College Board permanently discontinues SAT Subject Tests, essay portion of SAT

On Tuesday morning, the College Board announced the discontinuation of all 20 SAT Subject Tests, effective immediately for U.S. students, as well as the SAT essay, effective after June 2021 for U.S. students.  

For American students registered for upcoming SAT Subject Tests, the tests have already been canceled and the fees refunded. And, while there are now no more opportunities to take the SAT Subject Test for students in the U.S., it is still up to each college to decide whether or not they will consider the SAT Subject Test during admissions. Many colleges, however, have already pledged to be test-blind due to testing limitations brought on by the pandemic.

Students may take the SAT Essay until the June 2021 testing dates, after which that portion of the test will be abolished. Again, colleges will decide whether or not they consider the SAT Essay during admissions, and score sending services will remain open. 

According to the College Board, the reason that these two testing options have been dropped is because they are now becoming obsolete. SAT Subject Tests, originally a secondary option to display proficiency in a particular field, are now overshadowed by Advanced Placement (AP) tests, which are also offered by the College Board. According to the organization, as AP course offerings expanded from select high schools to the vast majority of high schools, SAT Subject Tests are now no longer useful, and only serve to pile pressure onto high school students. Similarly, the College Board has deemed the SAT Essay obsolete; according to a statement released by the organization, “students… have other, more relevant opportunities to show they can write an essay as part of the work they’re already doing on their path to college.”