SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge. The SAT Subject Tests are the only national admissions tests that give you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content in specific subjects, such as English, history, mathematics, science, and various foreign languages. 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 allowapplicants to choose which tests to take. These tests give you and colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared you are for college-level work in particular subjects. Used in combination with other background information (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a dependable measure of your academic achievement and are a good predictor of future college performance in specific subject areas. The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do. SAT Subject Tests fall into five general subject areas: English, History,, Mathematics, Science and Languages. All SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, multiple choice tests. However, some of these tests have unique formats.

Before deciding which tests to take, make a list of the colleges you’re considering. Then review school catalogs, College Search Engines, or College Handbooks to find out whether the schools require scores for admission and, if so, how many tests and in which subjects. Use your list of colleges and their admission requirements to help plan your high school course schedule. You may want to adjust your schedule in light of colleges’ requirements. For example, a college may require a score from a SAT Subject Test in a language for admission, or the college might exempt you from a freshman course requirement if you do well on a language SAT Subject Test. Many colleges that don’t require SAT Subject Test scores will still review them since they can give a fuller picture of your academic background. If you’re not sure which SAT Subject Test to take from a subject area, talk to your teacher or school counselor and visit the Subject Tests Preparation Center.

Most students take SAT Subject Tests toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year. Take tests such as World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject, while the material is still fresh in your mind. If you take such courses in your freshman or sophomore year, and you are eligible for fee waivers, you can request a fee waiver to test before your junior year. For foreign language tests, you’ll do better after at least two years of study.

The tests are one-hour, primarily multiple choice, curriculum-based assessments of knowledge and skills in particular subject areas. A list of colleges that require or recommend SAT Subject Tests appears in The College Board College Handbook. 

College-bound juniors need to determine if they have to take any SAT Subject Tests. The registration process can be lengthy and should be completed at www.collegeboard.com. A limited number of fee waivers are available for students with free or reduced lunch. The Lynn English High School College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) code is 221265. Make sure that you take advantage of the free score reports that you can send to a limited number of colleges/universities.

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