The college application process has a lot of parts, but you are not alone if you find yourself wondering which SAT Subject Tests you should take. When applying to colleges, there is a lot to think about. Where do you plan to apply? What do you need to bolster your application? Do you need more extracurricular? More volunteer experience? And what SAT Subject Tests should you take?
There are twenty tests to choose from, and selecting the ones that will be best for your college applications can be overwhelming. We are going to help you sort through your SAT Subject Test options and choose the best ones for you and your colleges of choice.
What Are SAT Subject Tests?
You have most likely heard of the SAT. It is a standardized test administered by the College Board and used by college and universities to measure a student’s readiness for college. College admissions officers will review your SAT scores along with your high school GPA, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays, depending on their application process. But there are also the SAT Subject Tests to consider.
In 1937, the College Board began offering subject-specific standardized tests. Once known as the “Achievement Tests” then as “SAT II: Subject Tests,” they are now simply the SAT Subject Tests. Each of them is a multiple choice test administered over the course of an hour and can highlight knowledge in a specific subject that may otherwise go unnoted on your application.
Currently, SAT Subject Tests are available for the following subjects:
- Biology E/M
- Chinese with Listening
- French with Listening
- German with Listening
- Japanese with Listening
- Korean with Listening
- Math Level 1
- Math Level 2
- Modern Hebrew
- Spanish with Listening
- US History
- World History
SAT Subject Tests are an opportunity to showcase skills you have developed independently or in areas of academics in which you have dedicated extra focus. SAT Subject Tests can also help indicate your career interest and at some colleges, may help you place out of introductory classes.
How is the SAT Subject Test formatted?
As mentioned above, SAT Subject Tests are structured similarly to the SAT. They are multiple-choice and take one hour to complete. Some foreign language tests include a listening portion as well. SAT Subject Tests are scored on a scale from 200-800, just like the individual sections of the SAT.
When do SAT Subject Tests take place?
SAT Subject Tests are generally administered six times during each school year, on the same days and in the same test centers as the regular SAT. Not all 20 Subject Tests are offered on every SAT date, however, particularly in the areas of language. Check the SAT Subject Test Calendar for specific dates and tests in order to schedule your tests accordingly.
But which SAT Subject Test Should I Take?
First, ensure you know the specific requirements for your college. Make sure to meet all the criteria, from application to writing prompts as well as standardized testing requirements. Know if they want to see one, two, even three subject tests – or if they require them at all. The majority of colleges and universities don’t require SAT Subject Tests, but some of the top schools do require two or more. Many other colleges recommend SAT Subject Tests, even if they don’t require them.
Additionally, some colleges offer the option of sending SAT Subject Test scores in place of the SAT or ACT. If you feel a specialized test would better represent you, this is an option you may want to look into. Just be sure to confirm your college’s policies and requirements ahead of time.
Once you know what your colleges requires, decide which tests will strengthen your application. The SAT Subject Tests allow you the opportunity to demonstrate subject mastery. They are less about general reasoning skills and more about specific knowledge of content. When deciding which tests to take, ask yourself the following questions:
- What subjects do I know well?
- What subjects have I studied?
- Which classes have I performed well in?
- What do I hope to major in?
- What field do I want to work in after college?
Once you have identified which tests you are interested in, determine which of those tests will help showcase your application as a standout. You can also consider which of the tests you have the most in depth knowledge of, such as tests in which you have just finished a high school class on or subjects that you have studied independently.
When should I take the SAT Subject Test?
It’s important to note that all SAT Subject Tests are not offered at each available date. However, May and June are popular dates to schedule testing as it can be helpful to schedule your tests close to the end of the school year, after you have studied for final exams or an AP exam as the knowledge is still fresh.
Since the SAT Subject Tests are about content readiness, you do not have to wait until junior year to take them. You may feel prepared to take one at the end of your freshman year, or during your sophomore year. It could be helpful to plan your tests this way if you plan to take multiple tests to avoid being overwhelmed with testing your junior and senior years. Most colleges will accept your highest score, so you have the opportunity to retake a SAT Subject Test if you are not happy with your score.
Are some of the SAT Subject Tests easier than others?
There is no clear answer on the age old question of “which tests are easier?” The best way to evaluate how “easy” or “hard” a test is to consider the average. A low average score may indicate that the test is challenging while a higher score may signal the material is less difficult. A large standard deviation means that students scored across a broad range.
To sum it up, SAT Subject Tests are a great way to showcase your knowledge in subject areas that will improve your application to the college of your dreams. Consider what your college requirements are and what your goals are for the future as well identify areas in which you are confident in your knowledge when deciding which tests you plan to take. Look at the testing calendar carefully in order to plan your testing schedule and know that you can re-take SAT Subject Tests if you are unhappy with your score.
How we can help you prepare for the SAT Subject Tests
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We design a personalized curriculum for each student based on pre-assessment results and assigns tutors that best fit their skill level, learning style and communication preferences. Our online learning platform allows for direct feedback, assessments, and communication with both students and parents and course progress can be monitored in realtime.