SAT Subject tests are based on curriculum you have in class. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of a particular subject. According to the College Board,
“The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do. Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specify the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.”
Only a handful of colleges require SAT subject tests from students, but many will use SAT Subject test scores as a part of your admissions profile or for placement purposes (especially in foreign language).
What subject tests can I take?
There are 20 subject tests to choose from. A majority of the tests are in foreign languages, with English, History, Math and Science thrown in too. The subject tests are broken down as follows:
Are the subject tests the same as the AP tests?
No. There are more AP tests than there are subject tests. For example, there are five Arts AP tests, and no Arts Subject tests.
What about the ACT?
The ACT does not offer Subject tests. They are only offered by the SAT/College Board.
When should I take the Subject tests?
The best time to take a subject test is right after you finish the class. It is also good to take the subject test at the same time you are taking an AP or other subject exam. Schedule subject tests in May of your sophomore or junior year, and November of your senior year.
How long is a subject test?
Most subject tests are 1 hour in length.
How many Subject tests can I take at a time?
You can schedule and take up to 3 tests in one sitting. Most colleges will use your best two scores. Some colleges will use 3 subject tests for admissions. Check college website for testing requirements.
When are the subject tests offered?
They are offered 6 times each year: August, October, November, December, May and June. Subject tests are NOT offered in March. Only the SAT is offered then.
Are all subject tests offered six times a year?
No. Not every subject test is offered six times a year. Plan carefully when you want to take any of the following tests:
Which tests can I take on any date?
The following seven tests are offered every time a Subject test is offered.
Can I see my scores before I send them to a college?
Yes. You can use score choice to see your scores and decide which scores to send to colleges. Remember to check college policies. Some colleges require you to send ALL your test scores.
What is the latest date I can take the subject scores in my senior year?
The latest you should schedule subject tests in your senior year is December. If you are applying to any of your colleges early (Early Action or Early Decision) you should schedule them for October or November.
Do all colleges require the SAT Subject tests?
No. Many colleges do not consider Subject tests for admission purposes. Check the college website carefully for each college’s policy on Subject tests.
Do I need to take specific Subject tests for my major?
Sometimes. Many colleges have specific subject test requirements for specific majors. Engineering, science and math majors often require or highly recommend subject tests. This is particularly true if you are applying to any of the University of California campuses. UC’s can’t require a subject test, but if it is highly recommended for your major, you will be more competitive if you take the recommended subject test.
How can I prepare to take the SAT Subject tests?
You can prepare for the subject tests in many ways. The CollegeBoard website has subject test prep. Check for local SAT Test Preparation options. Check online. Check with friends and create your own subject study groups.
Update your Testing schedule in GuidedPath with all your tests: ACT, SAT and SAT Subjects. Include PSAT, AP, or other tests you are planning to take.