SAT World History Subject Test

Good day Magoosh readers! Today I’m going to talk to a group of high school students I rarely get to see: freshmen and sophomores! Sorry juniors and seniors, I’ll see you next time! But if you want to stick around for this article, that’s okay, too.

Okay freshmen and sophomores, there’s a special reason I’m talking to you today. I bet you took world history last year, and had to memorize a bunch of kings, dates, and treaties. Even if history isn’t your cup of tea, there’s something you can do with all that knowledge before it fades away over summer break: the SAT World History Subject Test.


SAT World History Subject Test -Magoosh


Before you go running for the hills, consider this. College isn’t that far away in your future, and every test score counts. And wouldn’t it be nice to rack up a few advantages over your peers even before you or anyone you know takes the SAT or ACT? I knew you’d agree. Let’s get started!

What can I expect?

Compared to the SAT, the World History Subject Test is small potatoes. Scored on a 200-800 point scale, the tests consists of ninety-five multiple choice questions. It only takes an hour, too!

Just because it’s short and simple doesn’t mean that the SAT World History Subject Test is easy. If you’re going to do a good job, you need to know what to expect.

What do I need to study?

Short answer: how well did you do in your world history class? If As were the most common letter on your assessments, a few hours of review should do the trick. If lower grades were more common in your experience, pay even closer attention to what the test covers before hitting the books.

No matter your experience, here is some information about eras the test covers that should help you form a study plan:

  • Prehistory to 500 C.E.: 25%.
  • 500 to 1500 C.E.: 20%
  • 1500 to 1900 C.E.: 25%
  • Post 1900s C.E.: 20%
  • Cross-Chronological: 10%

The SAT World History Subject Test might also cover topics not normally covered in high school world history classes. For example, questions about Asia make up 30% of test questions. If your teacher did not focus on Asia (I know I didn’t as a world history teacher), make sure to take a practice test before you create your study plan. Missed questions will reveal any gaps in your knowledge. There are a lot of good resources online, too. In fact, Khan Academy has partnered with SAT to provide amazing world history resources.

What’s a high score good for?

As freshman and sophomores, you probably don’t know everything about the college admissions process. That’s okay. In short, a high score can do a couple of things to help your college admissions game.

The first advantage of having a high score is that it makes you a more competitive candidate. Though good grades and extracurricular activities may make you a shoe-in at a public college, if a private college is in your future, you’re going to need every advantage. Even at colleges that don’t require subject tests, good scores will always give you a boost.

The second advantage is financial. You may already know that high Advanced Placement scores can save you a few bucks in college, but SAT Subject Test scores can, too! Some colleges use subject test scores the same way as AP scores. This practice is not universal, though, so check the fine print as you research colleges.

Final Thoughts

 Well, freshman and sophomore Magoosh readers, we have come to the end of our journey together. I hope you learned a little about the SAT World History Subject Test. And remember, if history isn’t your subject, there are a lot of other subject tests out there. No matter what, get out there and take one this summer!


  • Thomas Broderick

    Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

6 Responses to SAT World History Subject Test

  1. amani April 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    which is better? PR or barrons
    if someone didnt take world history at all

    • David Recine
      David Recine April 18, 2017 at 2:13 am #

      Now that is a tough question. Third party subject test guidebooks aren’t as popular as the guidebooks for the main SAT exam. As a result, there aren’t as many reviews of subject test books. I can tell you that generally, Magoosh has found Barron’s to be a bit more reliable than Princeton review, across many products and many exams. We haven’t analyzed and reviewed the PR or Barron’s guides for the SAT World History subject test. But given the general track record between these two companies on other exams, a Barron’s guide is probably the safer bet. (Note also that the Barron’s guide has better reviews on

  2. Roxane April 2, 2018 at 9:33 am #

    Hello, I’m thinking about taking the SAT World History subject test, but I don’t have world history classes at school. Will it be possible to get a high score with being mostly prepared with Barron’s prep book plus making some practicing tests that can be found on the web?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 2, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      Hi Roxane,

      You should be able to get a good score on the subject test with a prep book, the Official World History Subject Test Materials, and some outside materials like Khan academy to help you cover any gaps in your knowledge. Keep in mind that the subject test is usually taken after a full years’ worth of class, so it might take a while for you to learn everything you need to know for the exam!

  3. Sreekar Kompella May 27, 2019 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi, I’m signed up to take the SAT World History exam on Saturday, June 1st, which is in about 5 days. I haven’t done any preparation at all yet, but I did take AP World History this year (I’m still taking the class but my AP exam is over so I’m not really doing much in the class) and I was wondering how much studying I’m going to have to do to get a 750+ (preferably a 780+). I know I started really late, but is there anything I can do between now and the test date to maximize my score? Probably the biggest issue I have is with the small details that aren’t really covered in AP World History.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 5, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Sreekar! Sorry we didn’t get to this last-minute question in time. I hope your exam went well! In the future, I’d make sure to do at least one practice test over the course of 5 days. Next, make a list of your top 3 weakest areas and make sure to review them. Pay extra attention to any areas that are the most commonly tested, so if you’re only weak on uncommonly tested areas, maybe mix in some common ones. When it comes to studying over the course of just a few days, it’s important to stay organized and use your time wisely for specific, targeted review 🙂

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