SAT Subject Tests include more than 20 different tests focusing on specific disciplines, such as English, history, the social sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and foreign languages. These are tests that are only required or recommended from a few colleges, but are options for all students to strengthen their applications or highlight skills in a particular subject area. You should consult with individual colleges regarding whether they require, recommend, or will consider Subject Tests if submitted.
What is the difference between the SAT (or ACT) and SAT Subject Tests?
The SAT (and ACT) is a college entrance exam, testing what students learn in classrooms and how well they apply that knowledge. Its reading/writing and math (and science and English for the ACT) sections are based on the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed for college success. SAT Subject Tests cover a wide range of subject areas, including science, history and languages. Each Subject Test focuses on a single subject and indicates a student’s readiness to take college-level courses in that subject. Each Subject Test lasts one hour and consists entirely of multiple-choice questions. You can take up to three subject tests in one sitting, but most colleges that use them only require two.
How Colleges Use Subject Tests?
Some colleges value the Subject Tests as a key indicator of college readiness for a particular program. For example, UC Berkeley “recommends Math Level 2 and a science Subject Test for its Chemistry and Engineering colleges;” UC Irvine “recommends math level 2 and a science for its engineering, pharmaceutical and physical sciences schools;” and UCLA “recommends math Level 2 and a science test for its School of Engineering and Applied Science.” UC Riverside, San Diego and Santa Barbara have similar Subject Test recommendations. Many colleges require or recommend Subject Tests to help differentiate students and assess overall college readiness, and some also use them for course placement.
Many colleges that don’t require Subject Test scores will still consider them in the admission process. By taking the tests, students can show their knowledge of and interest in a certain subject, and their determination to succeed. See a list of colleges that require, recommend, or consider SAT Subject Tests . (For more detail on how they use them, scroll to the end of this article). Please note that many of the schools on this list will accept subject tests in lieu of the ACT with writing or even the SAT. You should always check with specific colleges to confirm. Continue reading