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College 101

SAT Subject Tests

You may think the SAT and the ACT are enough to deal with. We’re here to tell you there’s more. Thank us later. The SAT Subject Tests are shorter, content-specific tests that students choose to take to supplement their college applications. Why on Earth would anyone choose to take more tests? For a few reasons. First of all, some of the more competitive colleges and universities recommend or require that students take a number of Subject Tests. Second, if you excel in one or more subject areas and either want to show off or eventually major in the area of study, a solid performance on the corresponding subject test will speak volumes.

What is it and what’s on it?

The SAT subject tests are available in five different content areas: English, Science, Math, History and Languages. There are twenty subjects within these areas. Each test lasts an hour and will contain between 50 and 80 multiple-choice questions. Some language tests will also contain listening sections.

How often and where is it given?

Subject tests are given six times during the year, but not every subject is given every date, so be sure to check what tests are being offered when. Tests are given at the same time as the regular SAT, which means you can’t take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same date, so plan accordingly. If you need help signing up or need advice on what tests to take when, be sure to Get to Know Your High School Counselor.

When should you take it?

It should go without saying that you should take Subject Tests after you have studied the subject in high school. Duh. Depending on the course progression of your school, this may allow you to take some earlier-level tests (like US History or Biology) in your junior year, and then take some later-level tests (like Physics or Mathematics Level 2) senior year. Just remember that you must choose to take the SAT or Subject Tests on a specific date, you cannot take both. So choose wisely, grasshopper.

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