Big Changes Announced to the SAT®

The College Board is making changes to the SAT®s. Here’s everything you need to know.

SAT® Subject tests are phasing out.

If you’re a US student and you have signed up for any subject test, the test has already been cancelled. International students can still take the subject tests through June of 2021 because they often don’t have AP® exams available.

By doubling down on the AP® program, the College Board is signaling to colleges that they should rely more on AP® exams for admissions. This may be beneficial to students as taking an AP® course can directly help prepare for the AP® exam. However, the exam is only given once a year, so students have less chances to take it compared to SAT subject tests. Nevertheless, students who attend schools that don’t offer AP® exams will be disadvantaged.

The SAT® with essay is going away

While you may still take the SAT® with essay through 6/20/2021, we recommend against taking it because nobody in the fall is even allowed to take it, so colleges can’t require it anymore. Even before this change, many colleges didn’t consider the SAT® essay in admissions. In fact, top schools were mainly the only ones that cared about the SAT® essay.

Flexible SAT®

Recently, the College Board announced that they were releasing a  “streamlined, digitally delivered test that meets the evolving needs of students and higher education.” So far, it seems like only the delivery format of the SAT® may change, not the content. We predict that the College Board may start offering SAT®s in different formats, similar to the way ACT® currently does it. This means that we may begin to see computerized testing of the SAT® in select places.

The Good News

First, the seats of people taking SAT® subject tests will be freed up for students to take the SAT® exam. Additionally, we can expect the College Board to expand capacity for testing sites or adding even more testing sites to accommodate students if more tests are cancelled due to covid-19.

Other Implications

The AP® exam will even more so fall into the category of admission tests which means that even more students will take these exams. The College Board may even work to offer AP® exams for subjects that aren’t taught as AP® courses at their respective schools. Because AP® courses are designed to prep students for the specific exam, students in schools that don’t offer AP® courses are at a natural disadvantage. In regards to SAT® essays being discontinued, even more colleges may require applicants to submit a graded paper or an in-class essay.

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