Why You Should Take SAT Subject Tests

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    SAT Subject Tests are basically content-based exams that test your knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. College Board currently offers subject tests in 20 subjects including math, English, science topics, and nine different languages including Spanish, French, German, and more. Like the SAT, the tests are offered at various times during the year. 

    You can use the following link to see when tests are offered, and the deadlines for registration: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/register/test-dates-deadlines  

    (Source: CollegeReadiness) 

    Why are Subject Tests Important?

    • These optional exams can greatly help your college application. They can show mastery of material that is relevant to your proposed major, help make up for low AP scores or grades in certain classes, and even help you earn college credit. Subject tests are actually required by some universities, usually to show preparation for a planned course of study.  
    • The following is a link to a list of different universities that require and/or strongly recommend subject tests: https://blog.prepscholar.com/complete-list-of-colleges-that-require-sat-subject-tests  

    (Source: PrepScholar) 

    How to Choose Subjects

    You should first check the universities you may consider applying to, to see if any of them have specific requirements about subject tests. For example, a university may require a math and science subject test if you’re applying for an engineering major.  

    If there are no specific requirements, you can consider the following when choosing a subject(s) to register for:  

    • What subjects are relevant to your major so that you can show mastery of the material? 
    • What subjects are you good at, which would result in a higher subject test score?  
      • Note that many tests have curves based on student performance – for example, the average score for Math Level II tests is around 690 out of 800, because the test is usually curved so much  
    • Are there any classes you need to make up low scores or grades for?  
      • For example, you might not have done well in a physics class, but studying again for the physics subject test and earning a solid score can show improvement  
    • Can you earn college credit for a minimum score in any subjects?  
      • Research the universities you’re applying to by Googling “[university name] SAT subject tests”, which will show you if there’s a college credit advantage to taking subject tests – this can save a lot of money and time in college  

    Most students usually take 1-3 tests and may take different subjects for different reasons. For example, a student might take Math Level II because they’re applying for Engineering, Spanish to earn college credit, and maybe US History because it’s one of their strengths considering the class they took. 

    How to Register

    The steps to register for SAT Subject tests are similar to that of registering for the SAT, as you will need to use your official College Board account:

    1. Visit https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/register
    2. Go to the “Test Dates and Deadlines” tab to check for the next testing days
    3. In the “Test Date” column, you will see different dates and the various tests offered on those dates
    4. Choose a date and click “Register”
    5. You will need to log into your College Board account to continue with the sign-up process
    6. Have a valid photo ID and payment on hand
    7. Go through and fill out the personal data, and choose a test center
    8. Upload your photo ID and finish payment
    9. Print out your ticket and save the page – you’ll take this to your testing center


    The best way to prepare for most SAT Subject tests is by studying in that subject area throughout the school year, and even by preparing for AP exams (if you’re taking your subject tests at the end of the year). 

    The following are some resources to help you get started with preparing for the subject tests:  

    Sean Fowler


    Aerospace Engineering at UMD, intending to specialize in aeronautics with a focus on aerospace structures and design.


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