If you’re thinking about applying to college, chances are you’re thinking about the SAT Subject Tests. You might be wondering what these exams are, how many of them you need to take, or which schools require them. For more information about these tests and which schools require them for your application, read on!

 

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

 

The SAT Subject Tests, which used to be called and are sometimes still referred to as the SAT IIs, are multiple choice exams administered by the College Board that test students on specific subjects. There are 20 different tests in 5 subject areas: English, History, Languages, Math, and Science. Each test is an hour long, and students who take Subject Tests will receive a score between 200 and 800 on each exam.

 

Most of the SAT Subject Tests will test your knowledge of subject material at a high school level, so typically the best way to prepare for one of these exams is to take high school classes on the subject being tested. You can find more information on SAT subject tests on the College Board page.

What do different standardized testing policies mean?

 

If a school’s SAT Subject Test policy is required, this means that you must take the SAT Subject Tests. Most colleges will require one SAT Subject Test, whereas more selective schools will sometimes require two. In some cases, schools will accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT and Subject Tests. When in doubt, you should always check your individual schools’ testing policies—this information can typically be found on their admissions website.

 

Recommended means that it’s up to you whether or not your choose to send your SAT Subject Tests scores—or even take the exams! This being said, if subject test scores are “recommended” (especially if they are “very strongly recommended”), then there isn’t all that much of a difference from these scores being required.  If you take the SAT Subject Tests and receive a less-than-optimal score that you think may negatively affect your application, you may want to consider withholding your scores. However, keep in mind that if you don’t send your tests scores, you will be at a slight to substantial disadvantage, so it’s probably worth putting in the time and effort to ensure that you do well.

 

Considered mean that SAT Subject Tests are not required, but a school may look at your scores and factor them into their evaluation of your application if you choose to send them. Again, if your scores are particularly high, then this might be a good time to show them off—especially if the Subject Test you did well in is one that relates to your future career goals or what you’re hoping to study in college.

 

Some schools have alternative testing policies that are unique and flexible. These policies will vary from school to school, so you should check your individual school’s’ websites for more information.

 

Schools that require SAT subject tests

 

This is a list of schools which require that their applicants send their SAT Subject Test scores. You can find a complete list of schools that consider SAT subject test scores here. If you are very curious about a specific school and you can’t find information about their testing policy either on their website or on the College Board website, be sure to reach out to them directly.

 

  • Boston University: SAT Subject Test scores are generally considered but not required; however, for some special programs, Subject Tests are required. BU’s accelerated medical and dental programs require subject tests in Chemistry and Math 2. A Subject Test in a foreign language is also recommended for these programs.

 

  • Bowdoin College: SAT Subject Test scores are just considered for most applicants, but two are required for students who were home schooled or who attended a high school without grades. Bowdoin is, overall, test optional, except for the special cases listed above.Submitting SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests is optional, but scores will be considered if submitted. Applicants for whom Subject Tests are required should take Math Level I or II and a science.

 

 

  • CalTech: requires two SAT Subject Tests in specific subject areas: students must take Math Level 2 and one subject test in Biology (Ecological), Biology (Molecular), Chemistry, or Physics.

 

  • Carnegie Mellon University: two Subject Tests are required with some exceptions; two SAT Subject Tests are required, in addition to the SAT/ACT, except for the College of Fine Arts.

 

  • Cooper Union: requires two Subject Tests for engineers only. One must be in Math (Level 1 or 2) and the other must be in either Physics or Chemistry. Architecture and Art applicants are not required to submit Subject Test scores.

 

  • Cornell University: requires two Subject Tests.



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  • George Washington University: Subject Test scores are considered but required for some special programs; two SAT Subject Tests in science and mathematics are required for the Seven Year BA/MD program. The Honors Program also recommends two Subject Tests.

 

  • Harvard College: two Subject Tests are required except in special circumstances. According to Harvard’s website, “While we normally require two SAT Subject Tests, you may apply without them if the cost of taking the tests represents a financial hardship or if you prefer to have your application considered without them…If your first language is not English, a Subject Test in your first language may be less helpful.”

 

  • Harvey Mudd College: requires two Subject Tests. One must be in Math Level 2; the other can be in any subject the student chooses.

 

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: requires two. Specific tests are required: Math (Level 1 or Level 2) and a science. According to MIT’s website, they “do not have a preference as to which” science and math Subject Test you choose.

 

  • McGill University: requires two Subject Tests as well as the SAT Reasoning Test, for most programs, OR ACT with Writing.

 

  • Pratt Institute: considered, but required for Bachelor of Architecture applicants, whom the Institute recommends take the Math Level 1 or Level 2 Subject Test.

 

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Subject Tests are only considered for most, but required for special programs; applicants to the accelerated program must submit 2 SAT Subject Tests (1 math and 1 science).

 

  • Rice University: requires two Subject Tests in fields related to your proposed area of study.

 

  • Tufts University: requires two Subject Tests OR ACT with Writing. Engineering applicants submitting Subject Tests are advised to take math and either physics or chemistry. Students considering a major in mathematics or the sciences are advised to take math and a science test.

 

  • Union College: only considered for most, but required for special programs. Students applying to the Leadership in Medicine program are required to submit 1 math and 1 science Subject Test along with the SAT. Alternatively, applicants can submit the ACT in lieu of both SAT and Subject Tests.

 

  • University of Miami: only considered for most, but required for special programs; Honors Program in Medicine and Honors Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology require minimum scores of 600 on a math Subject Test and on a science Subject Test.

 

  • Webb Institute: requires two Subject Tests in addition to the SAT/ACT. Specific tests are required: Math Level 1 or 2 and Chemistry or Physics.

 

  • Wellesley College: requires two Subject Tests plus the SAT Reasoning Test, OR ACT with Writing. At least one quantitative Subject Test strongly recommended to students pursuing math or sciences.

 

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Devin Barricklow

Devin Barricklow

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Devin Barricklow is a Political Science and Creative Writing double major at Columbia University. She’s really excited to be able to share her expertise about the college process with students who need advice. When she isn’t writing for CollegeVine, she enjoys reading the poems of Mary Oliver, going to concerts in the city, or cooking (preferably something with lots of bok choy and ginger).
Devin Barricklow