Are SAT Subject Tests Required?

Do you have to take the SAT subject tests?

Flickr user Eric E Castro

The aim of the general SAT test is to evaluate your reasoning skills and your readiness for college. The SAT Subject tests, on the other hand, is meant to assess your knowledge in a specific subject area.

If you are wondering whether SAT subject tests are required, the answer is it depends.

SAT Subject Tests Can Be Prerequisites

In some colleges, taking SAT subject tests is a prerequisite to applying to certain courses or programs. If you are applying to a program that requires applicants to submit their SAT subject test scores, then you have no option but to take the test.

In other colleges, taking the test is strongly recommended but not mandatory – the final decision is left up to the applicants. When faced with such an option, most students will choose to take the test and so should you. Not taking the test could very well put you at a competitive disadvantage.

Even if you are not applying to a program that requires you to submit your subject test scores (potentially for free), taking the test can still help you stand out in college admissions.

Take a look at the advantages of taking the sat subject test even when not required:

Demonstrates Your Interest & Expertise In A Specific Field

If there is a major you are interested in that does not require you to take a subject test, taking it anyway demonstrates your interest in that field. It also helps with course placement by highlighting that you are qualified for the program and capable of handling the coursework. This will help your application stand out from the competition and boost your chances of getting admission into the college and course of your choice. For example, taking SAT subject tests in fields such as Physics or Chemistry will give you the competitive edge if you are applying to a STEM program.

Highlights Your Strengths & Compensates For Your Weaker Areas

If you are an ESL student or if English is not strong, taking a SAT subject test gives you the opportunity to highlights your strengths in subject areas such as math and science, where your English proficiency plays a secondary role.

Proves Your Bilingual or Multilingual Skills

Taking a SAT subject test in the languages you are fluent in is the best way to showcase your skills in multiple foreign languages. This can be particularly useful while you’re deciding how many subject tests to take, especially if you did not take those languages in high school and have no other way to prove your proficiency in those languages.


Check out how your SAT scores affect your acceptance odds with College Raptor’s free match tool!

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