SAT Subject Tests: Everything You Need to Know

The SAT Subject Tests, formerly known as SAT II tests, are subject-specific exams offered by the College Board. These tests are designed to assess a student's knowledge and skills in specific academic areas. While many colleges and universities no longer require SAT Subject Tests for admission, some institutions still consider them, and strong scores can enhance your college application. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about SAT Subject Tests, including their purpose, subjects offered, preparation tips, and their role in the college admissions process.

1. Purpose of SAT Subject Tests:

SAT Subject Tests serve several purposes:

- College Admissions: Some colleges and universities use SAT Subject Test scores as part of their admission requirements or to assess a student's proficiency in specific subjects.

- Course Placement: In some cases, schools use these tests to place students in appropriate courses or to exempt them from certain requirements.

- Highlighting Strengths: SAT Subject Tests provide an opportunity for students to showcase their strengths in particular subjects, especially if they perform exceptionally well.

2. Subjects Offered:

There are 20 different SAT Subject Tests available, spanning various subject areas:


1. Mathematics Level 1

2. Mathematics Level 2


3. Biology E/M (Ecological/Molecular)

4. Chemistry

5. Physics


6. Literature


7. U.S. History

8. World History


9. Spanish

10. French

11. German

12. Chinese with Listening

13. Japanese with Listening

14. Korean with Listening

15. Spanish with Listening

16. Italian

17. Latin

18. Modern Hebrew

3. Test Format:

Most SAT Subject Tests are multiple-choice exams, while a few, such as the language tests with listening, include listening comprehension sections. Each test is one hour long.

4. Registration and Fees:

You can register for SAT Subject Tests on the College Board website. The registration fee covers one test date with one to three subject tests. Additional fees apply for late registration, test date changes, and additional subject tests.

5. Test Dates:

SAT Subject Tests are offered on several test dates throughout the year, usually corresponding with SAT test dates. However, not all subject tests are available on every test date, so plan accordingly.

6. Test Preparation:

Effective preparation is crucial for success on SAT Subject Tests. Here are some preparation tips:

- Review Course Material: Focus on reviewing the content you've learned in the corresponding high school courses.

- Use Official Study Materials: The College Board provides official study guides for each subject test, which include practice questions and sample tests. These are highly recommended for effective preparation.

- Practice with Sample Tests: Take practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions you'll encounter.

- Seek Additional Resources: Consider using third-party study guides, online resources, or tutoring if you need additional help.

7. Score Reporting:

You can choose which SAT Subject Test scores to send to colleges. Scores are reported on a scale of 200 to 800 for each test.

8. Role in College Admissions:

While many colleges and universities have moved away from requiring SAT Subject Tests, some institutions still consider them as part of the application process. It's important to research the specific admission requirements of the schools you're interested in.

9. Score Interpretation:

Your SAT Subject Test scores are compared to the scores of other test takers who took the same test. The scores are reported as percentiles, indicating the percentage of test takers who scored lower than you.

10. Retaking the Tests:

If you're not satisfied with your initial scores, you can retake SAT Subject Tests. Be mindful of registration deadlines and test dates.

11. Special Accommodations:

If you have a documented disability or require special accommodations, you can request them through the College Board.

12. Plan Strategically:

When deciding whether to take SAT Subject Tests, consider your college choices and their admission requirements. Focus on subjects that align with your academic strengths and potential college major.


SAT Subject Tests can play a role in the college admissions process, but their significance varies from one institution to another. It's essential to research the admission requirements of the colleges you're interested in and plan your test-taking strategy accordingly. Whether you choose to take SAT Subject Tests or not, thorough preparation and a strong performance in your high school courses remain crucial factors in the college admissions process.