What's the deal with SAT Subject Tests?

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Most everyone is familiar with the SAT Reasoning Test, but the SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as the SAT II Exams) are also a very important part of your college application profile. Figuring out their precise role in the college admissions process can be a little confusing, though. Check out the following answers to some frequently asked SAT Subject Test questions:

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

The College Board offers 20 SAT Subject Tests in 5 general subject areas: literature, math, science, history, and languages. Many colleges use SAT Subject Test results when making admissions decisions and when determining which courses to place students in. Submitting your SAT Subject Test scores is a great way to supplement your applications and show colleges the subject areas in which you excel. 

Which SAT Subject Tests should I take?

That depends on where you're planning to apply. At the most selective schools, SAT Subject Tests can be just as important as the SAT or ACT. Each college has its own guidelines regarding Subject Tests. For example, Caltech, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, and Princeton all require at least two Subject Tests. Other schools (and particular programs within those schools) recommend orstrongly recommend certain SAT Subject Tests. Many schools don't require or explicitly recommend them, but willconsider Subject Test results when making their admissions decisions. Each UC campus has different recommendations, so be sure to carefully check the admissions requirements and recommendations for every school you're considering.

Generally speaking, you should take two or three SAT Subject Tests in the areas that will showcase your talents the most. Do you think you'll score best in Chemistry and Physics? Add those to your list. If you're planning to major in English or Pre-Law, Literature and U.S. History might be good choices. Take the SAT Subject Tests that you will score the best on, and the ones that fulfill the requirements of the schools to which you're going to apply.

When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

The optimal time is usually during May or June of your junior year. It's likely that you'll be the most prepared at the end of the school year when the subject matter will be fresh in your mind.

Can I take more than one Subject Test on the same day?

Yes! You may take up to three SAT Subject Tests on the same day. You may not take Subject Tests on the same day you take the SAT Reasoning Test, however.

Can Elite help me prepare for my Subject Tests?

We certainly can! Our expert instructors know their subjects inside and out, and are ready to help you hone your test-taking skills.

Contact your local Elite branch to schedule a diagnostic test and receive free counseling regarding which tests are right for you.

Posted on February 25, 2012 and filed under SAT, Test Prep.