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What the College Board’s Recent Decisions Mean for Students


On Tuesday, the College Board announced that SAT subject exams are cancelled going forward and that, effective June 2021, the SAT will no longer feature its optional essay.

What does this mean?

The elimination of subject tests heralds a shift to AP exams as the premier tests of specialized content knowledge, and the sunsetting of the SAT essay will focus colleges on students’ performance on the multiple choice sections of the SAT. In the long term, we anticipate that strength of schedule, grades, and AP exams will play a more prominent role in college admissions. 

How do these decisions impact students?

With the elimination of SAT Subject exams, we now recommend that students focus on AP testing, SAT/ACT testing, and grades to demonstrate their knowledge. 

My student is signed up for an SAT subject exam. What should I do?

With a few exceptions, SAT Subject tests align very well with AP exams. If your student is currently in an AP course and has planned to take both the AP exam and the SAT Subject exam, we recommend pivoting to a thorough AP preparation (5-8 sessions). 

My student is registered for a spring 2021 SAT with the essay component. What should we do?

Because students who’ve registered for the test with the essay component can opt to take the test with writing through the June ‘21 test date, some students may want to continue writing the essay, and others won’t. 

Students who prefer to cancel the optional essay portion of their SAT can do so in their online account, with no change fees, until the registration deadline.

As students plan for spring and fall, AJ is here to help!

AJ is proud to offer efficient AP test tutoring programs to help students with content and test-taking skills on challenging AP exams.

Spring or summer is a great time to take a 1-on-1 or small-group WASC-accredited for-credit course (including honors and AP classes, both of which offer weighted GPAs) at AJ through our partner school, High Bluff Academy.

AJ’s academic tutoring programs help students demonstrate mastery of their course material.

Many students opt to take summer primer tutorials to get a leg up on next year’s coursework.

As always, AJ is here to help you navigate the academic and test-taking maze!


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