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SAT Subject Tests


What do the Subject Tests look like?

All Subject Tests are one-hour, multiple-choice tests. However, some of these tests have unique formats:

The Subject Test in Biology E/M contains a common core of 60 general-knowledge multiple-choice questions, followed by 20 multiple-choice questions that emphasize either ecological (Biology E) or molecular (Biology M) subject matter. After completing the core questions, you may choose the section for which you feel most prepared.

The Subject Tests in Mathematics (Level 1 and Level 2) have some questions that require the use of at least a scientific or graphing calculator. You would need to have a Graphing calculator if you want to prepare for this test.

The Subject Tests in Languages with Listening (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish) consist of a listening section and a reading section. Students taking these tests are required to bring an acceptable CD player with earphones to the test center.


Which Subject Tests should I take?

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 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 Subject Test.

Some schools, such as Stanford University, require that one of those tests be a math test. Engineering schools typically require a science test and prefer Math Level 2. A handful of the most competitive schools, such as Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Georgetown University, still require three Subject tests in addition to the SAT. It is important to consult the school's website to find out more information about Subject test requirements.

Many colleges that don't require Subject Test scores will still review them since they can give a fuller picture of your academic background.

If you're not sure which Subject Test to take from a subject area, talk to your teacher or school counselor. The following College Handbook would also be helpful:

This guide contains information on every accredited college in the U.S. 2,000 four-year colleges and universities, and 1,600 two-year community colleges and technical schools. It is the fastest and easiest way for students to narrow their college searches and zero in on the schools that are right for them. Entries are clearly laid out, making it easy to compare schools.

How many times can I take the Subject Tests?

You can take the test as many times as you want. However, your score report will show your current test score, in addition to scores for up to six Subject Test administrations. You cannot select which Subject Tests to send to a given institution. So, only take the Tests again if you are confident that you will improve from your last scores.

Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.

You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.

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