SAT Subject Tests: World History

Girl's hand touching a globe figure.

Flickr user Jon Bowen

Are you a history buff? If you can’t get enough of world history, are planning to major or minor in History, or just want to show off your skill in the subject, the SAT Subject Test in World History can give you that opportunity. Here’s a breakdown of what the exam is like.

World History Overview

The World History Subject Test covers every aspect of history including social, economic, political, diplomatic, intellectual, and cultural. The questions can range from any time period between the ancient or prehistoric civilizations to today. You should know more than dates and names as you will be asked about cause and effect situations, to comment on political cartoons, and to use data and maps to arrive at the correct answer.

World History Breakdown

The World History exam is 60 minutes long and contains 95 multiple choice questions, so you will have less than a minute for each question. Scoring between 200 and 800 points, the questions will be split between chronological and geographical types. The exam is only available in August, December, and June, so you will have to plan ahead if you want to sit for this one.

Parts of the World History Test:


  • Prehistory to 500 C.E. – 25%
  • 500 to 1500 C.E. – 20%
  • 1500 to 1900 C.E. – 25%
  • Post-1900 C.E. — 20%
  • Cross-chronological – 10%


  • Global – 25%
  • Europe – 25%
  • Africa – 10%
  • Southwest Asia – 10%
  • South and Southeast Asia – 10%
  • East Asia – 10%
  • The Americas (not including the United States) – 10%

It’s important to know that every high school’s history curriculum is different, so you may not know the answer to all 95 questions. However, you don’t have to answer every question correctly to score 800.

Prepping for the Test

When it comes to the SAT Subject Tests, you should always be starting your prep with available practice tests. These will give you a better idea of the format, the types of question, and just how long you can spend on each question. You’ll also know exactly where your weaker areas are so you can focus your study time there.

Reviewing your high school textbooks and notes can also be helpful. For remembering information, specific events, or terminology, try using flash cards or a similar method. There are several apps available that have these cards already made or where you can design your own based on your needs. Your history teacher may be willing to help as well.

World History can be a fascinating subject and if you find yourself drawn to this part of education, you should definitely consider taking this SAT exam. If you are more interested or more knowledgeable about U.S. History, there is a separate SAT Subject Test for that as well.

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