Frequently Asked Questions:
- What are the SAT II Subject tests?
Which SAT II Subject tests are required at which colleges?
Should I take any of the SAT II exams at the end of my sophomore year?
What SAT II Subject Tests are available?
What is the content of SAT II Subject Area Tests?
How much do the SAT II Subject Area Tests cost?
How do I register for the SAT II exams?
How many Subject Tests should I take?
Should I select 4 colleges to report my SAT II scores to on the registration form?
How much does it cost to release scores from hold? How do I do this?
After I release scores from hold, can I change my mind and put them back on hold?
How do I send my released scores to colleges when I am ready?
- Test dates and deadlines
The SAT II Subject Tests are one hour long exams which are not
as widely required by colleges as the SAT I (Approximately 180
colleges actually require SAT II exams). However, MANY
schools MAY recommend that you take up to 3 subject areas tests
in order to enhance your consideration for admission.
Like the SAT I,
the SAT II is scored on a
Which SAT II Subject Tests are required at which colleges?
As you move through the college selection process you should investigate
which schools in which you are interested require or recommend the SAT II Subject
tests. Use the Apply4Admissions.com Quick Search to pinpoint which colleges on your list
may have SAT II requirements. Remember that many colleges simply recommend
you take SAT II Subject Area Tests.
PLAN AHEAD. You may want to take some SAT II exams at the end of your
sophomore year if some of the courses you have been taking match up well with
the subject areas you are finishing up. If you feel you are particularly strong
in a subject area being tested (like French, for example) you should take the
test regardless of whether it will matter to a potential school choice later on.
Good scores in the SAT II can only help you.
Taking the SAT II exams in the spring of each year is an especially
good idea in terms of the classes you are taking. If you have
just finished a biology course at the end of 11th grade, that
is probably one of the best times to take a Subject Area Exam
on that subject. Do it while the material is still fresh in your
What SAT II Subject
Tests are available?
Here is a listing of the available SAT II Subject Test Areas:
American History and Social Studies
Math Level I
Chinese with Listening
French (reading only)
French with Listening
German (with reading only)
German with Listening
Japanese with Listening
Spanish (reading only)
Spanish with Listening
English Language Proficiency
These tests are designed to evaluate your level of achievement
in the following areas.
History and Social Studies/ World History
English Language Proficiency
The writing test measures your ability to express
ideas effectively in standard written english, to recognize faults in usage and
structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning. The Writing Subject
Test differs from the other Subject Tests in that it measures skills you have
developed over many years.
- The Test includes (a) a twenty minute essay in response to
an assigned topic, and (b) forty minutes to answer
choice questions that require recognition of the conventions
of standard written English, appropriate diction, and effective
and logical expression. The multiple choice questions include
use of language, sentence correction, and revision in context.
- The topic of the essay does not require specialized knowledge
of any particular academic discipline but gives you an opportunity
to use a broad range of knowledge and experiences in support of
your discussion. Your essay score is one-third of your total
Writing Test Score.
- Generally, colleges that require or recommend that you take
the SAT II: Subject Tests
specify that the
Writing Test is one of them.
The Literature Test contains approximately 60 multiple choice
questions based on six to eight reading selections, about half
of which are poetry and half prose. It is designed to measure
how well you have learned to read literature. The questions on
the test are based upon selections from works written in English
from the Renaissance to the present.
The foreign language tests are appropriate if you have studied
the language for three to four years in high school. If you are
outstanding in any language, you may want to take the test after
just two years of study. Through the use of a variety of questions
requiring a wide-ranging knowledge of the language, the tests
measure your reading ability in three areas: precision of vocabulary,
structure, and reading comprehension.
- The College Board offers two types of one-hour French, German,
and Spanish SAT II: Subject Tests. In addition to the multiple-choice
reading test in each of these languages, a Foreign Language SAT
II: Subject Test with Listening is also offered. There is a SAT II: Subject Test with Listening in Japanese and Chinese; however,
no reading only test is offered in these languages.
- The Foreign Language Subject Tests with Listening consist
of 85 to 90 multiple-choice listening and reading questions.
There is a twenty-minute listening section and a forty-minute
reading section. These tests measure your ability to understand a
foreign language both in its written form, and when spoken.
- The Foreign Language Subject Tests with Listening are administered
only in November at a limited number of test sites. Check your registration bulletin
for specific information.
- American History and Social Studies:
90 to 95 multiple-choice
questions with an emphasis on American History from pre-Columbian
times to the present. A lesser emphasis is placed upon basic
social science concepts, methods, and generalizations. The questions
cover political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural
history, and foreign policy.
- World History: 95 multiple-choice questions measuring your
understanding of the development of major world cultures and use
of basic historical techniques. Approximately half the test questions
deal with Europe; the remainder cover Africa, Southwest Asia,
South Asia, East Asia, and the Americas (excluding the United
- Mathematics Level I:
50 multiple-choice questions that cover
content typical of three years of college-preparatory mathematics:
Two years of algebra and a year of geometry. The test contains
questions in algebra; geometry; (plane, coordinate, and solid);
basic trigonometry; algebraic functions; elementary statistics,
including probability,counting problems, data interpretation, and measures
of central tendency (mean, median, and mode); and other miscellaneous
topics, including logic, elementary number theory and arithmetic
and geometric sequences. You need not have studied every topic
on the test. You may not use a calculator on the Mathematics
Level 1 Subject Test.
- Mathematics Level IC: This version of the Mathematics Level
I test actually REQUIRES the use of a scientific or graphing calculator
to solve some of its problems. The preparation required and topics
tested are the same as those for the Level I test. Only students
who use a scientific or graphing calculator routinely in their
math course should choose this test.
- Mathematics Level IIC (Calculator):
50 multiple-choice questions,
some of which require the use of a scientific calculator. It
is intended for students who have taken college-preparatory mathematics
for more than three years. Two years of algebra and a year of
geometry, and elementary functions (pre-calculus) and/or trigonometry.
The test contains questions in algebra; geometry (coordinate
and solid); trigonometry; functions; statistics including probability,
permutations and combinations; and miscellaneous topics, including
logic and proof; elementary number theory, sequences and limits.
You NEED NOT have studied every topic. All mathematics Level
IIC Subject Tests require the use of a scientific or graphing
- Biology: 95 multiple-choice questions
based upon the assumption
you have had a one year course in general biology at a level suitable
for college preparation. Topics covered include cellular and
molecular biology; ecology; classical genetics; organismal biology;
and evolution and diversity.
- Chemistry: 85 multiple choice questions based upon the assumption
you have had a one year introductory course in chemistry at a
level suitable for college preparation. Topics covered include
atomic and molecular structure, states of matter, reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium and reaction rates, thermodynamics,
descriptive chemistry, laboratory. Every edition of the test
includes approximately five questions on equation balancing and/or
predicting the products of chemical reactions.
- Physics: 75 multiple choice questions based on the assumption
that you have completed a one year introductory course in physics
at a level suitable for college preparation. Topics include:
mechanics; electricity and magnetism; waves; heat; kinetic theory,
and thermodynamics; modern physics; and miscellaneous topics:
measurement, mathematics skills, laboratory skills, history of
physics, and questions of a general nature that overlap several
The English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) measures understanding of spoken and
written standard American English and the ability to use English in the classroom and daily life.
- This test is designed for students who:
1. Attend American high schools and have completed two to four years of English in an English
as a Second Language (ESL) program or English enrichment courses and/or:
2. Students whose first language is not English and/or students who usually speak a different language at home or work.
- The ELPT is a one hour test comprised of
84 multiple choice questions divided into a 20 minute listening section and a 40 minute reading
section. It is offered in November at a limited number of test sites and at
participating high schools in April.
- A limited number of colleges will accept the English Language Proficiency Test.
The basic fee for taking the SAT II Subject Tests is $13.00. Add $10.00 for the Writing Test, $7.00 for the Language Tests with Listening, and $5.00 for all other subject tests. The English Language Proficiency Test costs $12.00 for registration and reporting. This test also requires a special form.
See your high school counselor or Career Specialist to get registration
Those who are taking the subject area tests don't generally take
more than 3. At times, it might be to your advantage to take an
extra one even if it is not required or recommended. If you have an area of expertise,
you should "show it off". In some cases, strong SAT II
scores might help offset weak SAT I scores.
Should I select 4 colleges
to report my SAT II scores to on the registration form?
Not necessarily. You have the option of holding your score reports
until you want them released. The score reports are sent to you
and your high school. They can be kept on hold until you release
them. After you review your scores with your counselor or parents,
you can then choose to release them from hold. You can
release some scores and not release others. You can release
scores up to one year after graduating from high school.
How much does it
cost to release scores from hold? How do I do this?
It costs nothing to release held scores. (It DOES cost to have
the released scores sent to schools though!) Obtain the SAT II: Subject Test
Score Release Forms from your counselor. You may mail or fax it to the College Board.
To register by mail, simply
fill out the registration form in the College Board's Bulletin for the SAT
Program. Free copies of this publication can be obtained from the school's
guidance counselor. Or students can call ETS at 609-771-7600 and they will send
copies free of charge. Registration can also be done online at-
After I release scores
from hold can I change my mind and put them back on hold?
No, once you have released scores from hold they
will automatically be reported along with other SAT scores when you send Score
Reports off to schools next year or when you are a senior.
SO--be sure you want the scores reported before taking them off hold.
How do I send
my released scores to colleges when I am ready?
You can save money by simply waiting until you register for a
future test. All colleges listed as recipients of scores will
receive a history of ALL SAT I scores and RELEASED SAT II scores.
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