#SAT/ACT Testing
Welcome to our primer on SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams.
What are SAT Subject Tests?

SAT subject tests are hour-long standardized tests offered in various subjects. We offer tutoring for many SAT Subject Test areas, but before committing to tutoring it is important to understand if and when your student should take these tests.

Who Requires Subject Tests?

As of February 2020, only two colleges outright require SAT Subject Tests: MIT and McGill. (McGill only requires 2 Subject Tests if you take the SAT. Subject Tests not required by McGill if you take the ACT.)

More colleges “recommend” 2 or 3 subject tests, meaning you want to try to score well if possible, though you can apply without the scores (e.g. Georgetown, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon). At a very large number of schools, these scores will be “considered” if submitted. You can find the full list of colleges that consider Subject Tests at this link. Note that the list does not distinguish by specific policy, listing all schools that “require,” “recommend,” and “consider” the tests without distinction.

Often specific programs within a college (usually engineering) will strongly recommend students submit Subject Tests, requesting Math 2 and at least once hard science.

When to Take the Tests

SAT Subject Tests are offered on the same dates as the SAT (except for March). You can only take the SAT or up to 3 Subject Tests on a given test date. Note that not every Subject Test is offered on every SAT date – so plan ahead.

If your student is taking AP Exams, an ideal time to take Subject Tests is in May or June, so that students can take advantage of their AP studying as a head start on their Subject Test prep.

If your student is not taking AP classes, consider the June test date when they are already studying for finals with the same content.

If your student needs more time to refresh on a subject taken in a prior year of high school, it typically makes sense to review over the summer when the academic load is lighter and target the August or October date.

How do AP Exams fit in?
AP Exams are voluntary exams administered as the culmination of an AP course. They are never required for college admissions, but strong scores (typically 4 out of 5 or above) can boost your application. You must take the AP course to take the exam.
AP Exams are mainly useful in that many colleges award credit or placement into higher level courses for qualifying AP scores. Colleges vary in their policies here. As juniors without a definite college yet, students should register for their AP Exams to try to take advantage of the opportunity. As seniors next year, students will know which AP Exams they can get credit for and which ones would not be helpful, since they will have chosen their college by May.