What Are the SAT Subject Tests?

by Horizons In Learning

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Tests are one-hour multiple choice tests that assess students’ knowledge in specific areas. Colleges use Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to help advise students about course selection. Even colleges that do not require the Subject Test will often review scores you submit and can get a better picture of you as an overall student.

Which colleges require the SAT Subject Tests?

Contact the colleges and universities to which you are applying or visit their websites. You may also consult the College Search section of the College Board website at www.collegeboard.org for more information.

When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

Ideally, you will take the SAT Subject Test immediately after completing the course in that area—typically toward the end of junior year or at the beginning of senior year. It’s important for the content to be fresh in your mind, especially for Subject tests in US History, World History, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Language tests should be taken after completing the highest level course you plan to take in that area, ideally after you have studied for several years.

SAT Subject Tests are given during the same dates as the SAT but not all Subject Tests are given on all SAT dates. No SAT Subject Tests are given in March. You may take up to three Subject Tests in one sitting but you may not take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same day. Click here to visit the College Board website for Subject Test dates.

Which Subject Tests are available?

English Literature, US History, World History, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, French- Reading only or Reading and Listening, German, Reading only or Reading and Listening, Modern Hebrew- Reading only, Italian- Reading only, Latin- Reading only, Spanish- Reading only or Reading and Listening, Chinese Reading and Listening, Japanese Reading and Listening, Korean Reading and Listening.

Language tests with Listening have a listening section that takes about 20 minutes and a reading section that takes 40 minutes. The Listening Tests are only offered in November at certain test sites. Tests with Listening require you to bring a CD player (be sure it has fresh batteries).

You are required to use a calculator for the Mathematics Subject Tests only—these tests have been created with the expectation that students will use a graphing calculator.

The Biology E/M Test lets you choose either an Ecological emphasis or a Molecular emphasis in the same tests. For this test, you only answer questions for which you are best prepared. Of the 80 questions on this test, 60 are for everyone to take and the additional 20 will be with emphasis in either ecology or molecular biology.

Which Subject Test should I take?

If you feel you are particularly strong in a subject, you may want to consider taking a Subject Test in that area, if it is offered. Remember that even those colleges that don’t require Subject Tests may get a better picture of you as a student if they see your scores in a subject area that you know very well.

How can I prepare for the SAT Subject Tests?

Familiarize yourself with how the test is set up. Remember that all Subject Tests are one-hour multiple choice tests. Many students take SAT Preparation courses as well as SAT Subject Test preparation in advance of their tests. You may also wish to purchase practice books or take practice tests questions on-line. When taking a practice test, be sure to time yourself so that you can pace yourself to the one-hour time constraint.

For more information on SAT and Subject Tests, consult www.collegeboard.org for more information.

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