New changes in the SAT

Zeynep T., Chief Reporter

The College Board announced the cancellation of their subject test and optional essays. All students who registered for the subject tests will get an immediate refund and students registered for the essay will be able to cancel them with no additional fees.

The optional essay, which was introduced in 2005, will be discontinued after the June SAT exam. 

According to the College Board website, “there are other ways for students to demonstrate their mastery of essay writing.”

As for the subject tests registrations for the test fell by 8% between 2016 and 2019, and further decreased in 2020 as a result of the closure of testing sites due to the pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tests in recent years have lost popularity with several colleges, as their ability in determining a students excellence in a subject has been put to question. 

Some students believe that a student’s extracurricular and grades on their resumes should certify their proficiency rather than a paid exam.

“One bad test day and your entire grade can be destroyed. If this one grade prevents you from your dream college, then that isn’t fair. Many students do not have the resources and thus can not perform as well,” said junior Scott S.

Additionally, the tests covered material that wasn’t always taught in schools, leaving some students to believe that they were unfair.  

“I don’t think it’s the best estimate since they ask a lot of questions we don’t learn in school,” said junior Siyang (Sally) M.

However, for some, it was a way to show their passion in a subject.

“The subject tests allowed me to show my abilities in the subject areas I excelled in. For example, I’m not the best in history but I enjoy science. My success in science wouldn’t be shown in my GPA but I could show it in the subject tests,” said junior Karen L.

In 2020, several top colleges such as MIT decided not to consider them for admissions. MIT’s admissions blog cited that their reason for this is to allow students to focus more on things that matter to them, especially during a public health emergency. In addition to that, not every student has access to the same resources to perform as well as their peers, with test scores often being compared to students’ race and wealth.  

The College Board released a statement saying that the widespread availability of AP courses for low income students and students of colors means that subject tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know. This means that more emphasis will be placed on GPAs and IB/AP exam scores. 

”I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference because I don’t think many people would take the subject tests even if they weren’t cancelled,” said Sally M.

But for some students, this means that there is one less thing to worry about. As many colleges adopt test-optional policies for the Subject Tests for 2021 and 2022 graduates, concerns have been raised regarding the fairness in admissions if colleges consider scores from previous years.

“I believe they should not be considered because consideration would give an unfair advantage to those that took the subject tests early on, “ said junior Robin H.

However, students who did take them earlier on, don’t want their efforts to go to waste. 

“I think they should maintain the optional score send policy for at least for the 2020-2021 admission because so many students have dedicated time and effort into preparing and taking these tests. They should be considered because it shows efforts by students with the resources available,” said Karen L.🔳