SAT Subject Tests Are Cancelled. What Should You Do Now?

SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT STs) have long been part of the college admissions process, especially for students seeking entry into selective schools.

All that changed recently, when College Board, the organization that runs the SAT and SAT Subject Tests, announced it was making some revisions to its testing offerings.

The first of two big changes is that the SAT will no longer have an optional essay section.

The second is that SAT Subject Tests will be discontinued in the United States, effective immediately. SAT Subject Tests will be administered for international students through June, and will then be discontinued altogether.

What does these developments mean for juniors going through the college admissions process?

How to Apply Without SAT Subject Tests

First, it’s important not to panic. Yes, SAT STs have been a way for students to differentiate themselves at selective schools in the past. However, keep in mind that all students will be in the same boat here, and schools will be adjusting their admissions evaluation processes accordingly.

We’ll continue to keep you apprised of updates, but here’s what your student can do immediately to accommodate for these changes:

  • Double down on the SAT or ACT. With less emphasis on additional SAT Subject Tests, colleges may look more closely at a student’s SAT or ACT test scores. Additional time not spent on SAT STs can be dedicated to whichever test the student chooses (keeping in mind that we recommend taking only the SAT or ACT). We still recommend taking the SAT or ACT for almost all students.
  • Sign up for AP Exams. If your student is enrolled in AP courses, they should make sure to sign up (and study for) the corresponding AP exams. These tests, like SAT STs, can help students stand out academically. As of 2021, some AP exams are take-home/online and others are administered in school. Check with College Board for the most current information in your area.
  • Look at college apps holistically. Now that students have fewer testing options, it’s that much more important that they pay attention to the other parts of the college application. Test scores have never been the end-all, be-all to college admissions: recommendations, personal essays, and even activity lists all play a role in conveying different aspects of your student’s identity. Your goal should be a well-rounded college application.

If your student could use some help with the college application process, from test prep to writing an amazing essay, Signet can help. Our college admissions team includes former admissions officers who can help you understand what a great application needs to have.

Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

More Resources