4 Reasons You Should Take SAT Subject Tests

The SAT is hard enough without worrying about studying for extra sections, but SAT Subject Tests can be highly valuable to your success. Here's why you should consider them.

College Counselor and Tutor, MoonPrep

Originally Posted: Mar 3, 2020
Last Updated: Mar 3, 2020

The college application process is competitive, with students trying to go the extra mile to outdo their peers. One great way to distinguish yourself from the crowded application field is to take SAT Subject Tests.

SAT Subject Tests are designed to test your knowledge in a particular subject, including math, science, English, history, or a foreign language. Altogether, there are 21 different subcategories in the five major subject areas you can take. Here are four reasons why you should take at least a couple SAT Subject Tests during high school.

1. Some colleges require it

SAT Subject Tests aren’t always optional. For instance, MIT requires their students to take at least two SAT Subject Tests to be considered for admission. Other colleges, like Carnegie Mellon University and Emory University, recommend that you take them. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage if other applicants are submitting SAT Subject Tests but you’re not.

When creating your college list, check to see if the schools require or recommend that you take these tests to plan accordingly.

2. Showcase your strengths

Unlike the general SAT or ACT where you can’t control what you’re tested on, SAT Subject Tests let you choose the subjects you want to take. Whether you love chemistry, literature, or French, there is an SAT Subject Test that lets you showcase your interest and prowess in the subject. 

Even if your schools of interest don’t require SAT Subject Tests, taking one can be a great way to distinguish and establish yourself as a top candidate for admission.

Related: Highlight Your Strengths on Your College Applications

3. Display interest in a major

If you’ve already decided on a college major, a corresponding SAT Subject Test can help prove your dedication to the subject and how qualified you are to handle college-level course material.

For example, if you’re planning on majoring in a STEM field, you might want to consider taking a Subject Test in physics or chemistry to prove your skills.

Related: 5 Websites to Help You Choose a College Major

4. Help with college course placement

While you don’t get college credit for SAT Subject Test scores, they do help with college course placement. At Harvard University, SAT Subject Tests can be used to pass language requirements as long as you get a 700 or better. However, even if you haven’t taken an SAT Subject Test (or weren’t able to), some colleges will accept a Higher Level IB language exam or a 5 on an AP language exam to place you in a more advanced language course.

Related: Should I Take AP Courses?

Don’t think of SAT Subject Tests as just another exam you need to take to get into college. Instead, consider them an opportunity to add variety and depth to your college application. For some, SAT Subject Tests are another important piece of the college admission process.

Start researching SAT requirements at your schools of interest using our College Search tool.

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