You’ve heard of the SAT and ACT exams, of course. But you may not know that there are other exams out there that may be required for your teen to gain admissions to certain colleges:
SAT Subject Tests.
Let’s explore the basics of these tests and determine whether your teen should be taking one or more SAT Subject Tests during high school.
What are SAT Subject Tests?
SAT Subject Tests are hour-long, multiple-choice exams that assess students’ knowledge of particular high school subjects. Some colleges (especially more selective colleges) require or recommend one or two SAT Subject Tests for admissions.
There are 20 SAT Subject Test options for students to take, offered by the College Board. (The same company that creates the SAT exam.)
Who should take SAT Subject Tests?
Each college has its own requirements for admissions. Some require or recommend SAT Subject Tests, and some do not. Check out each college’s admissions pages on their school websites to find out.
If a college “recommends” SAT Subject Tests, or if they label them as “optional” when applying, it’s in your teen’s best interest to take them. He’ll be compared to other potential students who did take the tests, and admissions officers will take notice.
SAT Subject Tests are essentially used to help your teenager put his best foot forward on applications. It certainly doesn’t hurt to take one or two of these to help to stand out from other students applying to the same colleges, even if it’s not a requirement to take them.
If in doubt about whether colleges recommend or require the exams, staying on the safe side and taking the tests is a good idea. Your teen’s college list will likely change as time goes on, so preparing now for whichever colleges he’ll ultimately apply to makes a lot of sense.
Which SAT Subject Tests should your teen take?
Your teen should check with each of the colleges that he’s considering to find out if they require certain SAT Subject Tests for admissions. For example, students who are prospective engineering majors may be encouraged to take a math and/or physics test for admissions to that program.
If colleges don’t specify particular subject tests to take on their website, it’s completely up to your teen which exam(s) to take during high school. As a general rule, it’s best for your teenager to take SAT Subject Tests in the areas he feels strongest in.
When should SAT Subject Tests be taken?
Your teen can take the exams at any time during high school. The very best time for students to take an SAT Subject Test is after finishing the course that corresponds to the exam. So, if your teen completes a U.S. History course, taking a the SAT Subject Test in U.S. History right after makes a lot of sense.
Junior year is usually the last good opportunity to take SAT Subject Tests, since college applications are due by the winter of senior year.
So get planning!
How does my teen register for SAT Subject Tests?
Your teen can register for the SAT Subject Tests at the College Board website.
Remember that there are deadlines for registration, so don’t wait to plan around SAT or ACT exams, too!