As more and more students every year aspire to attend top universities like Harvard, Princeton, and MIT, the number of coveted acceptance letters will disappear – but thankfully, so will SAT subject tests and the essay-writing part of the SAT.
SAT Subject tests have been losing popularity for years. They are essentially hour long, multiple choice tests that cover 21 core and supplemental subjects. Although fewer schools have been requiring them every year, in order to stand out to admissions officers at prestigious universities like Stanford or Georgetown, the academic scholar would have to take 2-3 in order to mildly impress the council. The maximum score on each SAT Subject test was 800.
The regular SAT, a 3 hour test, has one math section, and one evidence based reading and writing section. Each is up to 800 points, with a maximum composite score of 1600.
“The optional essay adds 50 minutes to the main test. Its score is reported separately and does not factor into the main score. About 1.2 million students in the Class of 2020 took the SAT with the essay — more than half of all who took the exam.”The Washington Post
“The tests also have seemed in some ways to overlap with the College Board’s Advanced Placement testing program. AP tests, which are longer and include free-response questions, have proliferated in recent years. So a student who scored well on an AP calculus test, for example, might wonder why it would be necessary to also take an SAT subject test in math.”The Washington Post
The CollegeBoard claims that they will make the test more streamlined and flexible. They also plan to give the option for students to take the exam online as opposed to paper.
So, why did the Collegeboard eliminate these portions?
In their official statement about dropping the SAT Essay test, the College Board acknowledged how hard circumstances have been for high school students because of the pandemic. The College Board explains that by dropping the SAT Essay, they’re helping to “reduce demands on students” both now and in the future.prepscholar.com
Although this may seem sincere, the College Board may also have done this for different reasons. Journalist Akil Bello says that most universities don’t require SAT Essay scores as part of their “holistic” admissions process, meaning that the SAT Essay has been optional for most college-desiring students.
For this reason, many students had already called it quits on taking the SAT Essay; in 2020, a mere 57% of SAT test takers took the essay portion as well. Perhaps this suggests that the College Board could have eliminated the SAT Essay for financial and practical reasons as well.
If the colleges you’re applying to never required the SAT Essay, this difference shouldn’t really affect you. The specific admissions processes at the schools aren’t truly changed by the new policies, so your chances of acceptance are the same as before this change.