What are the SAT Subject Tests?

The SAT Subject tests help you demonstrate how good you are in a particular subject. Universities often use these scores to admit students or to help place them in the correct courses.  Some universities specify which SAT subject tests you should take, however most allow you to choose for yourself.

You can choose up to 3 subject test to take on one day.  Check the College Board website to learn more about what is the content each tests covers.

You should also check your university list and see if these are required.

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about SAT Subject Tests:


Which SAT Subject Tests can I take?

There are 20 subject tests to choose from. A majority of them are in foreign languages, but there are also some English, History, Science and Math available as well. Visit the college board website  for a full list.

When can you take the SAT Subject Test?

For my South African students the best time to write them is during Matric year exams in June or November. Since they are already studying the same content for their exams it makes it easier to prepare.

Students in the American curriculum should take the SAT subject test at the end of the course itself.  For instance Biology would be written at the end of grade 9, when the course ends, in either the May or June test dates.

Discovery all you need to know about Studying in the USA, SAT preparation and more by downloading our

Free Guide HERE 

How long is a SAT Subject Test?

Most subject tests are 1 hour in length.

How Many SAT Subject Tests can I take at a time?

You can schedule & take up to 3 test in one sitting.  Most universities will use your best two scores. Some however can require up to 3 tests for admission. You must check the university website for their testing requirements.

When are the SAT Subject test offered?

You can take them 6 times each year: October, November, December, January, May & June.

South African students should try taking them during Matric year  in June or November, when they are also writing their school exams.

What is the latest I can take a SAT Subject test during senior year/before application deadlines?

The latest you can take these tests in senior/matric year is December. If you are applying to any university during the Early Decision or Early Action cycle (Nov) you should schedule these for October or November.

Do all universities require the SAT Subject tests?

No. Many colleges do no use or look at them.  You should check with each university to confirm their testing policy.

Do I need to take specific SAT Subject tests for my major?

Sometimes. Many universities have specific test requirements for some majors. For example, Engineering students are often asked to sit for Subject tests in the Maths & Sciences.  Check your university for their test policy.

How can I prepare to take the SAT Subject tests?

These test cover what is already being taught in your class for that specific subject. However, it is useful to purchase a subject test guide for additional practice. These can be found in bookstores (USA) or ordered online in places like Amazon.  You can even buy the kindle version and avoid waiting for mail deliveries.


Preparing for the SAT?   View our Test Prep options


6 Comments to “What are the SAT Subject Tests?”

  1. How long does it take after writing for the results to be released?

    1. Results usually come out 2 weeks after the test date for the reading/writing & Math section. The essay takes an additional week or so. You will receive an email from College Board once results are ready to be viewed.

  2. Where in South Africa are they written?
    Is there an online version during Covid?
    Do you know dates?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Rose-Anne, College Board announced 3 days ago that “Subject test” were being cancelled moving forward. However the SAT is still very much happening and it is NOT online at present–though this may change in the coming months. There are various places you can write in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban. Go to Collegeboard.org to find testing centers closest to you.– Wendy, Varsity Abroad

  3. How does a student go about booking extra time in the SATs? (for a student who has extra time for exams currently).

    1. You need to contact College Board and ask for instructions on how to apply for extra time. Good luck! 🙂

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