SAT Subject Tests

For many high school students, standardized tests are the bane of their existence. The tests are offered only a few times a year, and the pressure to score high is unbelievable. In this week’s blog, to alleviate some of the stress, CAA would like to help you understand what SAT Subject Tests are, who should take them, and when to sign up.   To get started, an SAT Subject Test is a standardized test focusing on one subject instead of three like the regular SAT Reasoning (SAT-R). There are five subject categories: English, history, science, math, and foreign language, and all but English have sub-categories (Ex. math is offered as level I or level II).   There are a few basic rules when scheduling an SAT Subject Test. First, you can take up to three tests in one day but not on the same test date as an SAT-R. Second, if you take more than one Subject Test, don’t choose two in the same subject (Ex: don’t take both math level I and II). Lastly, Subject Tests are usually not available during the March SAT test date.   Students can easily miss out on taking these exams, and it’s usually because they weren’t aware colleges required them in the first place. This frustration is very easily avoided because colleges do not hide their SAT Subject Test requirements; the information is clearly listed on their websites.   On almost every single college website, there is ample information about their admissions process, including the application requirements. So, check out the undergraduate admissions page on your colleges’ websites and make a note of what the college’s testing requirements are. They will make it very clear whether the SAT Subject Tests are required of all students. In some cases, students applying to more competitive majors will be the only ones required to submit Subject Test scores, so make sure to review the specific academic department’s webpage for possible additional requirements. Also, colleges will typically only require two Subject Test scores, but some may ask for three. If ever you are in doubt, contact the school or your CAA Coaches for help.   So, when should you take the SAT Subject Tests? The answer will be different for every student. CAA suggests that students taking Honors, AP, IB, or other advanced courses in high school schedule corresponding SAT Subject Tests toward the end of the class-year. This is when the material will be freshest in your mind, which means a better chance for a high score. For example, if you are taking AP U.S. History your sophomore year, schedule to take the U.S. History Subject Test at the end of your sophomore year. For students who will not take advanced courses at all or not until their senior year, CAA suggests that you schedule your Subject Tests in May or June at the end of your junior year. Choose the tests for your best subjects or those that most closely relate to your career choice. Some colleges may ask students to send in scores from specific Subject Tests, so always check the requirements before scheduling.   For all standardized tests, plan ahead and study mindfully, and you’ll be able to earn the score you deserve. As always, contact your CAA coaches for more information about testing requirements!