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What is the difference between Subject Tests and APs? A: Subject Tests are high school-level tests, while AP Exams are college-level tests. Thus an AP exam covers more advanced topics than the Subject Test on the same subject. Generally, if a student is taking an advanced class, such as an AP or IB, then the student should be familiar with all of the topics covered on the corresponding Subject Test. Q: What is a good Subject Test score? A: Each Subject Test is scored on a 200-to-800 scale. Obviously, an 800 score is best, but a score that is not an 800 may have a high percentile rank. Keep in mind, that percentile ranks vary from test to test. Q: How many Subject Tests should a student take? A: If a student is planning to apply to colleges and universities with competitive acceptance rates (i.e., below 50%), then the student should take as many Subject Tests in which he or she can do welleven those tests that may not correspond to majors that the student is interested in. Remember, a scores percentile rank helps determine whether a score is good or not. Generally speaking, a score with a percentile rank of 90 or above is very good. Q: Which Math Level should a student take? A: For many students, either level is fine. However, an 800 on the Level 1 is harder to achieve than on the Level 2. Since college admissions officers know this fact, they might be more impressed by an 800 on the Level 1 than on the Level 2. Better still, if a student is very good in math, then the student might want to demonstrate his or her math abilities by getting 800s on both the Level 1 and Level 2. Q: What is Score Choice? A: Score Choice is an optional feature that allows students to choose which SAT Subject Test scores to send to colleges, in accordance with each colleges stated score-use practice. When a student opts for Score Choice, the student can choose which scores (by test date for the SAT and by individual test for Subject Tests) to send to score recipients (i.e., colleges). A student can choose up to four score recipients for free with registration. If a student chooses to send more than four, or to send scores after the registration time period, the student will be charged $10 per score send. If Score Choice is not used, all scores are sent to the selected score recipients. A student should not worry about sending all scores, since most colleges consider a students best scores.


Answer: Subject Tests are standardized, multiple-choice tests that allow students to show colleges and universities the specific subjects in which they excel. Moreover, some schools use Subject Tests as placement exams for certain courses.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Subject Tests

Q: What Subject Tests are offered? A: There are five general subject areas: English, math, history, science, and languages. There are 20 tests overall. Literature French French with Listening Math Level 1 German Math Level 2 German with Listening Spanish U.S. History Spanish with Listening World History Biology/Ecological Biology/Molecular Chemistry Physics Modern Hebrew Italian Latin Chinese with Listening Japanese with Listening Korean with Listening

Q: Do all students have to take a Subject Test? A: It depends on which schools a student plans to apply to. Many schools do not require Subject Test scores; however, competitive colleges and universities tend to require at least two Subject Test scores. Also, many students who apply to these competitive schools tend to submit more than two Subject Test scores. Q: Which Subject Tests should a student take? A: Again, it depends on which schools a student plans to apply to. For example, applicants to either Cornells College of Arts and Sciences or Columbia College are required to submit at least two Subject Tests on any two subjects, whereas applicants to Cornells College of Engineering and Columbia Engineering have to submit one Math and one Science score (Columbia Engineering requires that the Science be either Chemistry or Physics). Furthermore, an applicants who declares a certain major should submit Subject Test scores that correspond to that major. For example, if an applicant intends on majoring in history, it will help the applicants candidacy for admission to have a high score in one of the History tests. Q: When should a student take a Subject Test? A: Students should take a Subject Test when they are most familiar with the topics on the test and have prepared for it by completing a class or test prep program. For example, if a 9 grader is taking biology and feels as if he or she has a good comprehension of the subject (i.e., is getting at least a B), then that student can take the test in June, since he or she is most likely preparing for a school final th exam in biology at that time (or, as in the case of many 9 graders in New York, the Living Environment Regents Exam). Some of the Subject Tests (such as the Literature or one of the Languages) require a cumulative understanding of the material that may take more than a year to develop. For example, unless a student is a native speaker of French, it would be unadvisable for the student to take the Subject Test in French unless he or she has taken three years of the language.

SAT Subject Tests facts The SAT Subject Tests are offered six times a year (January, May, June, October,
November, and December) in the United States and at international sites. other tests, however, are offered on various test dates.

Literature, Math Level 1 and 2, U.S. History, and the Sciences are offered all six times. The Students can take one, two, or three tests on a single test date. Each takes one hour. All Subject Tests consist of multiple-choice questions, but some have unique features or

The types of questions change little from year to year. The Language with Listening tests are always given in the first hour of testing and are only
offered once a year (only in November). Only one listening test can be taken per test date. test. However, they may change which tests they take up to the test dateexcept for Language with Listening Tests.

Students must indicate which SAT Subject Tests they plan to take when they register for a

Unique features and formats on SAT Subject Tests

Your students need to be prepared for some differences between the Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests Preparation Center in the student area of this site covers these differences in depth. The unique features and formats of the tests include: Languages with Listening: Subject Tests in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish consist of a listening section and a reading section. Students taking these tests must bring an acceptable CD player with earphones to the test center. Biology E/M: This test contains 60 general-knowledge multiple-choice questions, followed by 20 multiple-choice questions that emphasize one of the following:

Ecological (Biology E) subject matter

Molecular (Biology M) subject matter

Q: What if the class I took in school doesnt cover all of the topics on a Subject Test? A: Subject Tests are national tests meant to cover topics learned in most high school courses around the country. Nevertheless, not all high school courses are alike, and what is taught in one classroom is not necessarily taught in every classroom. Moreover, students do not have to get every question on each test correct to receive the highest score (i.e., 800) for that test. Many students do well on the tests despite not having studied every topic covered on the test. Still, the best way to ensure that a student is fully prepared for a Subject Test is for that student to take a review course and do as many practice tests as possible. Please meet with a SEED advisor for more information.

Students choose the section they feel most prepared for at the start of testing. After completing the 60 core questions, test-takers move on to the section that they chose.

Chemistry: This test includes approximately five questions that ask students to evaluate

two related statements based on equation balancing and/or predicting chemical reactions. Students answer these five questions in a special section of the answer sheet, labeled "Chemistry." without the use of at least a scientific or graphing calculator. Mathematics Subject Tests are developed with the expectation that most students will use a graphing calculator.

Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2: These tests include questions that cannot be answered