As many of you have undoubtedly heard at this point, the SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued effectively immediately and the SAT Essay will be discontinued after June 2021. Although this news may appear sudden and drastic, we wanted to let you know that, in fact, not much has changed with regard to standardized testing for college admissions. No major schools in the U.S. have traditionally required the SAT Essay (other than the University of California, which became fully test optional for in-state students last year) and very few schools required or even recommended the SAT Subject Tests outside of certain elite institutions like MIT, Penn, and Georgetown. Even for those schools, SAT Subject Tests have typically not played nearly as significant a role as grades, SAT/ACT scores, application essays, teacher recommendations, and extracurricular activities, so it’s a good thing that students will have one less set of examinations to worry about, especially in the middle of a pandemic. In addition, the College Board has not updated many of these exams for years (some even still require bringing a Discman to the test center!) so their discontinuation was probably inevitable, even if it was accelerated by the current crisis.
What does this mean for students? First, it means that the only standardized testing that students will need to worry about for college admissions is the SAT and ACT, and these scores will likely now be of more importance at institutions that previously cared a great deal about the Subject Tests since there will be fewer other data points. This news also means that, since SAT Subject Tests will no longer be available as an option for students to demonstrate their mastery in specific subjects, they may want to look into taking more AP and CLEP Exams (both offered by the College Board) even if their schools do not follow the AP Curriculum. 4’s and 5’s on APs can be a great addition to your college application. Furthermore, both AP and CLEP Exams confer actual college credit at many institutions, meaning that students can place out of boring, introductory level coursework or even graduate early and save on tuition.
Also, for students who have already achieved great scores on their SAT Subject Tests and are upset by this news, DO NOT WORRY. Any school that accepted SAT Subject Test scores prior to this announcement still likely will for your admission cycles, so you should go ahead and include any scores that you think burnish your resume and make you a stronger applicant.
Please reach out if you have any questions about these policy changes. And, of course, please do contact us if you need any assistance with the SAT/ACT, AP/CLEP Exams, or any other subject. We are here to help!