Why Take the SAT Subject Tests

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Find out if SAT Subject Tests are right for you

Why SAT Subject Tests

It’s all up to you. SAT Subject Tests are the only national admissions tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your achievements and interests. This provides you with an opportunity to focus on what makes you uniquely qualified and to put your best foot forward. You can even change your mind about which test to take on the actual test day, if you want (except for listening tests).

May be required or recommended

Some colleges require or recommend one or more SAT Subject Tests as part of the application, especially in specific majors or program of study. Each year, nearly one million SAT Subject Tests are taken by students around the world for admission to some of the leading colleges and universities in the U.S. Find out if the colleges or universities that you’re interested in require or recommend SAT Subject Tests: College Search.

Stand out to colleges

Many colleges that don’t require or recommend Subject Tests will still consider them when reviewing your application. By taking one or more SAT Subject Tests, you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself and provide a more complete picture about your academic abilities and interests. If you’re interested in particular subjects or programs of study, Subject Tests allow you to highlight your strengths in these areas.

Leverage existing knowledge and further exhibit your strengths

Because the SAT Subject Tests are based on material learned in high school classrooms, the best way to prepare for them is by learning the topics in the courses that you’re already taking. If you’re doing well in these courses or taking advanced level courses (e.g., honors, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, IB), Subject Tests are an excellent opportunity for you to show your understanding of the subject area.

ESL and international students can showcase achievement

If English is not your best language, SAT Subject Tests may be even more important for you. They provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate achievement in subject areas that are not as reliant on English language mastery, such as math, science, or foreign languages.

If you speak another language or learned another language outside of the traditional high school classroom, SAT Subject Tests are an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your bilingual (or multilingual) skills. Some colleges will even allow you to fulfill foreign language competency requirements. Please be sure to check with the colleges that you’re interested in regarding their policies on SAT Subject Tests in foreign languages.

Homeschooled students

Some colleges and universities may require or recommend SAT Subject Tests for homeschooled students to provide additional insight into their academic readiness for college. If you’re a homeschooled student, be sure to check the specific policies for the institutions that you’re interested in. Beyond fulfilling college application requirements, SAT Subject Tests can also help homeschooled students better understand how well they’ve learned the subject matter as compared to students across the country and even the world.

Demonstrate what you’ve learned outside of the high school classroom

Since information regarding knowledge gained through extracurricular means (e.g., summer enrichment programs, weekend classes, distance learning programs, self-study) will likely not show up on your high school transcript, SAT Subject Tests are an excellent way for you to demonstrate what you’ve learned through participation in these programs.

Get a head start in college

Some colleges and universities use SAT Subject Test scores to place students into the right courses. This can potentially include:

  • Placing out of introductory college classes; some colleges may even grant credit for good performance on the SAT Subject Tests
  • Satisfying basic requirements for certain majors or programs of study
  • Helping students select the course levels that are most appropriate for them

Selecting the right courses at the start of your college experience is extremely important to helping you build confidence and transition to the expectations of college. Subject Tests provide an opportunity for you to start managing this early so you can increase your chances for college success.

Have more questions about SAT Subject Tests? Check out our FAQs page to learn more.

SAT Subject Tests

Should you take an SAT Subject Test?

The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do.

Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specify the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.

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