SAT Subject Tests: When You Need Them, When You Don’t

June is the last chance during this school year for them to take standardized tests: the ACT’s, the SAT’s, and the SAT subject tests. Subject tests are designed to show mastery in a specific high-school subject, and the best time to take the test is right after completion of the corresponding course.

Which brings me to the question I very often get: Should I take the SAT subject tests? The answer is, “It depends.”

Students should certainly take subject tests if any of the colleges they are considering require them. If students do not know the answer to that question, they should check with the specific college; colleges post their requirements on their web site.

The majority of schools do not require subject tests. They tend to be required only by the more competitive colleges. However, if a student believes that he can show mastery in any one of a number of subjects, it would do no harm to take the tests. Sometimes the test scores are used for class placement or to fulfill distribution requirements.

Students can take between one and three tests on the same day, and students can choose which tests they want to take. (Foreign language tests have specific requirements, so if that is your area make sure you are aware that tests with listening are only offered in November.)

If you are interested in taking the June SAT subject tests you had better hurry—May 11th is the last day for registration.