Changes to SAT Subject Tests and the SAT Writing Section

Last updated May 17, 2021 

Recent News from the College Board

In a recent update the College Board announced the following: 

  • SAT Subject Tests are being eliminated effective immediately.  Given the fact that most colleges had already stopped requiring the SAT Subject Tests, the only surprise is the immediate suspension of these tests. Students who are registered for an SAT Subject Test will automatically have their registrations canceled and be issued a refund. With the elimination of the Subject Tests the College Board is planning an expanded emphasis on AP coursework and its ability to provide hands-on learning experiences with practical work as a way for students to demonstrate their academic abilities.
  • The SAT Writing (The Essay) will be eliminated after the June 2021 SAT. As with the Subject Tests this is an acknowledgement that colleges are no longer interested in having students complete this portion of the SAT. Colleges have a number of other ways to assess students’ mastery of essay writing. After June 2021, the essay portion of the exam will only be available in states where it’s required for SAT School Day administrations (for State accountability purposes). Students registered for the SAT with Essay this spring can cancel the essay portion at any time, free of charge, without losing their seat for the rest of the exam.
  • Expanded opportunity to take the SAT for the class of 2022. By eliminating the SAT Subject Tests immediately, the College Board will free up seats for students taking the SAT. In addition the organization is preparing to expand capacity for existing administrations and add administrations in the fall if the pandemic continues to impact testing this spring and summer.

To read the full College Board announcement click here.

What does this mean for your student(s)? In general it’s a positive change for students since it simplifies the college admissions testing process.

For the Class of 2023 (Juniors)

  • If your student is preparing for the SAT or ACT this spring he/she will have more time to focus on and prepare for that exam. There will be more seats available, and if it will open up additional testing dates for your student if he or she was planning to use one of the test dates for the SAT Subject Tests.
  • If your student is registered for AP exams this spring we recommended added focus on preparing for these exams. Note that you don’t have to be enrolled in an AP course to sit for an AP exam, but of course preparation is critical. Speak with the student’s guidance or college counselor to make a decision about taking the AP exams.  Note that A+ offers tutoring for AP exam preparation. Contact us to find out more.
  • Regarding the SAT Writing (Essay) section, students registering for an upcoming SAT exam should not register for the Essay portion. However if your student has already put significant effort into preparing for the essay, and feels confident in getting a good score, there is no need to cancel an existing registration.

For the Class of 2023 (Sophomores)

  • With no SAT Subject Tests or SAT Writing (Essay) the process of planning for college admissions testing will be simpler for current sophomores. However, with increased emphasis on AP exams, it is important to consult with your student’s guidance or college counselor to determine if taking AP courses make sense for your student. If your school does not offer AP courses we can provide an individualized program of instruction for your student so he or she can excel on the exam(s).

COVID has accelerated changes in college admissions testing and the college admissions process. Your student’s counselors will be a source of very important information for you next school year. We’re happy to help too! A+ will continue to provide you with up-to-date information as it becomes available and we are here to provide you with guidance. 

Feel free to give us a call at 215-886-9188 or send us an email and we can set up a time to discuss your student’s needs and help you and your family make a testing plan.


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