First of all, only about 30 schools in the country even require SAT Subject Tests. This is a group of highly selective colleges that include such names as Harvard andYale. You need to research prospective schools to see if they even require these tests. You certainly can get much of this information through researching college and university websites, but there is no substitute for actually contacting the admissions department and directly asking an admissions officer. Those schools who do require the SAT Subject Tests will generally require two different Subject Tests, with a few requiring three tests.
When to take the tests: If you’re taking a one year class in a subject in which you are strong, and the College Board offers a corresponding Subject Test (example: Physics, Chemistry, AP United States History), you want to consider taking the Subject Test in June, while that subject is fresh in your mind. I can’t tell you how many of our students over the years have lost their opportunity to take the U.S. History Subject Test because they haven’t thought to take that test at the end of their sophomore years (yes, some of our students take AP United States History as sophomores!). If you are strong in cumulative subjects, like foreign language or math, you will generally do better as you continue to take classes during your high school career. Therefore, you should generally wait until your junior, or even senior year.
Some final pieces of advice for you: Remember that the SAT Subject Tests are generally offered at the same time that the regular SAT is offered. Students can generally take one, two, or even three Subject Tests on the same date. Also, here is some free test preparation advice that can both give you a competitive edge and save you hundreds of dollars: Purchase The Official Study Guide FOR ALL SAT Subject Tests by The College Board. This is the only source of actual, previously administered tests across all 20 SAT Subject Tests. By taking a few practice tests, scoring those tests, and understanding what you missed, you’ll be ready for test day!
If you have additional questions about the SAT Subject Tests, call us, we're happy to help guide you.