The SAT Subject Tests at a Glance

SAT Subject Tests include more than 20 different tests focusing on specific disciplines, such as English, history and the social sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and foreign languages. Each subject test lasts 1 hour and consists entirely of multiple-choice questions.

Unlike the SAT Subject Tests, the SAT is largely a test of verbal and math skills. Although you need to know vocabulary and a few formulas, it's primarily designed to measure how well you read and think, rather than what you know.

The SAT Subject Tests, however, are designed to measure what you know about specific subjects. Sure, critical reading and thinking skills play a part; but the main purpose of the Subject Tests is to determine exactly what you know about math, history, chemistry, and so on.

How Are They Used?

Schools that require SATs feel that they're an important indicator of your ability to succeed in college. Specifically, they use your scores to help make admissions and placement decisions. Like the SAT, the SAT Subject Tests provide schools with a standard measure of academic performance, which they use to compare you to applicants from different high schools and different educational backgrounds. This information helps them to decide whether you have the academic ability to handle their curriculum.

Your scores may also be used to decide what course of study is appropriate for you once you've been admitted. A low score on the Math Level I test, for example, may require you to take a remedial Math course. Conversely, a high score on the Chemistry test may exempt you from an introductory science course.

Which Tests Should You Take?

The simple answer: Take the ones that you'll do well on. High scores, after all, can only help your chances for admission. Unfortunately, many colleges demand that you take particular tests, usually one of the math tests. Some schools give you a choice in the matter, especially if they want you to take 3 subject tests. Before you register for any test, check with the colleges in which you're interested to determine which they require.

Choices... Choices... Choices
English Literature
History U.S. History
World History
Mathematics Mathematics Level 1
Mathematics Level 2
Science Biology E/M
Languages French
French with Listening
German with Listening
Spanish with Listening
Chinese with Listening
Modern Hebrew

The SAT Subject Tests Dates and Registration

The easiest way to register for the SAT Subject Tests is through the College Board's online registration form. Registration deadlines generally fall approximately 5 weeks before each test date.

On your pre-assigned test date, you will be required to bring your admissions ticket and picture identification. You should also bring a couple of #2 pencils with erasers, and if you're taking a Math IC or IIC exam, bring a calculator. Finally, if you're registered for one of the listening tests, bring a cassette player including earphones.

Upcoming Test Dates

Exam Date Registration Deadline Late Registration
October 11, 2014 September 12, 2014 September 30, 2014
November 8, 2014 October 9, 2014 October 28, 2014
December 6, 2014 November 6, 2014 November 24, 2014
January 24, 2015 December 29, 2014 January 13, 2015
May 2, 2015 April 6, 2015 April 21, 2015
June 6, 2015 May 8, 2015 May 27, 2015

Your SAT Subject Test Scores

The SAT Subject Tests are scored on a 200-800 scale. A score of 600 is considered very solid. Keep in mind that a Subject Test score is just one piece of information that colleges will use to evaluate you. The decision to accept or reject your application will be based on many criteria, including your high school transcript, SAT score, recommendations, personal statement, extracurricular activities, etc. So, failure to achieve the necessary score doesn't automatically mean that your chances of getting in have been damaged.