The SAT Test: News and Updates

Globe surrounded by the word news representing SAT subject test and essay news - image by Magoosh

The College Board, the makers of the SAT, has announced big changes to the test. As of 2021, both the optional SAT essay and SAT Subject Tests will be—or already are, depending on your location—discontinued. While these parts of the SAT aren’t required by all colleges and won’t affect every test-taker, here’s what you need to know.

Check out the video below, featuring a Q&A with our college admissions coach Tony and SAT test prep expert Erika, to learn more about what these changes mean for you.

Changes to the SAT Essay

  • The optional SAT essay will only be offered until June 2021 (though there may be some exceptions based on where you live).
  • If you’re currently registered for the essay: You’re good to go! You won’t need to do anything; just take the essay when the time comes. If you registered but decide to skip the essay portion, you can cancel it in your online account up until the registration deadline, without having to pay a change fee.
  • If you haven’t registered yet: You can still sign up for the SAT essay until the registration deadline. College Board recommends checking with your target colleges to see if the essay will still be useful to your application.
  • If you’re scheduled to take the SAT on a school day: Ask your school if the essay will still be part of the test. Keep in mind that in certain states, the essay is required—in those cases, the College Board will still let students take the essay even after June 2021.
  • If you already took the essay: Check with your target schools when submitting your SAT scores to see if they need your essay.

Changes to the SAT Subject Tests

  • SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued for U.S. students (effective January 2021). If you already registered for one after January, you’ll receive a refund from the College Board.
  • If you’re an international student living outside the U.S., you will have the chance to take any Subject Tests in May or June 2021 before these tests are gone for good.
  • Want to skip the SAT Subject Tests? Both U.S. and international students can request a refund by contacting the College Board.

We’ll be updating this article with the latest news about the SAT (including its push for a digital exam), so keep checking back! In the meantime, let us know what other questions you have about the changes to the SAT essay and SAT Subject Tests.


  • Christine Pasetes

    Christine is the editor of several Magoosh blogs, including Magoosh GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. She holds a B.A. from San Jose State University, where she specialized in editing, technical writing, and magazine publishing. Before joining Magoosh, Christine spent 6 years in edtech working with national publishers and educators to produce digital content for university students and K-12 learners. Her collaboration with Cengage and National Geographic Learning won a CODiE award for Best World Language Acquisition Solution. She's interested in user experiences and making accessible, engaging content for students at all stages of their study journeys. Connect with Christine on LinkedIn or Medium!

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