What are SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Tests (formerly called “Achievement Tests,” then “SAT IIs”) are one-hour exams given by College Board, that tests students’ knowledge of particular subjects. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, History, Science, Mathematics, and Languages.

Most SAT Subject Tests are offered on the same day as the regular SAT Reasoning Test; therefore, students cannot take both the SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Tests on the same day. The language tests with listening are generally available only once a year, in November.

Approximately 160 colleges and universities require or recommend two or three SAT Subject Test scores for admission and placement of incoming students. The College Board site provides a list of institutions that use the SAT Subject Tests, although not all the colleges on their list use them for the same purpose. Some, like those in the Ivy League, require SAT Subject Tests for admission; others consider the scores only if they strengthen an application. Still others use SAT Subject Test results for admission to particularly competitive majors. The University of California system, for example, advises applicants that “While SAT Subject Tests are not required, some campuses recommend that freshman applicants interested in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency.” In such cases, failing to provide SAT Subject Test scores could negatively impact your chances of admission.

We recommend that students take an SAT Subject Test after they have completed the highest level of the course offered by their high school (such as the AP course), or as advised by their teachers.

See our Calendar for testing dates.


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