SAT Subject Tests
For many students who have a niche academic talent or those who are applying as non-native English speakers, SAT Subject Tests are an excellent way to showcase these abilities.
What is a Subject Test?
Subject Tests are hour-long, multiple-choice tests. You can choose to sit for two or three within the same day. You’ll have the option of switching the subject on the day of the exam.
The tests are scored on a scale of 200-800. Depending on the college, a competitive score could be anywhere from around 600-750. You’ll be provided with your Raw Score, a Score Range (or how much your score could have changed depending on the day or specific test questions), a Percentile Rank (which compares your score to those of other students taking the same test), and an Average Score (which compiles and averages the scores of all test takers for that specific day). You should register at least five weeks prior to the test.
Why Take an SAT Subject Test?
The Subject Test allows you to choose which test you want to take. If your best subject is biology or history or Spanish, you'll have the opportunity to demonstrate that specific knowledge as opposed to the SAT or the ACT, which tests more general knowledge.
Some colleges require these tests and others recommend them. If the latter is true, or even if a college hasn't explicitly recommended them, you should seriously consider taking them anyway. Earning a high score on these tests can make your application more competitive, setting you apart from students who have only taken the SAT or the ACT.
Which Test Should I Take?
The answer depends on your own strengths as a student. The SAT College Board offers a range of subjects, from literature to Modern Hebrew — almost any subject you've encountered in school (besides the fine arts) should be available. If you're applying as an international student or English is your second language, there's a long list of language exams as well. Choose a subject you feel confident about. These tests can help emphasize your interest in a certain major or career path down the road.
Regardless of the subject, these tests will work in your favor if you score well, fortifying your application and promoting your individual academic strengths.