What is an SAT Subject Test?

Most students already know that the SAT Reasoning test is awaiting them long before they make it to their junior/senior year. I know for me, the SAT Reasoning test was looming over my head since my first day of high school. But even as someone who had the SAT Reasoning in mind for so long, what I didn’t know was that there were also these little things called SAT Subject Tests!


The fact is that many 4 year colleges require students to submit anywhere from 1-3 separate SAT Subject Tests in order to be considered for admission.

So what are the SAT subject tests exactly? According to the College Board website, the “Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas where you excel.” There are 20 different subject tests offered that range from world languages, history, literature, mathematics, and sciences. This means you really do have the freedom to pick your strongest or favorite school subject. You will really get to emphasize your strong suits/interests to college admissions officers if you end up scoring well on the 800-point scale.

Now What?

So now you know what SAT Subject Tests are, the next thing you need to know is how to go about them! I would say there are 2 ways to go about them. The first way is how many of my peers did it and the second way is how I did it.

The First Way: If you are aware of SAT Subject Tests from the get go of entering high school, you’ll be able to knock out subject tests really easily. For example if you are a high school sophomore and you just took a chemistry class and rocked it, go ahead and sign up to take the SAT Subject Chemistry Test at the end of your sophomore year. Even if you didn’t rock the class, consider how comfortable you are with the material and think of the advantage you get from having all the chemistry madness fresh in your mind. If you decide to take the test and get a satisfactory score, than boom you have already knocked out 1 subject test after your sophomore year. Yaaas girl!


The Second Way: You realize your second semester junior year that you need 2 SAT Subject Test scores to submit in order to apply to colleges you like. First thing is don’t stress! I was in the exact same situation and it is nothing to fret about. Sure it would have been nice to already have SAT Subject Tests under your belt but it is not a big deal. Remember, Subject Tests are only an hour long and you get to choose any subject of your choice. It will be a cake walk once you make a game plan. Be sure to allot more time studying for a subject that you may have been awesome at 2 years ago but need a little review in. Consider purchasing specific SAT Subject Test Prep Books that can be found online for SUPER cheap prices or just digging up an old textbook from the school library. And make sure you promptly sign up for your test date online like you would for the SAT Reasoning Test. Everything will turn out fine!


Last Things to Note

There are free practice questions for YOUR specific subject test courtesy of College Board. This can also help you figure out which subjects tests you may need the least preparation in if you feel crunched for time. 

You can even find other sample practice tests on the Google machine that are offered for free.

!Important! Make sure you check that the specific subject test you want to take is available on a certain date. Some SAT Subject Tests are only offered a few times a year whereas others are available on any date. Also know that you can in fact take multiple SAT Subject Tests in one day. You just aren’t allowed to take SAT Subject Tests AND the 3-hour SAT Reasoning Test on the same day.



  • Myka Yamasaki

    Myka will be attending Occidental College (located in Los Angeles) in the fall and is very excited! She is looking forward to reflecting on her high school experience to help others do their best on the SAT/ACT and in college admissions. She loves cats, food, and friends.

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

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