3 Major Changes to the SAT

After the June 2021 test, the SAT will undergo significant changes. The changes focus on streamlining College Board’s suite of offerings by discontinuing what they consider redundant options and investing in greater flexibility and availability.

Learn how these changes could impact you and influence your plans for applying to college.

multiple choice standardized test

1. The optional essay has been discontinued.​

The June 5 test is the last time the SAT essay will be offered to the general public. While College Board maintains that writing skills are an essential component of college readiness, they argue that there are more avenues for students to demonstrate their skills, like the Writing & Language section of the SAT, application essays, and AP exams.

There is one exception to the discontinuation of the essay—it will continue to be offered in a very limited capacity, in select states where the essay is a requirement for school day administrations of the test.

2. The SAT Subject Tests have also been discontinued.

Much like the SAT essay, College Board is discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests after the June 5 test, citing greater opportunities for students to demonstrate their skills in specific subjects through AP exams. According to a statement from College Board, “the expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability for low-income students and students of color means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.”

3. College Board will offer greater flexibility and availability for the SAT.

The cancellation of the subject tests means greater availability of SAT tests in the near future. Slots that had been reserved for subject test takers will now be offered to SAT test takers.

Additionally, College Board has said it will consider adding more test dates in the fall, like it did in 2020, if “the pandemic continues to impact testing in the spring.” Since the pandemic has been a factor this spring, it is likely additional test dates will be offered.

In the early days of the pandemic, College Board had been working to quickly implement remote online test options, but that did not pan out. However, they are now working on a long-term solution to offer remote testing in the future, saying, “we are investing in a more flexible SAT—a streamlined, digitally delivered test that meets the evolving needs of students and higher education.”