SAT Subject Tests
SAT Subject Tests were 20 multiple-choice standardized tests given by the College Board on individual subjects, typically taken to improve a student's credentials for college admissions in the United States. On January 19, 2021, the College Board discontinued Subject Tests. This was effective immediately in the United States, and the tests were to be phased out by the following summer for international students.
There were 20 different tests in 2020, the last year in which subject tests were offered, 12 of which being in foreign languages. Examinees were required to bring an acceptable calculator to take the Mathematics tests (calculators were not permitted on any other test), and a CD player to take the language with listening tests.
|Test||Subject||Mean score (2016)||Standard deviation (2016)||Number of Students (2016)||Notes|
|SAT Subject Test in Literature||Literature||599||122||57,761|
|SAT Subject Test in United States History||U.S. History||624||115||66,967||Formerly American History and Social Studies|
|SAT Subject Test in World History||World History||615||109||15,542||Formerly European History and World Cultures|
|SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1||Mathematics||599||116||66,058||Formerly Math I or IC. Basic algebra and geometry such as monomials, polynomials, and the Pythagorean theorem are assessed in the beginning of the exam before progressing into basic trigonometry, algebraic functions, elementary statistics and a few miscellaneous topics.|
|SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2||Mathematics||690||101||145,140||Formerly Math II or IIC. Consists of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, statistics and a few miscellaneous topics. 20% of all test takers reportedly attain the highest score, 800.|
|SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M||Biology||616 (E)
|72,196 in total,
|Students have a choice of taking either an ecological ("E") or molecular ("M") biology oriented test.|
|SAT Subject Test in Chemistry||Chemistry||668||104||71,173|
|SAT Subject Test in Physics||Physics||667||104||56,751|
|SAT Subject Test in Chinese with Listening||Chinese||761||66||4,925|
|SAT Subject Test in French||French||634||121||6,800|
|SAT Subject Test in French with Listening||French||664||113||1,533|
|SAT Subject Test in German||German||636||124||621|
|SAT Subject Test in German with Listening||German||629||121||479|
|SAT Subject Test in Modern Hebrew||Modern Hebrew||614||145||344|
|SAT Subject Test in Italian||Italian||677||114||488|
|SAT Subject Test in Japanese with Listening||Japanese||704||116||1,317|
|SAT Subject Test in Korean with Listening||Korean||764||64||1,891|
|SAT Subject Test in Latin||Latin||632||109||2,483|
|SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening||Spanish||660||108||2,914|
Many colleges used the SAT Subject Tests for admission, course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specified the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take. Students typically choose which tests to take depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools to which they planned to apply. From their introduction in 1937 until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests, and until January 2005, they were known as SAT II: Subject Tests. They are still commonly known by these names. Every test was a one-hour timed test. Historically, the exception to the one-hour time was the writing test, which was divided into a 20-minute essay question and a 40-minute multiple-choice section. The writing test was discontinued in January 2005.
Tests discontinued earlier
- Writing Subject Test
- English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)
These were discontinued after January 2005 when the SAT II in Writing was incorporated into the SAT.
Scoring and admissions
Each individual test was scored on a scale of 200 to 800; however, on some of the tests it was impossible to get a 200. For example, if someone got every question wrong on the Mathematics Level 2 test, they could receive a score of 310, depending on the test-specific curve.  The only exception was the ELPT, which was scored on a scale of 901 to 999.
Prior to the first administration of the new SAT Reasoning Test (which includes the writing section) in March 2005, some highly selective colleges required applicants to take three SAT Subject Tests, including the writing test and two other tests of the applicant's choosing, in addition to the SAT. However, with writing now a standard component of the SAT Reasoning Test, most selective colleges recommend applicants to submit scores for any two SAT Subject Tests. Engineering schools may recommend or require Chemistry or Physics and Math Level 2. No schools require three Subject Tests and Georgetown is the only remaining school to 'strongly recommend' taking three Subject Tests.
Schools also varied with regard to their SAT Subject Test requirements of students submitting scores for the ACT in place of the SAT: some schools considered the ACT an alternative to both the SAT and some SAT Subject Tests, whereas others accepted the ACT but required SAT Subject Tests as well. Information about a school's specific test requirements could typically be found on its official website.
In October 2002, the College Board decided to drop the "Score Choice" option for exams, due to the fact that it disproportionally benefited wealthier students taking the exam who could afford to take it multiple times. Score Choice means that scores are not released to colleges until the student approves the score after seeing it. However, the "Score Choice" option was reinstated as of the March 2009 test, meaning test takers again have the ability to choose whether or not to send scores.
The answer sheet had room for 115 answers; however, no test had more than 95 questions. 1–100 were standard multiple-choice bubbles and 101–115 were for 'relationship analysis questions', which were only used for the chemistry exam. The biology test was the only test to use answers 96–100; questions 1–60 were common to both the E and M tests, in addition, the E used 61–80, and the M used 81–100.
The subject tests and the optional SAT essay was discontinued on January 19, 2021, and will be discontinued in June 2021 for international students. This was done as a response to changes in college admissions due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. The discontinuation was also due to favor over Advanced Placement courses and its exams. CollegeBoard will be refunding students who registered for subject tests prior to the discontinuation and allow free cancellation of the subject tests for international students and the essay.
- Nick Anderson, College Board is scrapping SAT’s optional essay and subject tests, Washington Post (January 19, 2021).
- "Test Day Checklist". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- "Calculator Policy". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- "CD Player Guidance". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- "SAT Subject Tests Percentile Ranks 2016 College-Bound Seniors" (PDF). The College Board. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
- "Math 1 - SAT Subject Test Math Level 1 Practice Questions". collegeboard.com.
- "Math 2 - SAT Subject Test Math Level 2 Practice Questions". collegeboard.com.
- Real SAT Subject Tests
- "Prospective Freshman FAQ". Berkeley Engineering. University of California – Berkeley. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
Engineering applicants are also strongly encouraged to take the SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2 and a SAT Subject Test in science (Biology E.M., Chemistry or Physics) in order to be as competitive as possible.
- "Standardized Test Requirements & Policies". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
CIT: Carnegie Institute of Technology / Two SAT Subject Tests: Math Level I or II, Physics or Chemistry
- "Instructions & Preparation". Duke University. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
Applicants to the Pratt School of Engineering who take the SAT must take one SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2). Applicants to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences who take the SAT may take any two SAT Subject Tests.
- "Tests & Scores". Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Retrieved 16 October 2013.
In addition, we require two SAT Subject Tests: one in math (level 1 or 2), and one in science (physics, chemistry, or biology e/m). We do not have a preference as to which science you take or which level math you take.
- "Stanford: FRESHMAN APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS, 2013 – 2014" (PDF). Stanford University. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
SAT Subject Tests: ...Recommended but not required
- Safier, Rebecca (2 August 2018). "Complete List: Colleges That Require SAT Subject Tests". PrepScholar.
Complete List: Colleges That Require SAT Subject Tests
- "Standardized Tests". www.admissions.caltech.edu. Caltech. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Schoenfeld, Jane (24 May 2002). "College board drops 'score choice' for SAT-II exams". St. Louis Business Journal.
- "Score Choice™: SAT Score-Reporting Policy". College Board.
- Aspegren, Elinor. "Adjusting to 'new realities' in admissions process, College Board eliminates SAT's optional essay and subject tests". USA TODAY.
- "College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT with Essay – College Board Blog". blog.collegeboard.org.
- College Board's descriptions of the SAT Subject Tests.
- College Board Examination and Test Dates
- SAT Fees