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SAT Subject Tests

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SAT Subject Tests
« on: October 15, 2008, 10:44:49 PM »
SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests is the collective name for 20 multiple choice standardized tests given on individual subjects. A student typically chooses which tests to take depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools in which he or she is planning to apply. Until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests, and until January 2005, they were known as SAT IIs; they are still commonly known by these names. Every test is now a one-hour timed test. Historically, the exception to the one-hour time was the writing test, which was divided into a 20-minute essay question and a 40-minute multiple choice section; it was discontinued after January 2005.

A student may take up to three SAT Subject Tests on any given date. Most SAT subject tests are offered on the same dates as the regular SAT, except for the March administration. The language tests with listening are generally available only once a year, in November. A calendar of test dates and registration deadlines can be found on The College Board's official website (here).


When a student is seated for the SAT subject test, he/she receives a large booklet containing all of the subject tests available on that date along with an answer sheet. The student has the option of taking the tests in whatever order he/she prefers. Students receive a five-minute break between the first and second tests and a one-minute 'stretch break' between the second and third tests, and are not permitted to look at any review material or discuss questions during these breaks.

Current tests
Test    Subject    Mean score[1]    Standard deviation[1]    Notes
SAT Subject Test in Literature    Literature    583    111
SAT Subject Test in United States History    U.S. History    601    116    Formerly American History and Social Studies
SAT Subject Test in World History    World History    585    115
SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1    Mathematics    593    102    Formerly Math I or IC. Consists of algebra, geometry, basic trigonometry, algebraic functions, elementary statistics and a few miscellaneous topics.[2]
SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2    Mathematics    644    105    Formerly Math II or IIC. Consists of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, statistics and a few miscellaneous topics.[3]
SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M    Biology    E-591
M-630    104
103    Students have a choice of taking either an ecology or molecular biology oriented test.
SAT Subject Test in Chemistry    Chemistry    629    110
SAT Subject Test in Physics    Physics    643    107
SAT Subject Test in Chinese with Listening    Chinese    764    61
SAT Subject Test in French    French    612    119
SAT Subject Test in French with Listening    French    621    116
SAT Subject Test in German    German    610    131
SAT Subject Test in German with Listening    German    596    131
SAT Subject Test in Modern Hebrew    Modern Hebrew    628    129
SAT Subject Test in Italian    Italian    654    122
SAT Subject Test in Japanese with Listening    Japanese    682    134
SAT Subject Test in Korean with Listening    Korean    754    68
SAT Subject Test in Latin    Latin    613    107
SAT Subject Test in Spanish    Spanish    634    124
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening    Spanish    638    115

Previously offered tests

    * Writing
    * English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)

These were discontinued after January 2005 when the SAT II in Writing was incorporated into the SAT.

Scoring and admissions

Each individual test is scored on a scale of 200 to 800; however, some of the tests are scored on such generous curves that it is impossible to get a 200; for example, on the Mathematics Level 2 test if someone gets every question wrong, he/she gets a score of about 310 depending on the version of the test.[4] The one and only exception was the ELPT, which was scored on a scale of 901 to 999.

Prior to the first administration of the new SAT (which includes the writing section) in March 2005, some highly selective colleges required applicants to take three SAT Subject tests, including the writing test and two other tests of the applicant's choosing, in addition to the SAT. However, with writing now a standard component of the SAT I, most selective colleges recommend applicants to submit scores for any two SAT Subject tests. Engineering schools typically require Chemistry or Physics and prefer Math Level 2. A handful of the most competitive schools, such as Harvard University and Princeton University,[5] still require three Subject tests in addition to the three sections of the SAT. It is important to consult the school's website to find out more information about Subject test requirements.

Schools also vary with regard to their SAT Subject test requirements of students submitting scores for the ACT in place of the SAT: some schools consider the ACT an alternative to both the SAT and some SAT Subject tests, whereas others accept the ACT but require SAT Subject tests as well. Information about a school's specific test requirements can typically be found on its official website.

The College Board will send all scores on all SAT tests taken, including Subject Tests, whenever a student requests scores be sent to a school; the student cannot select which Subject Tests to send to a given institution.

In October 2002, the College Board decided to drop the "score choice" option for exams. They figured that it benefited wealthier students taking the exam who could afford to take it multiple times. Score choice means that scores are not released to colleges until the student approves the score (after seeing it). [6]

As of the March 2009 test, test takers now have the ability to choose whether or not to send scores thus reinstating the "score choice" option. [7]

Answer sheet

The answer sheet has room for 115 answers. 1-100 are Standard Multiple choice questions and 101-115 for 'relationship analysis questions', which are only used for the Chemistry exam. No test has more than 95 questions. The biology test is the only test to use 96-100; questions 1-60 are common to both the E and M tests, the E uses 61-80, and the M uses 81-100.