SAT Subject Tests and essays Eliminated

By: Woodlands Test Prep | Published 02/01/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The College Board has announced that the optional essay will no longer be offered after the June SAT date.  Many colleges did not find the essay useful, and the existence of it added to the testing burden on students, both from a time and worry perspective and from a financial perspective.  Now we can confidently answer “no” when asked if a student should take the optional essay.  

Our advice: Unless you feel that the essay will showcase specific skills for your student, you can cancel any essay registrations with no fees for the March, May, and June test dates.  While ACT, Inc. has not made an official statement, we can presume that they will also (eventually) stop offering their optional essay.  

SAT Subject Tests

The College Board also announced the immediate cessation of Subject Tests.  Subject Tests added another testing burden that is now eliminated.  Students will be able to demonstrate their specific subject knowledge through AP testing.  Subject Tests’ popularity (and the number of colleges requiring them) has been waning over past years, while the number of AP tests administered continues to grow.  No further Subject Tests will be administered in the United States.  If you’ve already registered for Subject Tests, you can contact College Board for a refund or convert that registration to a regular SAT registration.

Our advice: If you were planning to take Subject Tests, take a look at taking an AP test instead.  More information on that option is below.  


A few details to note: 


It will take a while for college websites to be updated.  You can assume that no colleges will require the essay or Subject Tests for the Class of 2021 forward.

Some international programs (for example, some UK and Canadian colleges) have required Subject Tests.  It is not clear how those programs will adjust.

You can take an AP test even if you don’t take the class.  If your school offers that class, ask your school to take the test with those students.

Not all schools offer all AP classes/tests.  If you’d like to take an AP test that isn’t offered at your school (or if you are a homeschooler), you can check this web resource for schools that might accept outside test takers:  The deadline to register for May AP exams was moved back to March 12th due to the pandemic; there’s still time!


Overall, these changes are great news for students!  Please let us know any questions.  We love questions!

By: Susan Powers


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