Should I take the SAT Essay?

Up until the big announcement in January, my answer was always affirmative; now, things are different.

In January 2021, The College Board announced that the SAT Essay will be phased out in summer 2021; any students who are taking the SAT up until June can choose the optional Essay section, but it will no longer be offered nationally after that. (However, certain school districts that require students to take the SAT in school may still require the Essay section, so check with your district.)

What does this mean for you? Should you take the optional Essay section to showcase your writing skills? Or should you skip it and enjoy 50 extra minutes of sweet freedom and one less topic to prep for? 

Your gut probably told you the answer. Which of those sentences sounds like you? Are you a confident writer eager to crack your knuckles and scribble down some AP Language-level rhetorical analysis? Or does skipping the 50-minute writing task feel like a lead weight being lifted off your shoulders?

Time will tell how colleges weight the SAT Essay from this school year, but my guess is that it will not be viewed as especially important. The SAT Essay has long been seen as the least important section of the test, and that is even more true now that The College Board is phasing it out.

In my opinion, a very high Essay score would help your application, so if you think you can pull it off, by all means, go for it. However, if skipping the Essay will free up your time and energy to bring up your main scores (Evidence-Based Reading/Writing and Math), you may want to skip it.

This is Mind the Blog, the official blog of Wilmington, Delaware tutoring company Mind the Test. We aren’t affiliated with the SAT or ACT, but we think they’re pretty interesting when you look at them right.

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