One of the pieces of the college admissions puzzle that has seen the most uncertainty and adjustments in recent times is standardized testing. There have been many discussions surrounding whether or not these test scores will be required, or even accepted, as a part of the application. Also in consideration are various parts of the SAT standardized test, and whether or not the utilization of these sections will be continued. In addition, the future of how the tests will be taken has been discussed. At Cultivate, we like to ensure that students are as prepared and informed as possible when it comes to their academics. In order to accomplish this, and to set you up for success, we have compiled some updates regarding standardized testing and the SATs. If you have further questions, or would like to connect with a college admissions counselor, reach out today! 

Required or Not? 

You may have heard the terms “test blind” or “test optional” being tossed around more frequently in this past academic year. To explain briefly, both of these terms refer to approaches in application review. Test blind eliminates the inclusion of test results in applications, refusing to consider them as a factor in an admissions decision. Test optional presents the opportunity for the student to choose whether or not they include their test results in their application. Throughout the pandemic, many colleges and universities have shifted their approach to more closely align with one of these options. For a full explanation of what these mean and how they differ from each other, read our complete blog post on the topic

To Essay or Not To Essay? 

Another change that has occurred with the SAT standardized test is the phasing out of the optional essay section. This essay portion notoriously added 50 minutes to the rest of the SAT test, and was scored separately. Historically, approximately only half of students opted in to this optional assessment. Even prior to the pandemic, interest in taking this additional SAT section had continuously decreased. More colleges have begun to view the results of an essay test as being inaccurate of a student’s true academic potential, and have thus dropped the requirements for this score to be included on applications. As a result of this progression into phasing out the essay, it has been decided that it will no longer be offered, except in the states of Delaware and Oklahoma. 

While We’re on the Subject

In addition to eliminating the optional essay portion of the SAT, another oft-dreaded portion has already met its fate: the subject tests. These are the additional exams that were specific to certain subject matters and were considered supplemental to the main SAT test. Just as with the essay option, the popularity and usage of these tests had drastically declined. There are multiple reasons for this result, however, the most notable ones are the perception that these scores are inaccurate in displaying academic achievement, the understanding that these scores mostly served as extra credentials that simply pad applications unnecessarily, and they overlap the College Board’s AP tests that are much more definitive of a student’s abilities. Discontinuing this portion of the SAT test effectively streamlines and simplifies the journey into further education. 

Digital Revolution

Last, but not least, there has been mention of the potential to change the format of the main SAT test entirely. Instead of being completed on paper as it has been, there is consideration of moving towards a digital platform. While there has been no decision made on this, we will certainly be keeping it on our radars, and will keep you up to date and set up for success! 

If you would like more information about the changes in standardized testing, or would like some assistance with your college admissions process, connect with a counselor today! Let’s see how we can Cultivate success in your academic journey together.