College Board Drops the SAT Essay and Subject Tests

By Bradley Bennett

New York City, New York

The SAT Subject Tests were eliminated to “[reduce] demands on students" (Photo Credit: JCPS)

The College Board announced on Tuesday that it will no longer be offering the SAT’s optional essay section and SAT Subject Tests to prospective college applicants. International students will be granted two final administrations of subject tests in May and June before the tests are permanently terminated.


A message posted on the College Board’s blog claims that the decision to eliminate SAT Subject Tests was made to “[reduce] demands on students.” The COVID-19 pandemic and test cancellations also likely played a role in the Board’s decision.


“The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know,” the company wrote.


This announcement came after much discussion of the effectiveness of subject tests. Many students and college counselors had long complained about the extra time commitment of studying for one specific subject, especially given that many students took AP Exams in the same subject.


While terminating SAT Subject Tests may appear to ease the workload of prospective college applicants, many college counselors are skeptical.


Compass Education Group, a leading test prep and counseling group, wrote that “After celebrating the public relations win of today’s news, the College Board will continue doubling down on its efforts and investments to push AP further into the center of the industrial enterprise…”


If what Compass predicts comes to fruition, students may not feel the impact of the reduced demands that College Board advertised.


The College Board also announced the termination of the SAT Essay, an optional component of the SAT. Students already signed up for the SAT With Essay until June will be allowed to complete the essay portion of the test, but any test afterward will not feature an optional essay section.