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What You May Want to Know about the SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject tests allow students to demonstrate their mastery of certain subjects such as English, History, Mathematics, Science and Foreign Languages.
By GPA Admin

What You May Want to Know about the SAT Subject Tests

When preparing for any one of the SAT Subject tests, note that many of the top institutions in the United States (such as Ivy League schools and top Liberal Arts colleges) require at least two subject tests from their applicants. 

Therefore it is advisable to check with your colleges of interest before registering how many and which subjects they require if any.


Facts about the SAT Subject Tests:

  • The tests are offered 6 times per year at United States and international sites
  • Students are allowed to take up to three subject tests on a single test date
  • Each test takes one hour
  • All Subject tests are in multiple-choice format although some sections have special formats and unique features
  • There is little change in the types of questions from one year to another
  • All tests are scored by machine

The SAT Program offers 20 subject tests falling into five general areas:

  • English: Literature
  • History and Social Studies: United States History, World History
  • Mathematics: Mathematics Level I, Mathematics Level II
  • Science: Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics
  • Languages: Chinese with Listening, French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish, French with Listening, German with Listening, Japanese with Listening, Korean with Listening, Spanish with Listening

Unique Formats and Special Features on the SAT Subject Tests:

1) Languages with Listening

  • Subject tests in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish contain both reading and listening sections. 
  • Test takers in these subjects must bring an acceptable CD player with head- or earphones to the test center

2) Biology E/M

  • This test includes 60 multiple-choice general knowledge questions and 20 multiple-choice questions concentrating on either Ecological (Biology E) or Molecular (Biology M) subject matter
  • Students get to choose which subject matter they are most comfortable with and move on to that section after having completed the 60 multiple-choice questions

3) Chemistry

  • This test contains more or less five questions asking the students to evaluate related statements based on predicting chemical reactions and/or equation balancing
  • Answers to these questions are filled out in a special section of the answer sheet labeled “Chemistry”

4) Mathematics Level I and Level II

  • Students must bring at least a scientific or graphing calculator to the testing center
  • These tests are developed with the expectation that most students will be using a graphing calculator

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