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These tests are an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery in a specific subject and require little preparation outside of AP or similar high-level coursework.
The tests should ideally be taken in June at the end of the school year, and to maximize potential, the tests should be taken in the subject area that most closely matches coursework that has just been completed.
For example, if you are taking the AP US History course during your junior year, you should schedule the SAT Subject Test in US History for the end of that school year in June.
Up to three subject tests may be taken on one test date, but you should only select those subjects in which you are confident you have a strong foundation.
This cannot be overstated. It is more advantageous to have one strong test outcome rather than a collection of mediocre ones.
Generally speaking, a good predictor of success will be the completion of an AP course in a particular subject area, followed by a few (2-4) hours of test prep specific to the subject test.
Some competitive majors such as engineering and computer science programs do require two or three subject tests to demonstrate competencies, so be sure to check the specific requirements of all the schools to which you are applying.
It is always our recommendation to take advantage of an optional opportunity. By testing and submitting the results of these elective tests, you will indicate to the schools that you are serious about your academic commitments, are not afraid of challenges, and have intellectual depth in several specific areas.
Assembling a portfolio of subject tests over the four years of high school results in a very strong college application, highlighting your strengths in specific areas.
Come application time, some students may have amassed many tests indicated overall academic prowess, while others will have one or two tests in math or languages. Either way, these tests support the narrative that you are a strong, talented student who is qualified for admission.
Since high school curricula and grading systems vary significantly throughout the world, this is also an excellent tool for admissions officers to assess students with a universal benchmark.
Setting your application apart from your peers is the key to successfully gaining admission at a selective school.
Click here to learn more about how our services can help you set yourself apart.