College Board Jettisons SAT Subject Tests and Optional Essay

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The administrator of the SAT college entrance exam is scrapping an optional essay and eliminating subject tests that had been required by some U.S. schools.

The change announced Tuesday by the College Board is another example of how the Covid-19 pandemic has upended admissions. Many schools waived the standardized test requirement for admission, some permanently, as tests sites were closed to contain the spread of the virus.

The College Board had offered the specialized tests in a variety of subjects, such as physics, world history and literature. Some elite schools, including Princeton University in New Jersey, had already discontinued them. Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced last year it would no longer consider the tests for admission.

“The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students,” the New York-based nonprofit said in a statement.

The Washington Post reported the move earlier.

Students in the U.S. will automatically have their registrations canceled and receive refunds. Because subject tests are used internationally, the agency will administer them twice more this year outside the country.

The College Board made the much-despised essay optional in 2016.

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