What Are They?
SAT Subject Tests test specific knowledge in subject matter. These are one-hour tests and are entrance requirements for some selective colleges. Students should take these tests as late as possible in the sequence of their course curriculum or at the conclusion of the related courses.
In particular, juniors thinking of majoring in math or science related fields should consider taking the subject test at the conclusion of their current math or science classes. Math students need to check college admission requirements and confer with their teachers concerning the math level IC or level IIC option. (For the UC system, only Math IIC is accepted.) Both levels require at least a scientific calculator. Review your strengths. If Spanish is your strong point, take the Spanish subject test when you complete the course. Even though you can select your testing subjects at the test site on the day of the test, you would be well advised to have your test choice and sequence in mind.
If taking the SAT Subject Tests, students are encouraged to take them in the spring of their junior years. Students can take up to three subject matter tests in different areas in one morning (the least expensive way). Note that SAT and SAT subject tests dates and times are the same - you cannot take both on the same day. You must plan ahead to be assured that all of your testing is completed in time to satisfy your college application deadlines.
Are SAT Subject Tests Required?
CSU and UC schools do not require SAT subject tests. Although UC's do not require SAT subject tests, some campuses recommend that students submit SAT Subject Test scores to be considered for admission - especially for certain majors. The UC system indicates that students will not be penalized for failing to take the SAT Subject Tests. On the other hand, submission of test scores may add positively to the review of their application--especially for selective campuses and majors.
Some private colleges do require students to complete 2 of the SAT subject tests. Students may choose from the following subjects: literature, math, history, science, and world language. If required, the exams must be in different disciplines and must be completed by December of the senior year.
The Compass Education Group's website provides a list of colleges that require, recommend, or consider the SAT Subject Test scores as part of the admissions process. Some colleges accept the ACT in lieu of SAT Subject tests. On the chart above, colleges that require SAT subject tests, and have an asterisk, may allow students to to take the ACT in lieu of subject tests.