Students writing a practice essay. Photo: Dayna Smith/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Timed essay questions are beginning to become a relic of the past for prospective college students.

The big picture: Elite schools across the nation are dropping the essay score requirements from the SAT and ACT tests that are used to screen candidates. It's part of the general trend of changing attitudes on the value of standardized testing for students during the college admissions process.

The state of play: In recent weeks, many schools have backed off the essay score requirement.

Between the lines: Millions of students take the SAT and ACT every year, and each test takes between three and four hours. The essay portion of the test is optional. However, some schools seen as elite required essay scores, which made the optional portion of the test mandatory for some students.

The essay portion of the test also costs up to an additional $17 on the SAT and $16.50 on the ACT. Costs and accessibility are a concern for students even without the essay being a requirement.

What they're saying: Zach Goldberg, senior director of media relations at The College Board, said writing skills are still required through the redesigned SAT. Through an "evidence-based" reading and writing section of the test, he said, students are asked to edit for "precision and concision" using words and numbers across multiple disciplines.

Yes, but: Writing essays and developing research is still essential to college readiness. Goldberg says the SAT essay provides a "strong complement" to the multiple-choice portion of the test and gives students an opportunity to demonstrate critical thinking skills.

The bottom line: Though schools are abandoning it, the essay portion of the test will remain an option for students and still has its uses.

Go deeper

Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections.

In photos: Florida breaks record for in-person early voting

Voters wait in line at John F. Kennedy Public Library in Hialeah, Florida on Oct. 19. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

More Floridians cast early ballots for the 2020 election on Monday than in the first day of in-person early voting in 2016, shattering the previous record by over 50,000 votes, Politico reports.

The big picture: Voters have already cast over 31 million ballots in early voting states as of Tuesday, per the U.S. Elections Project database by Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!