Illustration by Andrew Lam

SAT subject test removal illuminates students’ true abilities

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College entrance exams were an integral part of the admissions process for over 100 years. The SAT was one of the flagship assessments, with subject tests being supplements to it. Recently, however, the College Board discontinued the SAT subject tests and SAT essay, which was a well-calculated decision. Now, there are more opportunities for admissions officers to consider students based on other key elements that make up their character. 

It is common knowledge that top-tier universities demand high standardized test scores, as they supposedly provide a measurement of students’ knowledge. However, on many occasions, students are judged solely on these numbers, which is irrational since the SAT subject tests are simply multiple-choice questions. This essentially means that students have the opportunity to guess the answer, failing to reflect their authentic knowledge of the subject and not applying the concepts that they learned. Suspending the exams enables officers to take a different approach with regard to the admissions process for future college applicants. 

SAT subject tests center around one specific subject. For students who are aware of their future career path, they are advised to take certain SAT subject tests. However, the SAT’s usefulness is called into question since they only determine a student’s mastery of one subject, when colleges instead seek well-rounded students. Since the exams have been excluded, colleges can stop disregarding the other elements of a student’s application that make them unique, like work experience and extracurricular activities. 

Some may argue that SAT scores allowed admissions officers to accurately gauge a student’s knowledge in a particular subject. On the contrary, the tests were inaccurate in representing a student’s capability because they prioritized the ability to work under stress over understanding. The SAT subject tests demanded that students complete 75 questions within an hour, which essentially left students with less than one minute to answer each question. While also considering the exam’s difficulty level, having less than a minute to answer each question intimidated students more. 

There are many other methods that can be used to measure a student’s knowledge, which serves to question the SAT’s usefulness. Hence, discontinuing the exams was a positive change for future college applicants because when it comes to the admissions process, students’ distinguishable elements are less overlooked rather than more. 

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