SAT Subject Tests

  • SAT Subject Tests
    So, Are the SAT Subject Tests Dead?
    The answer, in a nutshell, is – NO! It is true that the UC system has now made the Subject Tests optional. However, there are still many colleges (i.e. Ivy League and other highly selective universities - see the list at the bottom of this page). Many of the schools who don't require them, they do invite a student to submit Subject Test scores if they feel the score(s) will help their application. In fact, this is the approach the UC’s are now taking with the Subject tests. The UC policy allows individual campuses to “recommend” that students submit Subject tests. Furthermore, several UC majors (like Engineering) do still require one or more Subject tests like the Math Level 2 and/or a science-related Subject Test. For more details on the UC's SAT Subject test, recommendations go to their website:

    selectSo, there really is no downside for students to continue to take the Subject tests. If a student scores well (i.e. in the 600+ range), they have the option of sending the scores and having it potentially help their application. If they don’t score well, they simply don’t send it!



    • Literature

    History and Social Studies

    • U.S. History (formerly American History and Social Studies)
    • World History


    • Math Level 1 (formerly Math IC)
    • Math Level 2 (formerly Math IIC)

    Note: The UC system, along with Stanford, MIT, CalTech, Harvey Mudd and most highly selective schools no longer accept the Math Level 1


    • Biology E/M
    • Chemistry
    • Physics


    • Chinese with Listening
    • French
    • French with Listening
    • German
    • German with Listening
    • Spanish
    • Spanish with Listening
    • Modern Hebrew
    • Italian
    • Latin
    • Japanese with Listening
    • Korean with Listening

    More on the SAT Subject Tests
    When Should Students take the SAT Subject Tests?
    The best time to take these tests is at the point in the student’s High School career where they are the most knowledgeable in that subject.  For example, for students choosing to take the American History or Chemistry elective tests - the end of the Junior year would be best since most students take these classes in the 11th grade. For tests such as Biology or World History, it would be best for most students to take them at the end of their sophomore year - when they are taking those classes. Please refer to the following link on the College Board website for an overview of the Subject Tests:
    Should students do test preparation for the Subject Tests?
    In truth, the best preparation for the Subject Tests is the studying students are already doing as they take these subjects during the regular school year. However, it is still wise for students to familiarize themselves with the test materials, and most Test Preparation services do have preparation classes for many of these tests. Plus the College Board itself has test preparatory materials available at the following link on their website:
    Colleges that Require or Strongly Recommend SAT Subject Tests:
    Boston University (some programs)
    Brown University
    California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
    Carnegie Mellon University (requirements vary by school)
    Cooper Union (some programs)
    Cornell University (some programs)
    Dartmouth College (recommended, not required)
    Duke University (strongly recommended)
    George Washington University (required of some dual degree programs only)
    Harvard University (strongly recommended)
    Harvey Mudd College
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Notre Dame (Indiana) (homeschooled applicants must take 3 SAT II or AP exams)
    New York University (NYU) (but SAT, ACT, IB or AP exams can substitute for SAT Subject Tests)
    Princeton University (strongly recommended)
    Rice University (not required if submitting the ACT)
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (only for accelerated programs in law or medicine)
    Stevens Institute of Technology (some programs)
    Swarthmore College (encouraged for engineering applicants)
    Tufts University (most programs)
    University of California -- The state system has changed its policy to read, "While SAT Subject Tests are not required, some campuses recommend that students vying for slots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency." You can get more information here.
    The University of Pennsylvania (recommended)
    Vassar College (scores will be considered, but are not required)
    Washington and Lee University (recommended for home-schooled applicants)
    Webb Institute
    Wellesley College
    Wesleyan University (school is test-optional, but scores are required and used for placement)
    Yale University (recommended)  
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Last Modified on November 6, 2019