Complete List of SAT Subject Tests & FAQs Answered

November 28, 2017

Standardized tests are an integral part of the college application process, but the one that is often overlooked is the SAT Subject Tests. Otherwise known as the SAT II.

What is the SAT Subject Test (SAT II)?

The SAT Subject Test, more commonly known as the SAT II, is a knowledge based standardized test many universities require applicants to take. It is a one-hour, multiple choice exam that dives into applicants’ knowledge in a specific subject. Universities typically allow students to choose which subject tests they want to take. Thus, it’s a much better indication of how strong applicants are academically, since the SAT and the ACT are more well-rounded exams with varied subject knowledge.

List of SAT Subject Tests Offered:

There are currently 21 SAT Subject tests offered to applicants. Here is a list of subject tests you can choose from:


  • Korean with Listening

  • Chinese with Listening

  • Japanese with Listening

  • Spanish with Listening

  • Spanish

  • German with Listening

  • German

  • French with Listening

  • French

  • Latin

  • Modern Hebrew

  • Italian


  • Physics

  • Chemistry

  • Biology E

  • Biology M

  • Mathematics Level 1

  • Mathematics Level 2


  • United States History

  • Literature

  • World History

While most universities will allow applicants to choose their SAT subject tests, there are a few exceptions. Students applying to specific undergraduate colleges or programs will be asked to take SAT Subject Tests that relate to that field of study. For example, many Engineering schools require applicants to take one SAT II in Mathematics: Level 1 or 2, and a SAT II in Science: Physics or Chemistry.

How Many SAT Subject Tests are Required?

This depends on the university you apply to! There are 4 different terms you should familiarize yourself with:

Required: Students are required to take the SAT IIs to have a complete application. These are typically the more selective universities, and often require two different ones. There are a few universities who require SAT IIs, but will accept the ACT score instead.

Recommended: This is unfortunately vague. Whenever applicants see “recommended” in a college application, they should lean towards doing it if you can. It will help boost your application and demonstrate your knowledge expertise. Make an effort to take the SAT IIs, but if applicants really don’t have enough time or they don’t feel confident about their scores, then it would be time to re-evaluate and see whether it’s helpful.

Some universities, like Georgetown for example, will require two (2) SAT IIs, and recommend a third! In these situations, it’s still important to try to do so. Plan ahead!

Considered: Universities will not expect to see SAT II scores from applicants. Typically, this means that the university doesn’t require SAT IIs. However, these universities are also aware that applicants may be taking them for other universities they are applying to that do require them. If applicants have already taken the SAT IIs, they’ll consider them if the scores are submitted.

Again, think carefully here! This does not mean that all applicants should submit them if the scores will be considered. The choice here is in the hands of the applicants. For example, if you didn’t do so well in your SAT or ACT in the Math section, but scored a 780 in Math SAT II, then submitting will be added value. However, if you did really well in your Math section in the SAT or ACT but scored a 630 in your Math SAT II, then don’t!

Alternative: With a de-emphasis in standardized testing, many universities now have unique policies regarding the ACT, SAT and SAT IIs. Check in with the university and look for unique testing policies.

Which SAT Subject Test Should You Take?

Applicants should check to see if there are any required SAT Subject Tests based on their majors or undergraduate school they are applying to. If there aren’t any requirements, then there are two major factors to consider:

What are you good at? Applicants should make the obvious choice of the subject they are most confident in. Unlike the SAT, the SAT Subject Test will test knowledge that is based on your high school curriculum, AP Class or IB Subject. Since there isn’t too much time to study for these SAT Subject Tests, go with the subject that you are doing well in.

Then, think about it fits in with your application. If students are applying to study Engineering or Mathematics, then they should still choose to take at least one of Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Physics or Chemistry even if they are not required. Similarly, if the chosen major is English, take the Literature Subject Test.

Finally, if applicants need to take a third SAT Subject Test, the language test is usually the most convenient one to take, especially for international or bilingual students. The language test is easy for native speakers and can be seen as an easy 800 without additional studying necessary.  

When Should You Take SAT Subject Tests?

Plan ahead! Students can take up to 3 SAT Subject Test at one SAT Test Date. Applicants can register to take all 3, but are not required to sit for all of them (they’ll forfeit the flat fee for the registration). Applicants also do not have to take the same Subject Test that they signed up for and can make adjustments on the day.

With the exception of the March SAT Test Date, SAT Subject Tests are offered on all other SAT Test Dates. The languages SAT Subject Test with listening are only offered on the November Test Date. Finally, applicants cannot take the SAT Reasoning Test (the regular SAT) on the same day as the SAT II.

Here are all the upcoming SAT Test Dates for 2017 - 2018:

Please plan accordingly and strategize when to take the SAT and SAT II. Do not overlook the SAT Subject Tests! Get yourself a plan and make sure you have time to study for all the different standardized tests, and take them in time for your application deadline.



About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


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