What You Need to Know About SAT Subject Tests

By Huntington Learning Center

You’ve obviously heard about the SAT, but what about the SAT Subject Tests? These exams are college admission tests on specific subjects. Students can choose the tests that best showcase their strengths and weaknesses. The SAT Subject Tests measure students’ knowledge at the high school level.

Here are a few things you and your teen need to know about these exams:

  • There are 20 SAT Subject Tests available in five subject areas. Those areas are Mathematics (2), Science (3), English (1), History (2) and Languages (12). Each test is one hour long, multiple choice and scored on a 200-800-point scale.
  • Exams are offered on the same days as the regular SAT. That’s six times a year, although not all 20 tests are offered on every date. The Language and Listening tests are only offered in November.
  • Students cannot take the SAT on the same day they take an SAT Subject Test. However, students can take up to three SAT Subject Tests on a single test date.
  • Students can use the SAT Subject Tests to prove they are ready for certain majors or programs. Colleges and universities sometimes require or recommend one or more SAT Subject Tests when they want to get a sense of students’ readiness for a particular subject or program. A student interested in majoring in math, for example, might choose to take both Mathematics Subject Tests as a way of highlighting this subject strength and interest on their application.
  • The SAT Subject Tests offer the chance to highlight several subjects not tested on the SAT. There are Math and English Subject Tests (subjects covered on the SAT), but there are also Subject Tests on science, history and 12 different languages. For students interested in pursuing majors related to these subjects, SAT Subject Tests might be a good idea, especially if students already possess a high level of knowledge in those subjects.
  • Preparation is different than it is for the SAT. Like the SAT, the SAT Subject Tests are based on what students learn in high school. However, these tests go deeper into a subject. Thus, it can be helpful to prepare individually for these tests, even though the best method (as with all standardized exams) is to work hard in high school classes.
  • Want to find out if a school requires, recommends or considers SAT Subject Test scores? Call their admissions office or visit their website. Very few colleges/universities in the U.S. require SAT Subject Tests (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, certain colleges/schools within Cornell University and Harvey Mudd College are among them) but some schools recommend submitting such scores (e.g. Harvard, Georgetown, Brown). The best and most current source on this, of course, is the college/university itself.

Huntington helps students perform their best on the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests. We know how to help students prepare effectively for these exams. Questions? Call us to learn more about our test prep programs. 1-800 CAN LEARN.


Stay in touch and sign up for our newsletter