SAT Subject Tests are OUT, APs are IN! (2021)

09 MAR 2021

College Board, the organizing body which administers the SAT college entrance examinations, announced on Tuesday, January 19th that they will be discontinuing both the optional SAT Essay and the SAT Subject Tests from their standardized testing platforms, eliminating them entirely by the end of the summer of 2021.

College Board has recognized the implications of COVID-19 on standardized testing and college admissions and has decided to discontinue the subject tests and essay to reduce demands on students.

While the SAT measures students’ ability to demonstrate their understanding of evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) and math, the exam does not measure students’ ability to demonstrate their understanding of any other subjects… 38 to be exact! As subjects and areas of interest like computer science and economics grow, colleges and universities need a way to evaluate students in a standardized way. That’s when the APs come into play!

AP or Advanced Placement exams are being accepted and encouraged as a valid replacement to SAT Subject Tests. College Board CEO David Coleman said, “AP provides a much richer and more flexible way for students to distinguish themselves.”

“We’re reducing demands on students,” said College Board in the newly released statement. “The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.

“We’ve continued to enrich and expand access to AP courses, which let students showcase their skills through challenging coursework.”

The move to drop the optional SAT Essay and Subjects Tests follows a year of uncertainty in the testing process which saw many US colleges go 'SAT-optional'. The pandemic also highlighted the demand for online testing options - a subject College Board said it would provide more information on in April.

Crimson Education CEO, Jamie Beaton (graduate of Harvard and Stanford), explained that despite the elimination of SAT subject tests and the optional essay, standardized tests are definitely not going anywhere. If anything, standardized tests are becoming more important.

“There’s no doubt that online testing and quality online schooling, in general, is becoming more and more important in our current education landscape, and that its value and relevance will continue to post the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Beaton.

“Our online high school, Crimson Global Academy, uniquely offers AP classes for students all over the world — our dedication to eliminating the boundaries of geography and other obstacles caused by the pandemic being a key driver of our student offerings.

Mr. Beaton also notes that any change in standardized testing policy means other elements of the Common Application — most specifically the extracurriculars or ‘Activities’ section and students’ personal statements and supplemental essays — become even more important in the decision-making process.

“With applications to top schools on the rise, and changes in testing practices occurring, the other components of their application become even more powerful determining factors in admissions officers’ decisions,” said Mr. Beaton, a Harvard and Stanford graduate and Oxford Rhodes scholar.

“That’s why at Crimson we leave no stone unturned in the application process, with every student allocated a team of five or more experts dedicated to supporting them with every aspect of their application.

“Today’s changes prove just how important it is for students to get the advice and support they deserve.”

Experts at Crimson typically advise students not to submit any AP scores under a 3. Typically 3’s are considered borderline for top universities. Students should definitely submit their AP scores if they earned a 4 or 5. As for the SAT and ACT, it is quite dependent on the range of schools you are aiming for! For the Ivy League, you’ll want to shoot for at least a 1520 on the SAT and 34 on the ACT. For Top 30 universities, strive for at least a 1350. For top state schools, 1280 is a good target. Generally for the SAT and ACT, students never want to be below the 50th percentile of the distribution of the college or university they are applying to.

If a student has straight A's and has taken many rigorous AP courses, they have proven college readiness academically so the SAT is less critical. If you have a student who lives in a very competitive area or goes to a very competitive school and has some B's, it may be a result of how intense their school is so they may outperform most students on standardized tests who aren’t in as competitive programs! For students looking to get ahead and extend their education outside of their traditional classroom, check out Crimson Global Academy!

More about Crimson Global Academy

At CGA, we believe in a learning approach based on competency and maturity, not age. This means students are free to unlock their full potential in studying advanced coursework. In fact, over 40% of current CGA students are studying at an accelerated level.

CGA proudly offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses allow high school students to take classes at the US university level. They allow students to study 38 subjects in-depth and prepare them for college-level work. Most US universities recognize AP credit as college credit. The AP Program offers several awards for high achievement. Each year, over 2.8 million students take AP exams, with most students taking multiple APs during the course of their high school careers. AP is one of the most recognized curricula for top universities. Our CGA students are currently studying from: Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, UK, Ukraine, and the United States.

To learn more about Crimson Global Academy, click here!

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for environmental and social justice and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as the Community Outreach & Engagement Lead with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in California and enjoys reading, water polo, hiking, yoga, and traveling.