SAT Subject Tests- Learn More!

Academic Subjects(Blog post adapted from our UK office)

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

  • The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour long multiple choice tests offered in 20 different subjects.
  • Subjects cover English, history, mathematics, sciences, and languages.

Which universities require Subject Tests?

  • Research your target universities! Browse the admissions pages of each of your target universities to find out their specific requirements. Some schools will allow students to substitute the ACT for Subject Tests (e.g. Brown). Others will take Subject Tests in lieu of all other standardized tests (e.g. NYU). Others don’t require Subject Tests at all (e.g. University of Chicago). Most admissions pages will tell you what they are looking for in terms of exams and scores. A-List College Advisors are here to help!

How many do I need?

  • 2-3. Most universities that require SAT Subject Tests will ask students to take two tests. A few colleges, such as Georgetown University, require students to take three.

Which subjects should I take?

  • Check the university requirements. Some universities will require specific subjects that correspond to an area of study. Engineering programs, for example, will typically require a student to take Math 2 and Physics.
  • Go with your strengths! When in doubt, go with what you are the most prepared for: where possible, try to match the SAT Subject with your honors or AP subjects. However, not every subject will match up. See our handy guide for a few of the subjects here:
    • Math 1 vs Math 2
      • Taking pre-calculus or higher? Then you should definitely be considering the Math 2 exam. You’ll be ready for much of the content that you’ll see on the test, but there will be some gaps to address.
      • If you are not currently taking advanced math but did well in your class, the Math 1 test is the way to go.
    • Languages
      • If you’re taking a language in honors or AP, you will be well-prepared for the SAT Subject Test in that language, provided you allocate some time for extra vocabulary practice.
      • Vorsicht! Some languages, such as German and Italian, are only offered on certain test dates (see dates in link below).

When should I take them?

  • Check the dates. The good news is, you can take up to three SAT Subject Tests in one day.  However, the Subject Tests fall on the same date as the SAT, meaning that students won’t be able to take both exams on the same day. In addition, students can only take certain subjects, such as language with listening, on specific SAT exam dates throughout the year. See the College Board website (hyperlink: for more information.

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