SAT Subjects Tests SAT Subject Test Basics

SAT Subject Tests are college admission exams which test a student on specific subjects. These tests give the students an opportunity to choose the subjects in which they want to showcase their subject strengths. Colleges may or may not require or recommend taking the SAT Subject Tests; however, sending the subject test scores can prove to be beneficial as it shows your college readiness in the chosen subjects.

Some colleges also use the Subject Tests scores to place students into the appropriate courses. Depending on the test scores, students might be able to fulfil basic requirements or get credit for introductory-level courses.

There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, History, Languages, Mathematics and Science.

Talking about the length of the subject tests- each Subject Test is an hour long. The questions are multiple-choice based and are scored on a total scale of 200–800.

Fee: For Indian applicants, taking the SAT Subject Tests costs up to $49.

SAT Subjects TestsSAT Subject Tests’ Groups

As stated earlier, there are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, History, Languages, Mathematics and Science. Further classification of these groups is as follows:

English Subject Tests
  • English Literature Subject Test is a 60-minute long test comprising of 60 multiple choice questions which is scored out of a total of 800.
  • English Subject Testis offered in the months of August, October, November, December, May, and June

Main areas of testing under the SAT English Literature Test are as follows:

American literature Written by authors from the United States 40–50%
English literature Written by British authors 40–50%
Other literature written in English Past tests have included writers from India, Ireland, Canada, and the Caribbean 0–10%

There are six to eight sets of questions on the test, each based on a different literary text

Mathematics Subject Tests Subject tests in Mathematics comprises of two levels: Math Level 1 and Math Level 2.

  • Math Subject Tests are offered in the months of August, October, November, December, May,and June.
  • Calculator use is permitted
Math Level 1
  • Main focus is on the areas of Algebra and Geometry.
  • 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes.
Content Approximate % of Test
Number and operations
Operations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences
10%–14%
Algebra and functions
Expressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modeling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential)
38%–42%
Geometry and measurement
-Plane Euclidean
- Coordinate: Lines, parabolas, circles, symmetry, transformations
- Three-dimensional: Solids, surface area and volume (cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, prisms)
- Trigonometry: Right triangles, identities
38%–42%
Data analysis, statistics, and probability
Mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear), probability
8%–12%
Math Level 2
  • The Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test focuses on the areas of Algebra, Geometry, trigonometry and elementary functions (precalculus).
  • The test comprises of 50 questions which are to be answered in 60 minutes.
Content Approximate % of Test
Number and operations
Operations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences, series, vectors
10%–14%
Algebra and functions
Expressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modelling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, periodic, piecewise, recursive, parametric)
48%–52%
Geometry and measurement
Coordinate: Lines, parabolas, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, symmetry, transformations, polar coordinates
Three-dimensional: Solids, surface area and volume (cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, prisms), coordinates in three dimensions
Trigonometry: Right triangles, identities, radian measure, law of cosines, law of sines, equations, double angle formulas
48%–52%
Data analysis, statistics, and probability
Mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, standard deviation, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear, quadratic, exponential), probability
8%—12%
Science Subject Test

The subject tests in Science revolve around the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

  • These tests are offered in the months of August, October, November, December, May, and June.
  • Calculator use not permitted

Biology: The SAT Subject Test is offered in Biology Ecological and Biology Molecular. It is upon the student to decide whether he/she wants to opt for Biology Ecological (or Biology-E which leans more toward biological communities, populations, and energy flow) or Biology Molecular (or Biology-M which focuses more on biochemistry, cellular structure and processes, such as respiration and photosynthesis).

It comprises of 80 questions which are to be answered in 60 minutes. Also, 60 of the 80 questions are common to both Biology E and M, followed by 20 specialized questions for each section.

Content Approximate % of Test
  E M
Cellular and molecular biology
Cell structure and organization, mitosis, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, enzymes, biosynthesis, biological chemistry
15% 27%
Ecology
Energy flow, nutrient cycles, populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, conservation biology, biodiversity, effects of human intervention
23% 13%
Genetics
Meiosis, Mendelian genetics, inheritance patterns, molecular genetics, population genetics
15% 20%
Organismal biology
Structure, function, and development of organisms (with emphasis on plants and animals), animal behavior
25% 25%
Evolution and diversity
Origin of life, evidence of evolution, patterns of evolution, natural selection, speciation, classification and diversity of organisms
22% 15%
Chemistry

It is advisable to take the Chemistry Subject Test if a student is interested in studying science or engineering in college. This test comprises of 85 questions which are to be answered in 60 minutes.

Content Approximate % of Test
Structure of matter
Atomic Structure, including experimental evidence of atomic structure, quantum numbers and energy levels (orbitals), electron configurations, periodic trends Molecular Structure, including Lewis structures, three-dimensional molecular shapes, polarity Bonding, including ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds, relationships of bonding to properties and structures; intermolecular forces such as hydrogen bonding, dipole-dipole forces, dispersion (London) forces
25%
States of matter
Gases, including the kinetic molecular theory, gas law relationships, molar volumes, density, and stoichiometry Liquids and Solids, including intermolecular forces in liquids and solids, types of solids, phase changes, and phase diagrams Solutions, including molarity and percent by mass concentrations, solution preparation and stoichiometry, factors affecting solubility of solids, liquids, and gases, qualitative aspects of colligative properties
16%
Reaction types
Acids and Bases, including Brønsted-Lowry theory, strong and weak acids and bases, pH, titrations, indicators Oxidation-Reduction, including recognition of oxidation-reduction reactions, combustion, oxidation numbers, use of activity seriesPrecipitation, including basic solubility rules
14%
Stoichiometry
Mole Concept including molar mass, Avogadro’s number, empirical and molecular formulas Chemical Equations, including the balancing of equations, stoichiometric calculations, percent yield, and limiting reactants
14%
Equilibrium and reaction rates
Equilibrium Systems, including factors affecting position of equilibrium (LeChâtelier's principle) in gaseous and aqueous systems, equilibrium constants, and equilibrium expressions Rates of Reactions, including factors affecting reaction rates, potential energy diagrams, activation energies
5%
Thermochemistry
Including conservation of energy, calorimetry and specific heats, enthalpy (heat) changes associated with phase changes and chemical reactions, heating and cooling curves, entropy
6%
Descriptive chemistry
Including common elements, nomenclature of ions and compounds, periodic trends in chemical and physical properties of the elements, reactivity of elements and prediction of products of chemical reactions, examples of simple organic compounds and compounds of environmental concern
12%
Laboratory
Including knowledge of laboratory equipment, measurements, procedures, observations, safety, calculations, data analysis, interpretation of graphical data, drawing conclusions from observations and data
8%
Physics

It is advisable to take the Physics Subject Test if a student is interested pursuing a math, or science-based program of study (such as science, technology, engineering, or math) in college.

This test comprises of 75 questions to be answered in 60 minutes.

Content Approximate % of Test
Mechanics
Kinematics, such as velocity, acceleration, motion in one dimension, and motion of projectiles Dynamics, such as force, Newton’s laws, statics, and friction Energy and momentum, such as potential and kinetic energy, work, power, impulse, and conservation laws Circular motion, such as uniform circular motion and centripetal force Simple harmonic motion, such as mass on a spring and the pendulum Gravity, such as the law of gravitation, orbits, and Kepler’s laws
36%-42%
Electricity and magnetism
Electric fields, forces, and potentials, such as Coulomb’s law, induced charge, field and potential of groups of point charges, and charged particles in electric fields Capacitance, such as parallel-plate capacitors and time-varying behaviour in charging/ discharging Circuit elements and DC circuits, such as resistors, light bulbs, series and parallel networks, Ohm’s law, and Joule’s law Magnetism, such as permanent magnets, fields caused by currents, particles in magnetic fields, Faraday’s law, and Lenz’s law
18%–24%
Waves and optics
General wave properties, such as wave speed, frequency, wavelength, superposition, standing wave diffraction, and Doppler effect Reflection and refraction, such as Snell’s law and changes in wavelength and speed Ray optics, such as image formation using pinholes, mirrors, and lenses Physical optics, such as single-slit diffraction, double-slit interference, polarization, and color
15%–19%
Heat and thermodynamics
Thermal properties, such as temperature, heat transfer, specific and latent heats, and thermal expansions Laws of thermodynamics, such as first and second laws, internal energy, entropy, and heat engine efficiency
6%–11%
Modern physics
Quantum phenomena, such as photons and photoelectric effect Atomic, such as the Rutherford and Bohr models, atomic energy levels, and atomic spectra Nuclear and particle physics, such as radioactivity, nuclear reactions, and fundamental particles Relativity, such as time dilation, length contraction, and mass-energy equivalence
6%–11%
Miscellaneous
General, such as history of physics and general questions that overlap several major topics Analytical skills, such as graphical analysis, measurement, and math skills Contemporary physics, such as astrophysics, superconductivity, and chaos theory
4%–9%
History Subject Test

The History subject tests revolve around the following disciplines: World and U.S. History.

U.S. History

The History Subject tests in the U.S. History discipline are offered in the months of August, October, November, December, May, and June.

The test comprises of 90 questions which are to be answered in 60 minutes.
Following are the topics that the U.S. History Subject Test covers:

Topics Approximate % of Test
Political history 31–35%
Economic history 13–17%
Social history 20–24%
Intellectual and cultural history 13–17%
Foreign policy 13–17%

World History The History Subject tests in the World History discipline are offered in the months of August, December, and June.

The test comprises of 95 questions which are to be answered in 60 minutes.

The topics covered under World History includes all historical themes (political and diplomatic, intellectual and cultural, social and economic) from ancient times to the present.

Chronological Material Approximate % of Test
Prehistory and civilizations to the year 500 Common Era (C.E.) 25%
500 to 1500 C.E. 20%
1500 to 1900 C.E. 25%
Post-1900 C.E. 20%
Cross-chronological 10%
Geographical Material Approximate % of Test
Global or comparative 25%
Europe 25%
Africa 10%
Southwest Asia 10%
South and Southeast Asia 10%
East Asia 10%
The Americas (excluding the United States) 10%
Languages

The SAT Subject tests are offered in the following languages:

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

You can take up one language and get an opportunity to prove your excellency in it.

SAT Subjects TestsSAT Subject Test Timelines

For Indian applicants, SAT Subject Tests are conducted five times a year. Ideally, these subject tests should be taken by May or June of your grade 12.

SAT Subjects TestsSAT Subject Test Preparation

At Tutela, we provide comprehensive coaching in the following subject tests: Math (Math Level 1 and Level 2) and Science (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology).

COURSE DURATION FOR SAT SUBJECT TEST: 12 WEEKS
  • Frequency: 2 classes a week; Class Duration: 2 hours each; Batch Size: Up to 6 students
  • Diagnostic Test to evaluate aptitude and test-taking skills
  • Comprehensive set of study materials
  • Coverage of topics and contemporary methods to increase speed and accuracy
  • Intensive workshops before the actual test
  • Mock Tests followed by One-On-One exhaustive review and evaluation
  • Extended assistance after course-completion

SAT Subjects TestsSAT Subject Test - Misconceptions

Taking SAT subject tests will not really help me in my college admission process

The SAT Subject Tests are an effective way to highlight your strengths by proving your excellency in subjects of your interest like engineering, pre-med and cultural studies.

There are colleges which require and even recommend taking a specific subject test to enter a program or major. Even if your target college does not mention any such requirement, it is extremely advantageous for you to take a subject test and submit your scores- as it boosts your college application.

Furthermore, some colleges will grant an exemption from or credit for a freshman course requirement if a student does well on a particular SAT Subject Test. Check with the college you’re interested in about its policies.

Furthermore, most colleges accept either ACT or SAT scores and have no preference in terms of the two tests. The ACT and SAT pattern are not entirely the same. Both require a different preparation strategy and skill set. Preparing for both can be intimidating and a difficult step. So why should you take both of these tests?

I do not need to take SAT Subject Tests if I have already taken SAT or ACT

As mentioned above, few colleges require or recommend SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. The subject test scores are used for course placements too. Depending on your performance, you may potentially fulfil basic requirements or even receive credit for introductory-level courses. If you’re interested in particular programs of study, take Subject Tests to show colleges that you’re ready for certain majors or courses. Along with other admission credentials (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendation, etc.), Subject Tests help provide a complete picture of your academic background and interests.

SAT Subject Tests enable you to get fee waivers

Scoring well in the SAT Subject Tests does NOT get you fee waivers in college. Instead, a good score in a subject test proves your readiness in that particular subject and definitely gives you an extra edge over the others. It is a way of proving your readiness and proficiency in a subject before you even start college.

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