SAT Subject Test: All You Need to Know


Meridean Overseas

Updated On 08 November 2023 & Read Time 8 minutes



Standardised admission tests play a pivotal role in the college admissions process, and for many years, the SAT subject test has been a valuable component of that process. Students who are targeting to enrol in top-notch USA universities must appear for the SAT subject test.


If you are planning to study in USA, then this blog is for you!  In this blog, we'll discuss the SAT subject test, when to appear for the test, and how to register for it. 


What is the SAT Subject Test?

The SAT Subject Tests, also known as SAT II, are a series of standardised tests in specific subjects such as Math, History, Literature, and Science. These tests are used for college admissions in the United States. The main purpose of the test is of course placement and some program admission that helps you demonstrate your interest in a specific program or major to universities while serving as proof of your skills and aptitude in the same.


The total duration of the test is one hour, and it is available six times a year. However, not all subjects are offered on any given day. The score of this test is scaled between 200-800. As far as number of questions is concerned, each subject test has a different number of questions and its type.


SAT Vs SAT Subject Test: Know the Difference

  • Many students often confuse the SAT Subject test with the SAT exam. However, they both vary. Let’s know the difference between both the tests below. 

  • Institutions ask for SAT scores to determine admittance and to shortlist deserving individuals for scholarships. Whereas the scores of the SAT Subject Tests are used for course and admission placements, some universities may demand scores on one or more subject tests for entry into certain programs. 

  • The SAT Subject Test lasts an hour. On the other hand, the regular SAT is three hours long without an essay. If the latter is included, the overall time increases to three hours and fifty minutes. 

  • The slots of the SAT test are available seven times a year. Whereas the slots of SAT subject tests are available only 6 times a year. That, too, every subject is not accessible on every exam date. 

  • The SAT examines reading, mathematics, writing, and language skills, as well as an optional essay. However, the SAT subject test includes numerous tests of different subjects. There are twenty subjects to choose from, with one covering each test. 

  • Scores on the SAT range from 400 to 1600, whereas SAT subject tests range from 200 to 800. 

  • The SAT test does not include any negative marking, whereas in the SAT subject test, one mark is deducted for certain wrong answers. 


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SAT Exam Subjects and Specialisation

Now, let’s explore the various SAT subjects according to the specific major.


SAT Biology E/M

The Biology Subject Test measures your understanding of general biology at the college preparatory level, recollection and comprehension of major biological ideas, and ability to apply what you've learned to solve specific biology issues. Under this, Biology Ecological and Biology Molecular are both available.



The chemistry Subject Test is intended to assess university-level chemical understanding. It is investigated how to interpret laboratory data and atomic and molecular structure. Algebra is one of the talents tested, as is graph interpretation. Before taking the Chemistry SAT Subject Test, students should complete a year of fundamental chemistry, including lab experience, and a year of algebra.


SAT Physics

The Physics SAT Subject Test includes 75 multiple-choice questions that assess core physics concepts such as thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, kinematics, and gravity. Before taking the Physics SAT Subject Test, it is advised that you take a one-year college-preparatory level physics course, as well as studies in algebra and trigonometry.


SAT U.S. History

The SAT US History test will assess the candidate's understanding of historical data, events, relationships, geography, and other topics. To attain achievement in this test, enrol in college-preparatory history classes and participate in considerable extra study. AP World History and AP U.S. History courses, while not expressly linked, would effectively provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills.


SAT World History

The World History Subject Test assesses your knowledge of significant events in global history, your ability to use basic historical procedures and vocabulary, and your ability to critically analyse and interpret documented events.


SAT Literature

The SAT literature exam focuses on reading, comprehending, and interpreting literary texts. The questions cover topics such as arguments, themes, tone, and more. 


SAT Math Level 1

Math Level 1 test will deal with topics like algebra, trigonometry, logic, elementary statistics, geometry, algebraic functions, elementary number theory, geometric and arithmetic sequences, etc. 


SAT Math Level 2

SAT Math Level 2 test deals with coordinate and three-dimensional geometry, algebra, permutations, probability, trigonometry, logic, functions,  combinations, elementary number theory, limits, proofs, and sequences. 


Foreign Languages

This test measures a student's ability to read in a certain language. These foreign language SAT tests are available in the following languages: French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


Foreign Languages with Listening

This test is about both reading and listening abilities across languages like German, French, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese.  


When to Appear for the SAT Subject Test?

The SAT Subject Test should be taken in October or November of your senior year (12th grade) because most of the topics covered in the curriculum of the tests are mastered by then. It also allows you to make an early decision or take action. Further, it is recommended that you confirm the deadlines with the colleges in mind. 


How to Register for the SAT Subject Test?

You can register for the SAT Subject exam after researching college application deadlines and College Board exam dates. Make sure to only register for the subjects that are required for admission to your intended major at the universities/colleges of your choice.


Nonetheless, it is a valuable opportunity for you to demonstrate your aptitude to admissions committees and demonstrate your command of the subjects of your choice. Colleges may grant you credit for it and allow you to skip the introductory course for the corresponding subject if you pass well on this test. You should check the college websites for further information on this.


SAT Subject Test Cost

The registration fee is $26 as the base payment. Because the registration cost is payable for each test day, you should try to take all of your tests on the same day if possible. Most subject tests will cost an additional $22 on top of the registration fee. This may rise to $26 for language tests that include listening elements. You can take 1-3 subject tests on the same day. However, each testing date can only have one listening-included subject test. Further, the late registration cost is $30.



In conclusion, the SAT subject test allows you to demonstrate your knowledge in a variety of disciplines. Colleges can observe how good you are at schoolwork. Thus, by doing well on these tests can help you get into the university of your choice. Overall, remember that if you study hard and understand why each test is important, you can easily enrol in your dream university for your preferred course.


So, are you thinking of starting your journey to study abroad? If yes, then we encourage you to have a word with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). If you are unable to travel to our offices, we offer online counselling services via our website. Our dedicated counsellors will provide you with the best guidance regarding your application to study abroad. Apart from this, our expert counsellors will also provide assistance in the visa process for your successful study abroad journey. Don't hesitate to contact us at or call us at 1800-1230-00011.



Q: Is an SAT subject test required for Harvard University?

A: The College Board has withdrawn the subject tests; thus, they are no longer required for applications. Candidates may, however, submit subject tests taken within the last five years.


Q: Does MIT University accept SAT Subject test scores?

A: MIT no longer considers SAT subject tests for admissions beginning with the 2020-21 cycle. They were phased out by the College Board in January 2021.


Q: What subjects are available for the SAT examination?

A: English, history, languages, mathematics, and science are the five broad themes covered by the SAT subject tests. Each topic examination is one hour in length.


Q: Which SAT subject exam is considered the most challenging?

A: As previously stated, the most difficult Subject Tests are Japanese with Listening, Korean with Listening, Chinese with Listening, and Math Level 2 for those who lack fluency or proficiency in their respective domains.

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