Sunday, February 6, 2011

Charlene Liebau Talks SAT Subject Tests

By Charlene Liebau
College Admissions Editor

The SAT and ACT receive attention as THE standardized college admission tests. There is, however, an additional series of tests: the SAT Subject Tests.

Complicating the admission process is the fact colleges differ in their test requirements. In addition to the SAT Reasoning, or ACT, some colleges require tests in specific subjects, other colleges leave the choice of subject tests up to the student, and still others do not require subject tests. And, news for students applying for admission to the University of California beginning fall 2012–Subject Tests are no longer required! Thus, before deciding which subject test(s) to take the student should carefully review requirements of the individual colleges under consideration.  

For students applying to colleges that do require subject tests it is useful to know there are twenty different SAT Subject Tests covering five areas of study: English; history and social studies; mathematics; science; and languages. Questions on the test are developed by high school and college teachers and are meant to cover material found in the typical high school curriculum. Each subject test follows a multiple-choice format and is one hour in length.

It is recommended that subject tests be taken at the end of the school year in which the student is completing the course.

Registration for SAT Subject Tests follows the same procedure as registering for the SAT Reasoning Test. At any one test administration a student may take up to three subject tests–that is, one, two, or three hours of testing. The basic fee for each SAT Subject Test is $10 plus $21 for a language test with listening.    

Charlene Liebau is former director of admissions for CalTech and Occidental College. She is also a finalist judge of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

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