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SAT Subject Test Decoded

Updated on 25 April, 2024

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

What is SAT Subject Test? 

The SAT Subject Tests cover several specific subjects/disciplines. They are different from the regular or general SAT examination. There are many subjects for which you can take the test.

Difference between SAT and SAT Subject Test

Here are the differences in a nutshell: 

  1. SAT scores are used by institutions for providing admissions and shortlisting meritorious students for scholarships. SAT Subject Test scores are used for course and admission placements, while some institutions may require scores in one or multiple subject tests for admission into specific programs. 
  2. The SAT Subject Test duration is one hour. The general SAT is three hours long without the essay. If the latter is included, then the total duration goes up to three hours and fifty minutes. 
  3. SAT is available seven times each year. The Subject Tests are available six times a year. Not every subject is available on each test date. 
  4. The SAT covers reading, mathematics, writing and language, and the optional essay. There are many SAT subject tests. There are twenty subjects available, with one covered for each test. 
  5. The SAT has a 400-1600 scale for scores, while the subject tests are scored on a 200-800 scale. 
  6. There are no penalties for wrong answers in SAT, although a fraction of one point is deducted for wrong answers in the Subject Tests. 

You can also read: SAT-Accepting Colleges In Australia | SAT Reading TipsSAT Writing |

The Need For SAT Subject Tests

The SAT subject tests are often required by several universities for particular courses. These are tests where you can choose the subjects which you wish to pursue in the future. This helps you demonstrate your interest in a specific program or major to universities while serving as proof of your skills and aptitude in the same. 

Some colleges may recommend one or multiple subject tests as a part of the application, or for course placements. Some institutions also provide course credits for good subject test performance.

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SAT Subject Test- Subjects and Syllabus

Here is a brief look at the SAT subject test syllabus and core components: 

  • Biology E/M – This deals with general biology topics at the preparatory level for college. This also deals with major principles and concepts in the subject. You can get both Biology Molecular and Biology Ecological options. 
  • Chemistry – This analyzes abilities to interpret and evaluate results through experiments and observations, along with the capabilities of building inferences, conclusions, and also understanding data in tabular/graphic avatars. 
  • Physics – Students have to solve problems by applying the principles of physics. The test will also cover graphical relationships, trigonometry, algebra, ratios and proportions, and more. 
  • U.S. History – This will evaluate the knowledge of the candidate regarding historical data, events, relationships, geography, and more. 
  • World History – This will evaluate the understanding of global developments, historical relationships, concepts, techniques, and terminologies. 
  • Literature – This is all about reading, understanding and interpreting literary texts. The questions are focused on arguments, theme, tone, and more. 
  • Math Level 1 – This will deal with trigonometry, algebra, elementary statistics, geometry, algebraic functions, elementary number theory, logic, geometric and arithmetic sequences, etc. 
  • Math Level 2 – This deals with coordinate and three-dimensional geometry, algebra, probability, trigonometry, permutations, functions, logic, combinations, elementary number theory, proofs, limits, and sequences. 
  • Foreign Languages – This is about abilities in specific languages including German, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Latin, Korean, and Japanese. 
  • Foreign Languages with Listening – This is about both reading and listening abilities, across languages like German, French, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. 

SAT Subject Test Fees

The registration fee is $26 as the basic charge. Since the registration fee is payable for every date of the test, you should consider taking your tests on a single day if possible. Most subject tests will require another $22 over and above this registration charge. This may increase to $26 for language tests which come with listening sections. You can sit for 1-3 subject tests on a single date. However, there can only be a single listening-included subject test for each testing date. The fees for late registration are $30.

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SAT Exam Details

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Here are the steps for registration: 

  1. Visit the official College Board website and view the tests available on specific dates. 
  2. Click the link Register for your chosen testing date. 
  3. You may have to create your account or login. 
  4. Upon signing in, go to the homepage and click on Register for the SAT
  5. Click on Continue and then fill up your personal details. 
  6. Create your student profile. This is an optional step. You can also click Update Later once you enter the GPA. 
  7. At Select Test & Center, you should agree with the terms and conditions, before selecting the test center. In the section for Choose Your Test & Date, choose SAT Subject Tests, before visiting the tab for the chosen date, and choose up to three SAT subject tests. 
  8. Choose your test center after entering the zip code. 
  9. Upload your photograph for verification. 
  10. Go to the checkout stage, review your data and then click on Make Payment. Confirm your details again, and pay via credit cards or PayPal. 

SAT Subject Test Dates

The College Board has confirmed the discontinuation of the SAT Subject Test in January, 2021. The subject tests were discontinued worldwide from June, 2021. You cannot sit for these tests anymore, as per the latest updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the SAT subject test required for MIT?

MIT stopped considering SAT subject tests from the 2020-21 cycles for admissions. They were discontinued by the College Board later on in January, 2021.

Is a SAT subject test required for Harvard?

The subject tests are no longer required for applications since they have been discontinued by the College Board. However, candidates may submit subject tests taken in the last five years.

Which colleges require SAT subject tests?

With the discontinuation of the SAT Subject Tests, they are no longer mandatory for applying to various colleges. Earlier, there were several institutions that required the same, including Columbia University, Brown University, Boston College, and many more.

How to prepare for the SAT subject test?

One has to take the practice test first, before compiling all necessary study materials and creating a blueprint for preparation. Thereafter, people should begin their study regime and stick to regular practice tests. There should be periodic monitoring/tracking of one’s progress as well.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.