What are SAT Subject Tests? | Winward Academy

SAT Subject Tests

What are the subjects offered?

SAT Subject Tests are offered for Literature, Biology Ecology/Molecular, Chemistry, Phsycis, U.S. History, World History, Math Level 1, Math Level 1, Chinese, French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. Listening tests are offered only in November for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.

How long are they?

Each subject test is 60 minutes. With 1.5x extended time, students get 90 minutes for each test.

How many can you take in one sitting?

You can take up to three subject tests on one testing day, and you can change your mind about which you want to take right up until the morning you arrive at the testing site. If you’re registered for Literature and Spanish, you can show up the morning of and switch to Math Level 2 and Biology – as long as you paid for two, you can take two. The only exception to this rule is with the Language with Listening tests, because they require additional equipment during the testing and are only offered in November.

Should you guess?

The SAT Subject Tests take away a fraction of a point for each wrong answer: 1/4 point for each error (5-choice questions), 1/3 point for each error (4-choice questions), and 1/2 point for each error (3-choice questions). No points are deducted for blank questions, so you should not guess randomly, but instead only guess if you can use informed decisions to eliminate answer choices before guessing. Special note: remember the SAT does not deduct points for wrong answers. These point deductions just occur for SAT Subject Tests.

Are there specific tests to take depending on a declared major?

In general, it’s recommended to take SAT Subject Tests in the areas that match your stated academic interests and declared major in your application. Students applying to engineering programs frequently report Math Level 2 and a science (usually Physics or Chemistry). Students applying to business programs frequently report Math Level 2 and another test. Students applying to pre-med programs typically report Math Level 2 and a science (Biology or Physics).

When should you take them?

You can’t take SAT Subject Tests and the SAT on the same testing day, so plan ahead carefully for the May and June testing dates if you’re planning to take both the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests at that time. You can’t do them both on the same test date. You will perform the best on subject tests if you take them right after finishing the class on that subject. For example, if you take AP World History your sophomore year, then it would make sense to take the World History subject test in June of your sophomore year, after you’ve studied for the AP exam in that subject. Be sure to double check with your teacher that he or she covered all the material covered on subject tests. It’s possible you’ll need to put in your own time to learn concepts tested on the subject tests that weren’t learned in class.

How are subject tests different from AP tests?

SAT Subject Tests are shorter than APs and are only multiple choice, whereas the AP tests also contain a free-response section. SAT Subject Tests assess knowledge following a year of a “high school” level class, whereas AP Tests assess knowledge following a year of “college” level class. As such, AP tests require more critical thinking and a deeper level of understanding about the subject. SAT Subject Tests will cover a range of topics with less depth than the APs. SAT Subject Tests are, for many students, easier than AP tests, but only when they’re taking subject tests at the same time – or as close as possible – as they’re taking their AP exams (May or June). Many students struggle to remember content from their classes over the summer, so Fall exam times are not as popular for SAT Subject Tests as Spring exam times.

SAT Subject Tests
Months Offered Subject tests are offered in October, November, December, May, June, and August. These are the same test dates that College Board offers the SAT, except for March. Also, not all subjects are offered on all test dates.
Copy of test available Service not offered
Fee for copy of test N/A
Fee to take test $26.00 fixed fee plus $26.00 per listening test and $22.00 per non-listening test
Late Registration Additional $30.00
Change test date or testing center Additional $30.00
Switching test type Additional $30.00 to switch to SAT for the same date
Standby or waitlist* SAT Waitlist is an additional $53.00
Scores released Within 3 weeks
Cost of additional score reports $12.00 each
Calculator Only allowed on Math Subject Tests
Score Verification Service $55.00 to have your multiple choice scored by hand
Cancellation deadline** 11:59 on the Thursday after the exam

* SAT Waitlists close five days before test day. Those on the SAT waiting list are not guaranteed a seat. They should arrive early the morning of the exam and be prepared to wait until all registered test-takers have been seated. Only then will waitlisted or standby students be allowed to test if sufficient materials and seats are available.

** Students with disabilities may have different cancellation deadlines