What Are Subject Tests?
There are twenty SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: math, science, history, English and languages. Each multiple-choice exam lasts one hour. Questions are based on curriculum used in high school courses. Scores range from 200-800. Do not confuse Subject Tests with AP Exams, another College Board product. AP Exams are based on college-level curriculum in certain AP courses and may enable high school students to earn college credits or waive lower-level courses in college.
Who Takes Subject Tests?
Some colleges require or recommend Subject Tests for admissions and course selection purposes. In most cases, it is exclusively the student’s choice whether to take one or more Subject Tests. Good scores can enhance your college application and potentially place you out of introductory courses. There is no risk because lower scores need not be reported to colleges.
Why Should You Take Subject Tests?
If a top-choice college says that Subject Tests are recommended or required, you should take them. Otherwise, you may choose to take Subject Tests in your strongest subjects, especially if they are related to your proposed field of college studies. Taken in addition to SAT and/or ACT exams, Subject Tests give colleges a more complete picture of your academic strengths and interests than the usual application package of high school records, SAT/ACT scores, and letters of recommendation.
When Should You Take Them?
Take SAT Subject Tests on any SAT test date, except for the March date when Subject Tests are not offered. Not all Subject Tests are offered on all SAT test dates. Take one to three Subject Tests at a time, but you may not take both the SAT and the Subject Tests on the same day. Try to take Subject Tests soon after completing the applicable high school courses so that the material is still fresh. Check the College Board website for up-to-date scheduling information as well as a list of colleges that use SAT Subject Tests.