In early January this year, the College Board announced that it would discontinue the SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests. While this decision has already been implemented in the U.S., international students will still be able to sit for both these test components until June 2021. The rationale behind this move is to reduce academic demands on students and adapt to changing college requirements.
Students can now look to other alternatives to compensate for the admission requirements the SAT Essay and Subject Tests provided.
Subject Test alternatives
Advanced Placement (AP) tests are the main substitutes for Subject Tests, as they allow students to show their ability in a subject on a national, standardized scale in a similar way to Subject Tests. While the AP testing format is slightly different, the material covered is essentially the same as that in the SAT. For students who take Biology, Chemistry, Physics, U.S. History, and World History, AP exams will test at approximately the same level as their Subject Test counterparts. Students who were looking to take language Subject Tests will also find that the AP tests provide comparable equivalents.
However, not all Subject Tests have an AP equivalent. For example, AP Literature, Math I, and Math II test at a higher level, with additional test components and material. In addition, languages like Modern Hebrew and Korean have no AP equivalents.
There is no direct equivalent of the SAT Essay. What this ultimately means for students is an increase in the importance of other elements of your application. Spending more time on your application essays will allow colleges to get a gauge of your writing.
For students to whom the AP exams may not be accessible, you should directly contact the colleges you are applying to about what alternatives can be used in place of the now-defunct SAT Essay and Subject Tests. It also goes without saying that the SAT and your performance on school tests, including your overall GPA, will play a larger role in the admissions process.
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