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The Uncertain Future of Standardized Testing

By: Haanya Quadri

Almost every high school student is familiar with the painstaking process of taking the SAT or ACT: the hours upon hours of preparation, the building anxiety, the last-minute cramming in order to remember that one formula just in case there is a question about it. However, it looks like future students may have a slightly different, and possibly even better, experience taking standardized tests.

In March of 2021, the College Board announced that SAT subject tests and the essay portion of the SAT will not be offered this year. This major change comes with many implications, but it was most likely induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many testing sites to close and countless colleges and universities to switch to a test-optional or test-blind approach. Much of the higher education system had already made standardized testing optional at the start of the pandemic, and the new announcement definitely encouraged many institutions, even the competitive ones, to keep it that way.

But what does this mean for us as students? In the first place, taking the SAT will be less stressful for all students, without worrying about the essay portion of the SAT or any subject tests, which were previously required for many competitive schools. However, these changes may also come with the implication that other factors will be more heavily weighted in applications. For example, many schools may place more emphasis on college essays, extracurricular activities, and grades. Therefore, colleges will most likely highlight the importance of high school transcripts and even AP exam scores.

Even though there are many new changes effective now, there will surely be many more to come in the future. Many speculate that standardized tests may decrease even more in importance, while others assert that these tests will eventually die out and not be used to determine whether students get admitted into colleges.

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