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SAT Subject Tests

An SAT score allows colleges to gauge your academic potential in comparison to past and present applicants. For most colleges and universities, this test score alone is sufficient for them to determine a potential student’s admission. Some colleges, however, request additional test results to indicate consistency on standardized tests or talent in certain subject areas. The SAT Subject Tests (formerly the SAT IIs) are recommended or required by many colleges and universities for this very reason.

The subject tests are designed to assess your mastery of specific subject areas. The five test categories—English, History and Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, and Language—include such Subject Tests as Literature, US History, Chemistry, Math I, and Spanish. The tests are each one-hour in duration and composed of multiple choice questions. Your results are used not only for admissions cases but also for course placement in the event you are accepted. You can learn more about and register for the SAT Subject Tests at the College Board website.

Each university that requests SAT Subject Tests has specific test requirements. For example, the University of California strongly recommends applicants take three SAT Subject Tests in their choice of subject area. Yet the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) requires one math test, one science test, and a third test of the student's choice. Harvard requires three Subject Tests in any area, but variety is recommended. To learn if you should consider taking an SAT Subject Test, contact the Admissions Departments of the schools to which you plan to apply.

PowerScore does not offer preparation classes for the SAT Subject Tests, because students receive all of the preparation needed for these content-based tests in their high school curriculum. Plan to take each test immediately upon the completion of the corresponding high school course. For example, if you take World History during your sophomore year of high school, take the World History SAT Subject Test in the late spring of your sophomore year, as you are nearing the completion of your course. The only tests that should be delayed are the Language tests, as these are best taken after several years of study.