SAT 2021 Updates


The College Board announced many new developments that have been put in place to better the organization for students on Tuesday, Jan. 19. 


The announcement included the discontinuation of the optional essay component of the SAT as well as the subject tests that had been offered in the United States up until now. The organization has decided to move forward focusing on a new digital version of the SAT. This idea of a digital test is not new but was definitely expedited by the pandemic.


“The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to reduce and simplify demands on students,” College Board said.


Few colleges have required the optional writing portion of the SAT or the subject tests, though students could still submit them to supplement their college applications. The AP exams have become much more popular and do a better job at demonstrating mastery of specific 

subjects and, in some cases, providing college credit.


“Removing the subject tests can remove a barrier for students,” Ashley L. Bennett, director of college counseling at KIPP Sunnyside High School in Houston said.


For a while, there has been advocation for standardized testing to be eradicated. These particular parties are content with the decisions made by the College Board.


“I believe that standardized testing in general needs to be less emphasized in the college search process,” Bennett said.


Elizabeth Heaton, an advisor to families about college admissions at College Coach in Watertown, Mass, thinks the changes could help put some students on a more level playing field. 


“For students who aren’t getting great advising, it is nice to see that they haven’t been eliminated from competition just by virtue of not having a test that they may not have known about,” Heaton said.