Should you take SAT Subject Tests? Here’s what you need to know.

Planning to take SAT Subjects Tests

It’s important for high school students and their families to understand SAT Subject Tests and how they fit into college and SAT strategies. Thinking about which tests to take, when to take them, and how they can help can be a valuable part of an overall plan for getting into the college you want to attend.

Who Should Take an SAT Subject Test?

Young asian student studying at laptopThere are many good reasons for high school students to take one or more SAT Subject Tests. The College Board recommends that students take SAT Subject Tests because they enable students to demonstrate to colleges what they know and what they can do in the test subject area. They are a way for students to stand out in the admission process. Although not every college requires SAT Subject Tests, many colleges use them for admission, to determine course placement and for course selection advising. Some colleges may specify the SAT Subject Tests they require for admission or placement and others allow applicants to choose which tests to take. Some colleges even grant exemption from or credit for freshman course requirements for exceptional SAT Subject Test results.

Which SAT Subject Tests to Take

With 20 Subject Tests across five general subject areas, students may be confused about which tests to take. The College Board recommends testing in the areas of interest to students, and especially in the areas that apply to specific majors they may be planning to pursue. If a college the student plans to apply to requires particular SAT Subject Tests, then those are the tests to plan for and focus on. Students can look at which SAT Subject Tests the schools require or recommend, how many tests they require, and in which subjects. For students who don’t know which colleges they’ll apply to, taking the SAT Subject Tests in their strongest areas of interest and achievement is a good idea.

When to Take the SAT Subject Tests

High school students should normally take the SAT Subject Tests late in their junior year and at the beginning of senior year. The College Board recommends taking subject tests in difficult subjects such as Biology, World History, Physics, and Chemistry as soon as possible after completing the classes to be able to have the material fresh in mind for testing.

SAT Subject Tests are usually offered six times during the school year, but not all 20 tests are offered at the same time. The SAT Subject Tests are usually given on the same dates as the SAT test, but check the registration page of the College Board website for specific dates. Be aware that students aren’t allowed to take both SAT and SAT Subject Tests in the same time period, and the Language with Listening tests are only offered in November.

Additional Support for your SAT Prep

Students ready to plan and make decisions about the SAT Subject Tests should talk to their teachers or high school counselor, since these professionals are likely to be able to offer the best advice specific to the student’s situation. Lots more information is also available on the subjects tests section of the College Board website.

Students who plan early for college with a comprehensive college prep curriculum and a solid plan for preparing for and taking the SAT will be ready to tackle SAT subjects tests and can increase their opportunities to be accepted at the college of their choice.