What Are the SAT Subject Tests?
The SAT Subject Tests (formerly called the SAT II tests and the Achievement
Tests) are a series of college entrance tests that cover speciﬁc academic subject
areas. Like the better-known SAT test, which measures general verbal and
math skills, the SAT Subject Tests are given by the College Entrance Exami-
nation Board. Colleges and universities often require applicants to take one
or more SAT Subject Tests along with the SAT.
SAT Subject Tests are generally not as difﬁcult as Advanced Placement
tests, but they may cover more than is taught in basic high school courses.
Students usually take an SAT Subject Test after completing an Advanced
Placement course or an Honors course in the subject area.
How Do I Know if I Need to Take SAT Subject Tests?
Review the admissions requirements of the colleges to which you plan to
apply. Each college will have its own requirements. Many colleges require
that you take a minimum number of SAT Subject Tests—usually one or two.
Some require that you take tests in speciﬁc subjects. Some may not require
SAT Subject Tests at all.
When Are SAT Subject Tests Given, and How Do I Register for Them?
SAT Subject Tests are usually given on six weekend dates spread through-
out the academic year. These dates are usually the same ones on which the
SAT is given. To ﬁnd out the test dates, visit the College Board Web site at
www.collegeboard.com. You can also register for a test at the Web site. Click
on the tabs marked “students” and follow the directions you are given. You
will need to use a credit card if you register online. As an alternative, you can
register for SAT Subject Tests by mail using the registration form in the SAT
Registration Bulletin, which should be available from your high school guid-
How Many SAT Subject Tests Should I Take?
You can take as many SAT Subject Tests as you wish. According to the Col-
lege Board, more than one-half of all SAT Subject Test takers take three tests,
and about one-quarter take four or more tests. Keep in mind, though, that you
can take only three tests on a single day. If you want to take more than three
tests, you’ll need to take the others on a different testing date. When deciding
how many SAT Subject Tests to take, base your decision on the requirements
of the colleges to which you plan to apply. It is probably not a good idea to
take many more SAT Subject Tests than you need. You will probably do
better by focusing only on the ones that your preferred colleges require.
Which SAT Subject Tests Should I Take?
If a college to which you are applying requires one or more specific SAT
Subject Tests, then of course you must take those particular tests. If the col-
lege simply requires that you take a minimum number of SAT Subject Tests,
then choose the test or tests for which you think you are best prepared and
likely to get the best score. If you have taken an Advanced Placement course
or an Honors course in a particular subject and done well in that course, then
you should probably consider taking an SAT Subject Test in that subject.
When Should I Take SAT Subject Tests?
Timing is important. It is a good idea to take an SAT Subject Test as soon as
possible after completing a course in the test subject, while the course mate-
rial is still fresh in your mind. If you plan to take an SAT Subject Test in a
subject that you have not studied recently, make sure to leave yourself
enough time to review the course material before taking the test.
What Do I Need on the Day of the Test?
To take an SAT Subject Test, you will need an admission ticket to enter the
exam room and acceptable forms of photo identification. You will also
need two number 2 pencils. Be sure that the erasers work well at erasing
without leaving smudge marks. The tests are scored by machine, and scor-
ing can be inaccurate if there are smudges or other stray marks on the an-
Any devices that can make noise, such as cell phones or wristwatch
alarms, should be turned off during the test. Study aids such as dictionaries
and review books, as well as food and beverages, are barred from the test
THE SAT CHEMISTRY TEST
What Is the Format of the SAT Chemistry Test?
The SAT Chemistry test is a one-hour exam consisting of 85 multiple-choice
questions. According to the College Board, the test measures the following
knowledge and skills:
• Familiarity with major chemistry concepts and ability to use those con-
cepts to solve problems
• Ability to understand and interpret data from observation and experi-
ments and to draw conclusions based on experiment results
• Knowledge of laboratory procedures and of metric units of measure
• Ability to use simple algebra to solve word problems
• Ability to solve problems involving ratio and direct and inverse propor-
tions, exponents, and scientiﬁc notation
The test covers a variety of chemistry topics. The following chart shows the
general test subject areas, as well as the approximate portion of the test de-
voted to each subject.
SAT Chemistry Subject Areas
Subject Area Approximate Percentage of Exam
1. Structure of Matter 25%
2. States of Matter 15%
3. Reaction Types 14%
4. Stoichiometry 12%
5. Equilibrium and Reaction Rates 7%
6. Thermodynamics 6%
7. Descriptive Chemistry 13%
8. Laboratory 8%
When you take the SAT Chemistry test, you will be given a test booklet
that includes a periodic table of the elements. The table will show only the
element symbols, atomic numbers, and atomic masses. It will not show elec-
tron conﬁgurations or oxidation numbers. You may not use your own refer-
ence tables or a calculator.
What School Background Do I Need for the SAT Chemistry Test?
The College Board recommends that you have at least the following experience before taking the SAT Chemistry test:
• One-year chemistry course at the college preparatory level
• One-year algebra course
• Experience in the chemistry laboratory
How Is the SAT Chemistry Test Scored?
On the SAT Chemistry test, your “raw score” is calculated as follows: You
receive one point for each question you answer correctly, but you lose one-
quarter point for each question you answer incorrectly. You do not gain or
lose any points for questions that you do not answer at all. Your raw score is
then converted into a scaled score by a statistical method that takes into
account how well you did compared to others who took the same test. Scaled
scores range from 200 to 800 points. Your scaled score will be reported to
you, to your high school, and to the colleges and universities that you desig-
nate to receive it.
Scoring scales differ slightly from one version of the test to the next. The
scoring scales provided after each practice test in this book are only samples
that will show you your approximate scaled score.
When Will I Receive My Score?
Scores are mailed to students approximately three to four weeks after the
test. If you want to ﬁnd out your score a week or so earlier, you can do so for
free by accessing the College Board Web site or for an additional fee by call-
How Do I Submit My Score to Colleges and Universities?
When you register to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests, your fee includes
free reporting of your scores to up to four colleges and universities. To have
your scores reported to additional schools, visit the College Board Web site
or call (866)756-7346. You will need to pay an additional fee.