• a year ago •
Admissions Advice

SAT Subject Tests?


I've been wondering for a while what SAT subject tests are. I have several sub questions related to this topic, so don't feel like you have to answer all of them at once, but a comprehensive answer would be greatly appreciated.

- Is there any specific benefit to them?

- Are they like AP tests?

- Are they crucial in applications for more competitive schools?

Thank you so much, and have a wonderful day!


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Accepted Answer
• a year ago

"SAT Subject Tests are 20 multiple-choice standardized tests given by the College Board on individual subjects. They are typically taken to improve a student's credentials for admission to colleges in the United States."

Basically, they are specific subject tests that you take. Some colleges require none, some need 1, 2, etc. Check out this article to see which schools want them: https://blog.prepscholar.com/complete-list-of-colleges-that-require-sat-subject-tests

Nine of these tests cover four core subject areas—English literature, history, math, and science:


US History

World History

Math Level 1

Math Level 2

Biology — Ecological

Biology — Molecular



The other 12 Subject Tests cover nine different languages. Half of these tests have a listening component:


French with Listening


German with Listening


Spanish with Listening

Modern Hebrew



Chinese with Listening

Japanese with Listening

Korean with Listening

There is definitely a benefit here! Taking one SAT Subject Test is good, 2 is great, and 3 sets you apart from other candidates.

For your question of are AP's like SAT II's:

"AP Tests measure a student's mastery of college-level subject matter through questions that touch on the main points of a year-long AP curriculum. Your AP Test scores validate the hard work you did in class and confirm that you learned the material. The dean of admissions at Harvard says, "We have found that the best predictors [of grades] at Harvard are Advanced Placement tests and International Baccalaureate Exams, closely followed by the College Board subject tests." Students who do well on AP Tests are likely to be successful in college classes, so selective schools are interested in them for their predictive value.

AP Test scores also help admissions officers decide whether your grades are an accurate reflection of your academic ability. If you got a 1 on the test but an A in the class, the class was probably way too easy. If you got a 5 on the test but a B- in the class, the class was probably very challenging. This will affect the judgments that admissions officers make about your potential.

Your AP scores also make a difference in whether or not you earn college credit for the work you did in your AP class. At most schools, an AP score of 4 or 5 will either lead to college credit or allow you to place out of introductory college courses.

SAT Subject Tests are slightly different because they measure students' readiness for college-level work. SAT Subject Tests are sometimes used to place students out of courses in college, but you can't earn college credits for doing well on them. They're also less relevant for predicting college grades, although they still have some value.

Since SAT Subject Tests don't correspond with specific classes on your transcript, they can be used to emphasize your abilities in the subjects that are most relevant to what you plan on studying in college. Colleges view subject tests as assessments of how much you learned in high school and where your academic strengths lie."

For which one is harder:

'Most students find the material on AP Tests to be more difficult than the material on SAT Subject Tests because it's intended for students who are working at a college level. AP Tests also require more stamina. As a rule, essays are almost always harder than multiple-choice questions because you have to come up with an answer entirely on your own.'

For competitive schools, they are definitely crucial, I highly recommend you take them.

Have a great day!


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