The SAT Subject Test is like the pseudo-sequel to the SAT test. Where the SAT examines students’ knowledge in the areas of math, reading, and writing, the SAT Subject Test challenges students in specific subjects, from chemistry to literature to world history.
Most students know that (most times) they have to take the SAT or ACT in order to get admitted to a college, so what exactly does the Subject Test do?
Here are 6 things you may not have known about the SAT’s partner in standardized crime:
1. The SAT Subject Test has had many names over the years. The origin of the SAT Subject Test dates back to as early as 1937, when it was called “College Board’s Achievement Test.” In 1993, it was renamed “SAT II: Subject Test,” and then in the mid-2000s, it was changed to “SAT Subject Test.”
2. Nearly 160 schools require, recommend, or consider Subject Tests in the admissions process. A list of the schools is available here.
3. Once you are admitted to a school, sometimes SAT Subject Tests serve as course placement. An especially good score can get you out of a gen ed requirement. Also, if you’re going to take a Subject Test, make sure you take one in an area in which you excel or are interested. If you struggle with math and decide to take a Subject Test, that might not be the best idea.
4. There are 20 subjects from which you can choose, within five different sections. The five areas of study include English, history, math, foreign languages, and science. The Subject Tests are multiple-choice and one hour in length.
5. Typically, schools requiring the SAT Subject Test will ask students to take two of these tests. And like the SAT I, you can take SAT Subject Tests more than once (schools don’t generally view this in a negative light).
6. Like the SAT, there are books and tools that can prepare you for the test. But many students find that the best times to take the SAT Subject Tests are in May or June of their junior year of high school, in the fall of their senior year of high school, or after they have completed AP or advanced courses. Don’t even think about taking an SAT Subject Test as a high school freshman—you don’t have enough experience yet!