SAT Essay Portion Cancelled. Will USMA still require?

Acti0nJackson

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So CollegeBoard is ending the SAT essay starting in June. Do you think USMA will remove the essay portion requirement? I'm a junior in High School and already took the SAT without the essay before I started thinking about West Point. I would rather not take it again given that I already have a good score.
 

txfwindian

Parent of USNA C/O 2025
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Maybe they will want an ACT essay instead
In that case SA are directing potential candidates to take a certain test. This in my limited experience is not feasible. Some kids do good on SAT and some on ACT. This directive may put some at a disadvantage. Let’s see what happens for next cycle.
 

Army Vet & WPFF

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At this time Admissions does not plan on waiving any writing requirement for Class of 2026 cycle. Try to get to a SAT site (even out of town) or take the ACT. You should be taking both tests anyway to see which one plays to your strengths. With test scores such an important part of the Whole Candidate Score, it is recommended candidates take both test at least 2 times.
 

Korab

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In that case SA are directing potential candidates to take a certain test. This in my limited experience is not feasible. Some kids do good on SAT and some on ACT. This directive may put some at a disadvantage. Let’s see what happens for next cycle.
Some kids do well on the essay portion and some kids don't. Doesn't that put some kids at a disadvantage? Smart kids do well no matter what test they take.
 

MCA

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Some kids do well on the essay portion and some kids don't. Doesn't that put some kids at a disadvantage? Smart kids do well no matter what test they take.
I would lean away from saying “smart kids do well no matter what test they take” and instead say “prepared applicants do well no matter what test they take”.

Someone who practices the SAT will improve regardless of “how smart” they are. The SAT and ACT are really tests of how much a candidate prepared and studied. With or without the essay, any candidate can get a good score. You don’t need to be “smart” to get a good score on the test.

But yes, gifted students or “smart kids” can do relatively well with little to no study *sigh* 😂
 

Korab

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I would lean away from saying “smart kids do well no matter what test they take” and instead say “prepared applicants do well no matter what test they take”.

Someone who practices the SAT will improve regardless of “how smart” they are. The SAT and ACT are really tests of how much a candidate prepared and studied. With or without the essay, any candidate can get a good score. You don’t need to be “smart” to get a good score on the test.

But yes, gifted students or “smart kids” can do relatively well with little to no study *sigh* 😂
That's why I would advocate for a limit on taking these tests and the elimination of super scoring - when kids take it 6 or 8 or 10 times, you can't accurately use the result to rack and stack applicants anymore. Instead, you are seeing how well kids can prepare for and game a series of tests, and comparing those results against kids who don't have the resources to the same, or who scored so high the first time that they can't improve their score to any significant extent (or not at all), and have no incentive to attempt to do so. Since the top score is capped, it diminishes or eliminates the separation between the truly super smart kids and the ones who game the test. Not to mention how it exacerbates socioeconomic and racial inequities in test results. Place a limit of two test attempts per person and the tests will more accurately reflect the variance in these kids.
 

OldRetSWO

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That's why I would advocate for a limit on taking these tests and the elimination of super scoring - when kids take it 6 or 8 or 10 times, you can't accurately use the result to rack and stack applicants anymore. Instead, you are seeing how well kids can prepare for and game a series of tests, and comparing those results against kids who don't have the resources to the same, or who scored so high the first time that they can't improve their score to any significant extent (or not at all), and have no incentive to attempt to do so. Since the top score is capped, it diminishes or eliminates the separation between the truly super smart kids and the ones who game the test. Not to mention how it exacerbates socioeconomic and racial inequities in test results. Place a limit of two test attempts per person and the tests will more accurately reflect the variance in these kids.
True but many high schools today have "SAT Prep" incorporated into the curricula and plenty of parents have their kids do Test Prep/tutoring before they sit for their first test.

Back in the dark ages (70's) we just went and took the test. Blind, no prep in the schools or tutors, we just took it. My parents attitude was "if you're good enough for USNA (or college), your scores will be show it".
 

MidCakePa

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Back in the dark ages (70's) we just went and took the test. Blind, no prep in the schools or tutors, we just took it. My parents attitude was "if you're good enough for USNA (or college), your scores will be show it".

Back in the dark ages, we took the SAT/ACT only once! Thought never crossed my mind that I’d want to take it twice or thrice. Once was bad enough!
 

MidwestDad

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Some kids do well on the essay portion and some kids don't. Doesn't that put some kids at a disadvantage? Smart kids do well no matter what test they take.
USMA English dept requires intensive writing and composition skills. If kids are disadvantaged on a standardized test they will be disadvantaged in USMA classes as well. Thus the essay test as a screening tool for predictive success at USMA. As has been said on these forums the USMA English department wouldn't consider Hemingway up to snuff for cadet writing requirements . . . If your essay skills are lacking you will be behind the ball plebe year.
 
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That's why I would advocate for a limit on taking these tests and the elimination of super scoring - when kids take it 6 or 8 or 10 times, you can't accurately use the result to rack and stack applicants anymore. Instead, you are seeing how well kids can prepare for and game a series of tests, and comparing those results against kids who don't have the resources to the same, or who scored so high the first time that they can't improve their score to any significant extent (or not at all), and have no incentive to attempt to do so. Since the top score is capped, it diminishes or eliminates the separation between the truly super smart kids and the ones who game the test. Not to mention how it exacerbates socioeconomic and racial inequities in test results. Place a limit of two test attempts per person and the tests will more accurately reflect the variance in these kids.
My ds was definitely at a disadvantage and he studied to make up for it. Both times he hit the averages in reading and the second time he hit the average in math. He knew he needed more math anyway if he was going to be successful in calculus at a SA. The SAT is not testing something irrelevant. The schools are not requiring a 1600, you don't have to be a test star, can miss some and still achieve the averages needed.
I know of a young man who while in prison studied math and achieved a higher level in math during lockdown, no teacher. Is it a heck of a lot harder than being 13 to 17 in a suburban high school and parents pay for a tutor twice a week? Yes of course it is, but what they are testing is attainable by someone with normal intelligence and who can spend some time on it.
You can find old edition college Basic Math to Calculus III books dirt cheap on Amazon, thrift stores, and if they have internet there are programs for math too for a reasonable monthly fee.
I'm not saying it is the same, of course it is not, but I know it is attainable by a young person with normal intelligence.
 

Korab

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USMA English dept requires intensive writing and composition skills. If kids are disadvantaged on a standardized test they will be disadvantaged in USMA classes as well. Thus the essay test as a screening tool for predictive success at USMA. As has been said on these forums the USMA English department wouldn't consider Hemingway up to snuff for cadet writing requirements . . . If your essay skills are lacking you will be behind the ball plebe year.
your sarcasm detector is broken.
 

Korab

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My ds was definitely at a disadvantage and he studied to make up for it. Both times he hit the averages in reading and the second time he hit the average in math. He knew he needed more math anyway if he was going to be successful in calculus at a SA. The SAT is not testing something irrelevant. The schools are not requiring a 1600, you don't have to be a test star, can miss some and still achieve the averages needed.
I know of a young man who while in prison studied math and achieved a higher level in math during lockdown, no teacher. Is it a heck of a lot harder than being 13 to 17 in a suburban high school and parents pay for a tutor twice a week? Yes of course it is, but what they are testing is attainable by someone with normal intelligence and who can spend some time on it.
You can find old edition college Basic Math to Calculus III books dirt cheap on Amazon, thrift stores, and if they have internet there are programs for math too for a reasonable monthly fee.
I'm not saying it is the same, of course it is not, but I know it is attainable by a young person with normal intelligence.
you missed the point of my post entirely.
 

Korab

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True but many high schools today have "SAT Prep" incorporated into the curricula and plenty of parents have their kids do Test Prep/tutoring before they sit for their first test.

Back in the dark ages (70's) we just went and took the test. Blind, no prep in the schools or tutors, we just took it. My parents attitude was "if you're good enough for USNA (or college), your scores will be show it".
Many high schools incorporate standardized testing prep into their curriculum? That hasn't been my experience. Maybe if they spent more time teaching core materials and less time teaching how to take a test the scores would improve.
 

Hoppy

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Many high schools incorporate standardized testing prep into their curriculum? That hasn't been my experience. Maybe if they spent more time teaching core materials and less time teaching how to take a test the scores would improve.
Yea its annoying, I dont want to know better strategies I just want to know how to do the problems lol
 

A1Janitor

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That's why I would advocate for a limit on taking these tests and the elimination of super scoring - when kids take it 6 or 8 or 10 times, you can't accurately use the result to rack and stack applicants anymore. Instead, you are seeing how well kids can prepare for and game a series of tests, and comparing those results against kids who don't have the resources to the same, or who scored so high the first time that they can't improve their score to any significant extent (or not at all), and have no incentive to attempt to do so. Since the top score is capped, it diminishes or eliminates the separation between the truly super smart kids and the ones who game the test. Not to mention how it exacerbates socioeconomic and racial inequities in test results. Place a limit of two test attempts per person and the tests will more accurately reflect the variance in these kids.

I understand your point but not sure I agree with it.

My son was one of the ones who took the SAT and ACT once and he couldn’t significantly raise his superscore for USNA.

They look at the whole picture. GPA, sports, EXC, leadership, essays, etc.

Certainly the quality of improving yourself isn’t gaming the system. Persistence is also part of it.

If they compare A vs B candidate in the theoretical world ... all else being equal, the candidate that “gamed the system” might be advantaged as you suggest. But in the real world is this true?

Shouldn’t this persistent person get the advantage over his specific competition on the slate with all else being equal, raised his SAT higher than the person who stayed satisfied with the lower score?
 

Korab

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I understand your point but not sure I agree with it.

My son was one of the ones who took the SAT and ACT once and he couldn’t significantly raise his superscore for USNA.

They look at the whole picture. GPA, sports, EXC, leadership, essays, etc.

Certainly the quality of improving yourself isn’t gaming the system. Persistence is also part of it.

If they compare A vs B candidate in the theoretical world ... all else being equal, the candidate that “gamed the system” might be advantaged as you suggest. But in the real world is this true?

Shouldn’t this persistent person get the advantage over his specific competition on the slate with all else being equal, raised his SAT higher than the person who stayed satisfied with the lower score?
Depends on what you use the standardized test score for. We need standardized tests because of grade inflation and the variance in curricula between schools. Standardized tests are supposed to place everyone taking them on even footing and allow you compare and rank students against each other. When those students who have the means to do so inflate their score through preparation and a ridiculous number of test attempts, they manipulate their ranking. This disadvantages those who don't have the means or access to the same preparation and coaching, those who cant afford to take it an unlimited number of times, and those who get close to a maximum score and so have no incentive to take the test again. If the standardized tests are reduced to just another metric that measures how hard someone works rather than measuring each student's relative intelligence, then what's the point? High school grades already measure how hard someone works.

Many in academia would prefer to see standardized tests go away, or be reduced in importance, as they get in the way of the social engineering they prefer guide admissions.
 
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Anyone can get two free real life tests with a fee waiver from a school even if not a student there.
The 2020 SAT book with 8 old exams is $12 on Amazon right now. There are usually a ton at the library too.
This year those that had a car or money for Uber did have an advantage to travel out of the area to take a test, I will say that much.
Repeating the SAT is not gaming the system.
 
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