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College Board Cuts Optional SAT Essay and Subject Tests

As of January 19th, the College Board has decided to discontinue the subject tests and the optional essay portions of the SAT. The ban will be effective in United States now, but will take effect internationally in June of 2021. Students currently registered will have their registration canceled, and fees refunded automatically. Students outside of the US will have until June 2021 to take the test with the subject tests and the essay portion. The College Board says they want to continue to adapt to our ever-changing environment and stay up to date on what is best for the students. 

SAT Subject Test practice books courtesy to

Is this a sign of other changes to come with College Board? Through this new alteration, it is evident the organization recognizes that students test in various ways. It has been proven that there are 7 different types of intelligence by psychologist Howard Gardner; will the College Board come to include testing those other types sometime soon? The College Board and SAT tests are notorious for limiting students, basing their scores on whether or not they test well. Could this be the first change on the path to a more forward-thinking and inclusive way of testing students’ knowledge base? 

However, not all students jumped with joy after hearing about the cancellation of the essay and subject tests. The essay was a chance for people who were not strong in other areas to gain more points; could this inhibit future test takers from scoring their highest? What does this mean for the future of the SAT, the College Board, and the lives of high school and college students? 

There have been other rumors of more possible changes to the SAT to make it more accessible and flexible in the quarantine bubble we currently live in. Hopefully, this can mean more convenience for those who need to take the test but aren’t able to go in person. The College Board has said they have a plan for a “streamlined digitally delivered test” to help on the path to accessibility. All we can hope for further improvements and changes within the SAT and College Board world. 

By: Alex Gallagher ‘23, Staff Writer

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