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Changes in the SAT exam: How do they impact your college admissions in US?

Posted on March 11, 2021
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The SATs have changed and this is what it means for you.

Most of the US universities last year decide to make the SAT test optional for student applicants due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now several colleges have decided to continue with this test optional policy in the next admission cycle for 2022 as well. This includes universities such as Cornell, Stanford, and University of California.

Another major change is that the College Board has officially announced two significant changes to the SAT. The SAT Subject Tests and the SAT optional Essay are being phased out. The SAT is going online. Students from outside the United States may still take the SAT Subject Tests in May and/or June 2021.Instead, the college board has decided to rely on the Advanced Placement Testor AP test which assesses the ability of a student to excel in a particular subject which us taught at the university level courses.

Talking of the decision, the College Board said, “We’re reducing demands on students. The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.”

What does this mean for Indian students?

The AP curriculum differs significantly from that of the state and other boards such as CBSE and ICSE. Unlike the SAT subject examinations, students would need a completely different level of training for the AP exams. Since APs only occur once a year, it can be challenging for students.

While preparing for the SAT subjects involve preparation for test on some defined skills, it is not the same for AP exams which involve learning material related to college level and specifically related to an AP course.

SAT Exam preparation concentrates on a specific set of skills. An AP test, on the other hand, requires mastery of college-level material unique to an AP course.

What should students do?

Grade 12 students should concentrate on SAT subject test attempts in May and June, as the format is being phased out, and current grade 12 students should take it now if they want to take the exam. Students in grades X and XI should begin studying for their preferred AP Exam, as their AP scores would be critical in proving their subject information to universities.

No SAT essay

With the removal of the SAT essay, it is possible that a more comprehensive Writing and Language section will be added to assess your grammar and proofreading abilities. Your college essays may become a more important criterion for evaluating your communication abilities.

Test-optional choice in colleges

This choice is effective not only in terms of easing the admissions process, but also in terms of improving the institution’s rankings. Let’s look at how this works:

When there are more candidates, the acceptance rate drops.

Only students with high standardized test scores will announce their results, inflating the schools’ average test score.

Role of the SAT/ACT in the application process

In addition to offering a clear evaluation of diverse global applicants, the Standardized Tests enable colleges to exclude and categorize applications before assessing them. They allow for a rational evaluation of reasoning abilities and aptitude. If you do plan to take the exam, students now have more options thanks to the test-optional scenario.

Despite the fact that more colleges are opting for test-optional admissions, many colleges will still need SAT/ACT scores. As a result, taking the SAT/ACT will give you more choices.

  • If you don’t have standardized test scores, your high school grades and profile will be taken into account.
  • To effectively compete with an applicant with excellent SAT/ACT test scores, your profile must be significantly stronger and more balanced.
  • Since SAT/ACT scores demonstrate your reasoning abilities, they are used to determine the majority of merit scholarships.

Overcoming the fear of SAT exam

Take a screening test for each test (ACT and SAT) to see not just what grades you’re receiving, but also whether you’re inspired to do better on these exams. You may be surprised to discover that you have a taste for excellence. And even if you don’t, you’ll have a better understanding of what these assessments are all about, as well as how and why they aren’t right for you.

Make an objective judgement on whether or not to take these standardized exams. Keep your options open and take advantage of the test-optional period to review and improve your submission.

Many of you who are confident in your test-taking abilities should take the test and apply the results, as it will add significant value to your application.

The changes in the SAT exam format may benefit you or otherwise based on how you accept them.

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