chance to show their subject area knowledge through AP testing. With the large number of AP classes that are available and that students take, they already have the chance to show what they know.

Junior Ellie Metz has concerns with the subject test changes. “I am mostly relieved of these changes, but I also feel that there might be more pressure on the AP tests now that there are no subject tests,” Metz said.

This change simply streamlines the process for students who have other, more relevant opportunities to show they can write an essay as part of the work they’re already doing on their path to college.”

— College Board

The optional essay portion is going away in order to further adapt to the new reality with students and colleges. The optional essay portion has been an opportunity for students to put their writing skills to the test where they were asked to analyze a text and show how they understood a passage. In an article written by College Board, they said “This change simply streamlines the process for students who have other, more relevant opportunities to show they can write an essay as part of the work they’re already doing on their path to college.” 

Junior Katelyn Cheng has been studying for the SAT and has mixed feelings about the changes. “I didn’t really care much about the subjects, but as for the essays, I feel relieved that the College Board is taking it away. I’m not much of an essay writer so it’s a win-win for me, however I do think this could increase more competition with other students since there will be no more essays,” Cheng said. 

An article from Inside Higher ED points out the involvement of the pandemic. “The pandemic– and the pervasive adoption of temporary test-optional or test-blind policies–gave them permission to eliminate the requirement. And I believe a large number of institutions will not return to requiring it,” the article said.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been changes in the college process. A number of colleges became test-optional or test blind. The College Board, much like the rest of the world, is adjusting their ways and trying to establish a new normal.