Skip to main content

The SAT Subject Tests

Sep 17, 2014 10:15AM ● Published by Dia

The subject matter of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests couldn't be more different.

The SAT covers basic math, vocabulary and some general reading ability, while the SAT Subject Tests are designed to measure specific knowledge in a particular academic area like biology or world history. Typically, only very selective schools ask for SAT Subject Tests. Most of these colleges will ask you to take two or three tests. Find out which (if any) are required by your prospective schools far enough in advance that you have time to take them.

The Basics

Each test is an hour long, and you can take anywhere from one to three in one day. Tests are available in the following subjects: Literature, Chinese with Listening, Math Level 1, French and French with Listening, Math Level 2, German and German with Listening, United States History, Modern Hebrew, World History, Italian, Biology, Japanese with Listening, Chemistry, Korean with Listening, Physics, Latin, Spanish and Spanish with Listening and English Language Proficiency.

Scoring

All SAT Subject Tests are scored on a scale of 200 to 800; the exception to this rule is the English Language Proficiency Test, which is scored on a scale of 901 to 999. Tests that do not involve written responses are graded by a computer. The computer simply adds up the number of questions you answered correctly and then subtracts one-quarter of the number of questions you answered incorrectly (it doesn't count questions you skip). This determines your raw test score, which is then converted to a scaled score.

So what's a good score? That depends on the school to which you are applying. Many colleges are happy with scores of 650 or above, but highly selective schools may want to see a 700 or 750—or even higher in the case of Math Level 2.

Timing

SAT Subject Tests are administered in October, November, December, January, May and June. Not all of the tests are offered at each location, so it's imperative you check the dates and details on the College Board website carefully. It's important to take the test when the subject is fresh in your mind. So if your chemistry course ends in May, you should sit for either the May or the June exam. If you do well in your 9th grade biology class, you should take that Subject Test at the end of freshman year.

The Silver Lining

The great thing about the SAT Subject Tests is that you can take any one in which you think you might excel. So if you're a history buff or you speak Latin like Caesar, then this is your chance to shine. It is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge in the field you plan to pursue in college. For example, if you are applying to the premed program, it may be a good idea to take the biology test. At some colleges, a high score enables you to place out of certain required courses.

One important note: ETS allows you to change your mind about which test you'd like to take on test day. If you aren't sure which test you'll feel more confident taking, you can study up until d-day and then decide at the last moment.

Ready to start studying for the SAT Subject Tests? The Princeton Review offers guidebooks, classroom courses and private tutoring.

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is a leading test preparation and college admission services company. Every year it helps millions of students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation, tutoring, and admissions services, its online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House LLC. The Company also partners directly with school districts and non-governmental organizations to provide students with college readiness services including college selection, test preparation, financial aid advice, and admissions support. For more information, visit
www.princetonreview.com  and www.facebook.com/ThePrincetonReview. Follow the Company's Twitter feed @ThePrincetonRev.

*Test names are trademarks of their respective owners, who are not affiliated with The Princeton Review.​

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is a leading test preparation and college admission services company. Every year it helps millions of students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation, tutoring, and admissions services, its online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House LLC. The Company also partners directly with school districts and non-governmental organizations to provide students with college readiness services including college selection, test preparation, financial aid advice, and admissions support. For more information, visit www.princetonreview.com andwww.facebook.com/ThePrincetonReview. Follow the Company's Twitter feed @ThePrincetonRev.

The SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board.

Today, City+School
  • Exhibit: Seeing is a Nervous Habit

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A retrospective of Kenda North’s work. The exhibit will be accompanied by a group exhibition of f...


  • Dallas Decorators Showhouse in Southlake

    09/28/2017
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    We are in need of volunteer tour guides for morning and afternoon shifts beginning Tuesday, Septe...


  • SusieCakes Grand Opening Happy Hour

    09/28/2017
    03:00PM — 07:30PM

    Enjoy the grand opening of SusieCakes in Fort Worth with a week of happy hour deals! Monday 9...


  • Dragon Pride 2017 Preview Party

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    You're invited to attend our annual Dragon Pride Preview Party! Join the free festivities as we u...


  • Mama Won't Fly

    09/28/2017
    07:00PM

    On September 28th and 30th Carroll Senior High School theatre will present the outrageously hilar...


Read This Month's Digital Issue
STAY CONNECTED
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM