SAT Subject Tests: Which ones are needed?

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SAT Subject Tests are one hour long tests, used for college admissions purposes. There are about 24 different subject specific tests that are offered by Collegeboard. So how you decide ‘which ones are needed?’

When it comes time to determine which SAT Subject Tests high school students should take, it’s always a good idea to confirm which tests are required or recommended by specific colleges.  In some cases, universities have strict requirements about the number of Subject SAT Tests that must be taken.  Other colleges require specific SAT Subject Tests that must be taken. Still other universities may require SAT Subject Tests, but don’t mandate the specific subjects.  Finally, there are also schools that will accept SAT Subject Tests, if they benefit an applicant, irrespective of the subject.

In cases where SAT Subject Tests are accepted or recommended, but students can choose which tests to take, the best course of action is to take the SAT Subject Tests in areas of study in which the student excels.  This is particularly helpful if a student is particularly strong in a subject, but no AP or equivalent course is available.

Except for the March SAT test date, SAT Subject Tests can be taken on any other SAT Test day

Below are some examples of the specific requirements or recommendations from various colleges and universities.

Colleges Which Do Not Require Subject SAT Exams

University of Maryland:

SAT or ACT is required, though the writing portion is not required.  Subject SAT Tests are not required.

Penn State:

SAT or ACT is required, though the writing portion is not required. SAT Subject Tests are recommended.  Does not require any SAT Subject Tests

University of South Carolina:

SAT or ACT is required, but Subject SAT Tests are not required.

University of Pittsburgh:

SAT or ACT is required, but Subject SAT Tests are not required.

 

Schools Which Require Subject SAT Tests

 Carnegie Mellon University

The SAT or ACT with writing and 2 SAT Subject Tests are typically required, unless applying to the College of Fine Arts programs. CMU strongly favors Math and Science combination of Subject Tests for STEM related courses.

 Harvard:

In addition to the SAT or ACT with writing, Harvard requires 2 SAT Subject Tests.

 MIT:

In addition to the SAT or ACT, applicants to MIT must take one SAT Subject Test in math and one SAT Subject Test in science.

Boston University: 

The SAT or the ACT with writing are required.  Students pursuing medical and dental programs are required to take the SAT Subject Tests in Chemistry and Math Level 2.

Georgetown: 

Georgetown requires the SAT or the ACT, yet does not require, or even consider the essay from either Test.  Instead, Georgetown mandates that all applicants submit all College Board and ACT scores, and strongly recommends applicants take 3 SAT Subject Tests.

 

Schools Which Recommend and/or Consider SAT Subject Tests

American University:

American University requires the SAT or the ACT without writing, and recommends that homeschooled students submit 2 SAT Subject Tests.

Case Western Reserve University:

CWRU requires the SAT or ACT with writing and will consider Subject SAT Tests if submitted.

Duke University: 

The SAT with essay, or the ACT with writing are required.  2 SAT Subject Tests are also recommended.  Students applying to the Pratt School of Engineering should specifically take Math Level 1 or 2 SAT Subject Tests.

Northeastern University:

Northeastern requires the SAT or the ACT, and recommends SAT Subject Tests for homeschooled students.

Northwestern University:

In addition to the ACT or SAT requirement, Northwestern recommends 2 SAT Subject Tests.

Stanford:

The SAT with essay, or the ACT with writing are required.  In fact, all test scores from all dates need to be submitted for the SAT and ACT.  SAT Subject Tests are recommended, but Stanford allows applicants to decide which SAT Subject Test scores (if any) they choose to submit.

University of Michigan:

The SAT with essay or the ACT with writing are required.  SAT Subject Tests are considered, if they are helpful to an applicant.

University of North Carolina:

In addition to the SAT or the ACT, UNC Strongly recommends SAT Math Level 1 or 2, as the test is used for freshman year course assignment.