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February 1, 2021

The College Board Reports the End of the SAT Subject Tests


The College Board just announced that SAT subject tests are discontinued, effective immediately in the U.S., and internationally in June 2021.


  1. The Why
  2. What do the Top Colleges say?
  3. What does this mean for you?

The Why

  • One reason behind the College Board’s decision to remove SAT subject tests is that most top colleges no longer require SAT subject tests.
  • What began long before the Covid 19, accelerated with the pandemic. Many students’ parents lost their jobs, making affording the test a more prevelant issue. Moreover, the logistics of taking the test safely were daunting (social distancing, sanitizing, liability).
  • Colleges as a general rule wish to “level the playing field,” allowing the poor and low resourced students the ability to compete with the rich and high resourced students. However, as parents lost jobs and their ability to afford the cost of standardized tests diminished, and as testing sites suspended tests, social inequity in the college application process expanded.
  • The abundance of AP Exams has also made subject tests less relevant.
  • As nearly 2 million students take the SAT each year pre-Covid, and only just over 219,000 take subject tests annually, the subject tests continue to be less relevant.
  • Furthermore, data shows that subject tests were not required at many of the school’s students applied to, or were accepted to.
  • Finally, subject tests represent a declining fraction of revenue for the College Board, further compelling their demise.

What do the Top Colleges say?

  • The Harvard School of Education’s Making Caring Common Initiative strives to promote a culture of fewer standardized tests so that students can enjoy being students more, lessening student stress, and lowering mental health issues.
  • With 154,000 students unable to test in October and 124,000 unable to test in December, colleges went to SAT test optional or test blind for 2020 – 2021.


What does this Mean for you?

  • AP exams will become more important.
  • Many colleges have suspended their requirements for the SAT & ACT in this cycle and the next (2021 – 2022).
  • Your passionate extracurriculars and impactful leadership outside of the classroom will become more important.
  • If you are registered for subject tests, the College Board plans to refund your fee.
  • For freshmen and sophomores, it is worthy to note that the College Board plans to create a more “modern” digital & streamlined test
  • Permanently suspending the subject tests means the AP exams, SAT and ACT will command more importance.


The Bottom Line


  • There is now one less thing for you to consider and worry about.