What Are the SAT Subject Tests?


Many students who are trying to get into elite colleges may be required to take one or two SAT subject tests.  Some schools “strongly advise” you to take one - meaning, you should take it if you’re serious about joining their university. You may be wondering, “What are the SAT subject tests?” Let's get right into it.  

The SAT subjects are one-hour tests that focus on specific academic subjects.  All four major academic disciplines -Science, Math, History and English - offer SAT subject tests. Many languages like French and Spanish also have a subject test for those proficient in a second language. 

Here’s a list of all the major SAT subject tests:

  • Literature: Future English majors may be required to take the Literature SAT subject test. Students will be assessed on their reading and critical analysis skills. They are expected to identify meaning, form, figurative language, tone and narrative voice amongst other topics. 
  • U.S. History: This subject test evaluates the students' understanding of the United States history from pre-Columbus to the present! For those history buffs, this is a perfect way to show off your knowledge! 
  • World History: The World History SAT subject test assesses a student's understanding of the key major events that has shaped our society. Everything from early human communities to global change and challenges will be covered on the exam.
  • Level 1 Math: Topics like numbers and operations, geometric measurements, algebraic functions and data analysis can be expected on the level 1 math test. 
  • Level 2: This test is intended for serious math students only! In addition to the topics covered in level 1 math, students can expect to see trigonometry and pre-calculus problems.
  • Biology-Ecological: The Bio-E exam tests the students’ knowledge of biological communities and other ecological principles. Topics like plant diversity, evolution, food relationships, and ecosystems will be covered in the Bio-E SAT subject test. 
  • Biology-Molecular: If ecology isn’t your thing, fear not! The Biology-M SAT subject test assesses your understanding of cellular structures, biological compounds, and biochemistry amongst other topics. 
  • Chemistry: The Chemistry SAT subject test can be difficult for those who don’t excel in chemistry. The test will ask questions regarding structure and states of matter, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, and reaction types. There may even be a few lab questions thrown in too!
  • Physics: In my opinion, this is the toughest SAT subject test.  Major topics on the test include magnetism, waves, and mechanics. There may be questions on other miscellaneous physics topics sprinkled in. 

Remember, there are language specific tests too! If you’re proficient in a second language, go for it! If you do well on the exam, colleges may even waive certain language requirements. 

As a SAT instructor who offers private tutoring in NYC, I deal with a lot of pre-college students. I advise them to play to their strengths. If they are good at math, take the math SAT subject test. Many students believe the more the merrier-this is not the case. Having a better score on one test is more beneficial than scoring decently on three! 

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: SAT, what are the SAT subject tests, sat subject tests, SAT tests

SAT Preparation - Getting Higher SAT Scores

If you are a current and rising high school sophomore or junior, it's time to prepare for the future. For most people, this means preparing to successfully apply for college. This almost inevitably means that dealing with a college entrance exam such as the SAT – including a score that will encourage a letter of acceptance from preferred colleges – must be among their top priorities. If you want to increase your chances of doing well on the tests you should consider individualized SAT prep classes offered at tutoring centers.

Familiarizing Yourself With the Questions

Prep courses for college entrance exams have become increasingly popular among students of all academic levels because these exams, like many other standardized exams, use specific types of questions to test students. Students who are familiar with these question types do better than those who are not, so making sure you are familiar with these questions can be very beneficial for you. By learning specific techniques and strategies that can help you rise above those students who don't know them, you can distinguish yourself further from them. Thus, regardless of whether you are  struggling academically or excelling, chances are you can benefit from SAT prep classes to improve your chances of doing well. 

Independent vs. Group Settings

Tutors at some companies will work with you independently. This distinguishes the courses from those offered by many other companies who teach their SAT prep classes to groups of students seeking to improve their scores. The greatest pitfall of these courses is that you do not always have the same needs as other students, and group classes mean that instructors must teach to the class, not just to you individually. By getting independent help, your personal tutor will be able to focus on your individual needs that likely would not have been met in a group session.

When to Meet

In some cases, it may be easier for you to receive tutoring services after school or on weekends during the school year. This type of tutoring is especially important if you are drawing close to your SAT test date, but can also be very valuable to help support your regular academics or to better internalize what you are learning through slow, steady improvement over a longer period of time. In other cases, you may find vacations offer a better time for test preparation. Scheduling SAT prep classes during the summer or other vacations also allows you to reinforce academic skills at a time when you may forget what you have learned the year before. 

Whichever the case may be, and regardless of your skill level, tutors can offer you individualized attention that will help you to excel to the utmost of your capabilities. 

Categories: College Life   Tags: SAT preparation, SAT scores, high SAT scores, SAT, college entrance exam, SAT prep, SAT prep classes