Which Schools Require SAT Subject Tests

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Right now, you’re probably just focused on getting through the SAT. Adding more to an already stressful test-day sounds terrible, I know—unless you are one of those test-loving, genius types.

But you just might want to consider the SAT Subject Tests. These are additional testing options that are subject-specific. There are 20 different optional SAT Subject Tests covering the following categories:

  • English
  • Language
  • History
  • Math
  • Science

Why Should I Take SAT Subject Tests?

The SAT Subject Tests are your opportunity to show the school—or schools—you apply to, where you excel.

  • Did you study an untested subject, like Latin, physics, or advanced math?—There’s a test for that. This is your chance to show schools your unique knowledge.
  • Is English your second language so you tend to score lower in “Language and Writing”?—Show your prospective college how you excel in other subjects like science or math.
  • Are you multilingual?—Awe the admissions department with your grasp of a second language.
  • Do you have an interest in a particular area of study or program and want to show them what you have to offer?—Let your brilliance shine through a subject-specific test.
  • Are you super smart in one academic area and want to show off a little for the admissions committee?—Take that test.
  • Were you homeschooled?—Show them what an amazing teacher mom was.

But these aren’t the only reasons you should take these tests. Some colleges require them. So it goes without saying, you will not be admitted to these schools without SAT Subject Test scores.

Other institutions recommend, consider, or use subject tests as an alternative.

What These Terms Mean

  • Recommended means you choose whether or not to send these scores to the school for consideration. But if a college recommends something, you’d better take their recommendation. They hold the keys to your future, right? If you choose not to take the test, or decide to withhold your scores, be aware that your application may have a significant disadvantage. It is worth the effort to study and take that test.
  • Considered means that the school is not requiring them, but if you send them your scores, they will factor into your overall academic picture. This is where you get to show off your skills. If you excel in a particular area, let your target college see that with a subject test or two.
  • Alternative means that the school’s admissions requirements are somewhat flexible. There are a variety of academic evidences they will use to determine your acceptance or placement. Certain subject tests may fulfill one or more of these requirements.

The most important takeaway here is to find out which schools require the SAT subject tests. Make sure you check out the admissions pages of any college or university you may be interested in attending. Understand exactly what they require.

If you have a specific major in mind, be sure you clearly understand what is required for that program. Some schools or programs ask for a certain number of subject tests of your choice. Other colleges use subject tests for placement or even as an option to “test out” of a particular course.

Which Schools Require SAT Subject Tests?

Below, we have compiled a list of some major U.S. schools that recommend, consider, or require subject tests. It is not comprehensive. And remember, schools frequently change their policies, so always check with the college or university’s latest updates on their admissions page.

  • Arizona State University

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application. It is also one of the alternative options for admissions to laboratory or social sciences.

  • Boston University

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application. Subject tests in Chemistry and Math 2 are required for the Accelerated Medical Program. A foreign language subject test is also recommended for this program.

  • Brown University

2 SAT Subject Tests are recommended in the subject of your choice. At least 1 science subject test is strongly recommended in biology, chemistry, or physics for the Liberal Medical Education program.

  • California Institute of Technology

The following SAT Subject Tests are required:

  1. SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2
  2. 1 SAT science subject test: biology (ecological), biology (molecular), chemistry, or physics
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Recommended for various programs:

  1. College of Engineering—Math Level II, physics, or chemistry
  2. Dietrich College of the Humanities and Social Sciences—Math Level I or II, one additional test
  3. Information Systems—Math Level I or II, one additional test
  4. Mellon College of Science—Math Level II, and physics, chemistry, or biology
  5. School of Computer Science—Math Level II, and physics, chemistry, or biology
  6. Tepper School of Business—Math Level II, any second test but preferably a science
  • College of William and Mary

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application. Homeschooled students are encouraged to submit at least 2 in core subjects.

  • Columbia University

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application.

  • Cornell University

Required for some programs:

  1. Arts and Sciences—two choice subject tests
  2. Engineering—Mathematics (any level) and science of choice
  • Dartmouth College

2 SAT Subject Tests of your choice are recommended.

  • Duke University

2 SAT Subject Tests are strongly recommended.

  • Emmanuel College

Emmanuel is a test optional college. SAT Subject Test are considered if applicant believes test scores “accurately display your abilities and work ethic.”

  • Emory University

Students are encouraged to submit subject tests in areas of academic strengths or interest. They are Required for homeschooled students.

  • Georgetown University

3 SAT Subject Tests are strongly recommended.

  • Hamilton College

3 SAT Subject Tests are one of the alternative ways to meet the standardized testing requirements for admission.

  • Harvard College

2 SAT Subject Tests are recommended.

  • Johns Hopkins University

Applicants may submit one or more SAT Subject Tests for consideration to show academic strengths.

  • Lafayette College

SAT Subject Tests are not required, but some academic departments use scores for placement.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2 SAT Subject Tests are required—one in math (level 1 or 2), and one in science (physics, chemistry, or biology e/m).

  • Northwestern University

SAT Subject Tests are considered for most students. Required for applicants to the Honors Program in Medical Education, the Integrated Science Program, and for homeschooled students.

  • Occidental College

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application.

  • Pomona College

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application. Homeschooled students are encouraged to submit at least 2 SAT Subject or AP exams.

  • Reed College

SAT Subject Tests will be considered along with the application.

  • Stanford University

SAT Subject Tests are optional but welcomed to highlight areas of academic strength.

  • University of California, Berkeley

SAT Subject Tests are not required, but are recommended, especially for applicants interested in competitive majors.

  • Wake Forest University

Wake Forest is a test optional school. They encourage you to submit any test scores you feel are “an accurate representation of your ability.”

The SAT Subject Tests are not your enemy. They can be your friend—an ally to help you get your foot in the door of the school of your choice. So find out early if your prospective school requires SAT Subject Tests. Identify your strengths. Study. Then go ahead and take subjects that will let you shine.

Sources Used:

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