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College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT Essay

College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT Essay

College Board announced a variety of changes to the SAT exams for the 2020-2021 school year.

Due to school closures and public health guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak, the College Board made changes to its SAT exam schedule for the 2020-2021 exam year. The College Board said it will ensure students have opportunities to take the SAT throughout the remainder of the year, but some testing centers are closed for this weekend's scheduled exam due to the fact that "Local schools and test centers make individual decisions about whether to administer the SAT," according to the College Board's website.

Find out if your testing center is closed for this weekend's exam on the College Board's website.

“We know students and educators are worried about how the coronavirus may disrupt the college admissions process, and we want to do all we can to help alleviate that anxiety during this very demanding time,” said College Board CEO David Coleman, in a press release. “Our first principle with the SAT and all our work must be to keep families and students safe. The second principle is to make the SAT as widely available as possible for students who wish to test, regardless of the economic or public health circumstances.”

Though many colleges and universities have announced they will waive the standardized testing requirements for 2021 applicants due to many high schools being closed and utilizing remote learning. Among these colleges and universities are Williams, Amherst, the University of California system, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston University, Vassar, Tulane, and more.

RELATED: Should My Teen Take the SAT or ACT?

Changes to the SAT Exams for 2020-2021

Coleman shared three ways the College Board is working to ensure the SAT is available for all students in the fall:

  • As long as it’s safe, from a public health perspective, the SAT exams will be administered each month through the end of the calendar year beginning in August. The currently scheduled weekend dates are Sept. 26, Oct. 3, Nov. 7, and Dec. 5. A test date will be added in January 2021 if there is a demand for it. In addition, the College Board is offering Fall SAT School Day tests on Oct. 14, with a makeup test date of Oct. 27. Plus, there are four SAT School Day tests planned for the spring, according to the College Board website.
  • The College Board will offer the opportunities to take the SAT during the school day this fall to replace the spring administration days that were canceled. “This is an important opportunity for the many students who take the SAT for free as part of state- and large district-sponsored programs. Specific information about state and district testing will be shared with our partners in the coming weeks so they may create their testing plans for students,” according to the press release.
  • In the event that schools remain closed in the fall, the College Board aims to provide a digital version of the SAT for at-home testing. Just like the organization is delivering digital Advanced Placement exams to students this spring, the College Board says it will ensure the at-home SAT test is simple, secure and fair, accessible to all, and valid for college admissions.

“Our commitment to students is to give them as many opportunities as we can to show their strengths to admissions officers, while relying on the guidance of public health officials,” Coleman added. “Throughout, we’ll continue to place a special focus on students benefitting from fee waivers and those requiring accommodations.”

As of Jan. 19, SAT Subject Tests will no longer be offered for students in the U.S., according to College Board. Students currently registered for an upcoming Subject Test will have their registration automatically canceled and fees refunded. Students should check colleges' websites to see if they will still consider students' Subject Test scores. 

The SAT Essay will also be discontinued after June 2021 administration. If you are a student who is already registered for an upcoming SAT with Essay, you can still take that test through the June 2021 administration. Students who are scheduled to take the SAT on a school day should check with their school about whether the Essay will be included. Despite elimination of the essay, writing is still essential to college readiness, says College Board, and the SAT will continue to measure writing and editing skills. 


RELATED: A Grade-By-Grade College Planning Timeline

Changes to the Advanced Placement Exams for 2019-2020

In addition to the above changes to the SAT, the College Board also made changes to the Advanced Placement exams for 2019-2020, offering the tests fully online in the spring (decisions have not been made for the 2020-2021 school year yet). The College Board said it surveyed 18,000 AP students to see if they still wanted the opportunity to take AP exams in the spring. “Their answer: a resounding yes,” according to the College Board website.

Changes for AP exams included:

  • They will be open book / open note, like many college-level exams.
  • Tests will be 45 minutes for most subjects, with an additional 5 minutes for uploading.
  • Students will be able to take exams on any device they have access to.
  • Students will be able to type and upload responses or handwrite responses and upload a photo.
  • Each subject’s exam will be administered on the same day, at the same time, worldwide.

For more information about ongoing changes to SAT and AP exams for the 2020-2021 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, visit

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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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