Uncertainty looms for pupils hoping to study in US after SAT tests dropped
International students will have a last chance to sit the subject tests in May and June
Thousands of pupils in the UAE will be affected after SAT essay and subject tests were dropped by the College Board.
The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardised test widely used for university admissions in the US.
Each year, millions of pupils take the SAT – one of two standardised college admissions tests in the US, the other being the ACT, or American College Test.
Most universities in the US ask for a test score with the admission application.
It’s much easier to get three perfect scores in subject SATs than get a perfect score in the main SAT. These pupils would be at a disadvantage.
A good score can secure places at reputed universities and help to secure scholarships.
This week, the College Board in the US, which conducts the exam, said they would no longer offer SAT subject tests.
Subject tests are 20 multiple-choice standardised exams in English, history, languages, math, and science.
But international pupils will have a last chance to sit the test in its original format with essay and subject sections in May and June.
Pupils were permitted to submit scores of three subject SAT tests instead of sitting the main SAT exams.
This helped many who wanted to study a particular subject at university.
“It’s much easier to get three perfect scores in subject SATs than get a perfect score in the main SAT. These pupils would be at a disadvantage,” said Peter Davos, founder of Hale Education Group, a consultancy in Dubai that offers mentoring and admissions counselling to pupils.
“The reason the College Board has eliminated these exams is because Covid-19 made it very very difficult for them to administer the SAT in the US and globally.”
Mr Davos said many in the Emirates took subject tests. Removing the tests would make it difficult for them to prove their skills.
“They [The College Board] did this for business reasons but this is not the right move. There will be a gap for international pupils,” Mr Davos said.
While SATs measures a pupil’s fundamental skills, such as maths and reading, the subject tests gauge content knowledge in specific areas.
Mr Davos said subject tests were also eliminated because of logistical challenges.
“It has been very challenging logistically. Also, a decreasing number of pupils worldwide were sitting these tests,” he said.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discontinued subject tests in maths and either physics or chemistry from this year.
“The universities stopped requiring these tests but high-achieving pupils would take the exams and submit these scores,” Mr Davos said.
Many high achievers in the US sit the advanced placement exams, which last three-hours and are subject specific.
The College Board will also discontinue the optional SAT essay after the June test.
“Pupils in this part of the world did not like it, they did not enjoy it or see the point of it,” Mr Davos said.
The essay score was never integrated into the SAT score. A couple of years ago, many universities dropped the optional essay. Pupils registered for an upcoming subject test in the US will have their registration cancelled and fees refunded.
Updated: January 24, 2021 07:41 AM