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SAT Subject Tests

An SAT Subject Test, sometimes referred to as an SAT II Test, is a multiple choice standardized test that evaluates a student's knowledge in a particular subject area. There are 20 subject tests in the 5 main disciplines of Math, English, History, Science and Languages. Students usually choose which tests to take based on entrance requirements of college they are applying to, or if they excelled in a particular subject that is offered as an SAT Subject Test, such as Biology. SAT Subject Test scores are considered in admissions, but for most schools are not required. Read more about how SAT Subject Tests are used in admissions below.

What is the format of an SAT Subject Test?

On any given administration date a student can take up to three tests. When a student is seated for the SAT Subject Test, he/she receives a large booklet containing all of the subject tests available on that date along with an answer sheet. The student has the option of taking the tests in whatever order he/she prefers. Students receive a five-minute break between the first and second tests and a one-minute 'stretch break' between the second and third tests, and are not permitted to look at any review material or discuss questions during these breaks.

How are SAT Subject Tests scored?

Each individual test is scored on a scale of 200 to 800; however, some of the tests are scored on a generous curves so that it is impossible to get a 200; for example, on the Mathematics Level 2 test if someone gets every question wrong the one gets about 310 depending on the version of the test.

How are the SAT Subject Tests used in college admissions?

At first, some highly selective colleges required applicants to take three SAT Subject Test, including the writing test and two other tests of the applicant's choosing, in addition to the SAT. However, with writing now a standard component of the SAT I, most selective colleges recommend applicants to submit scores for any two SAT Subject Tests. Engineering schools typically require Chemistry or Physics and prefer Math Level 2. A handful of the most competitive schools, such as Harvard University and Princeton University, still require three SAT Subject Tests in addition to the three sections of the SAT. It is important to consult the school's website to find out more information about SAT Subject Test requirements.

Also note that a school can vary with regard to their SAT Subject Test requirements based on whether the student is submitting scores for the ACT in place of the SAT. Some schools consider the ACT an alternative to both the SAT and some SAT Subject Tests, whereas others accept the ACT, but require SAT Subject Tests as well. Information about a school's specific test requirements can typically be found on its official website.

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