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Leverage SAT Subject Tests This August

Subject Tests in the summer? NO way. Actually, YES way –in a BIG way.

Serious college applicants understand that summer isn’t all fun and games. While we’re advocates of relaxation, meditation, living an active lifestyle and of course, fun and games, we also like to play SMART. Definitely find some time to unwind this summer and get outdoors but don’t forget to craft a scholarly summer. With the College Board’s recent release of the new August test date for the SAT and Subject Tests you can do just that. Take advantage of this opportunity to stay a step ahead on the all-important Subject Tests.

The new test date, August 26th, gives high-schoolers, and especially rising seniors applying early, an opportunity to study over the summer and push up May or June prior scores or prep for and take a test that corresponds to last year’s curriculum. This date also gives students an opportunity to begin studying over the summer if they didn’t take subject tests in May or June because they weren’t prepared. An additional test date can alleviate the load of taking up to three subject tests in one sitting, which may lower scores across the board due to testing fatigue. Keep in mind, even if a school has done away with requiring subject tests, top applicants STILL submit them.


We hope we’ve relayed the importance of subject tests and maybe you’re already registered (Kudos!). Keep in mind the registration deadline of July 28, 2017 (for the August date) and note that not all Subject Tests are offered on this test date. The following tests will be offered August 26th and scores should be back by September 15th in time for the early November applications.

  • Literature
  • U.S. History
  • World History
  • Mathematics I* and II
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French
  • Spanish

*Most top colleges put little weight on the Math I Subject Test as this represents generally the same math found on the SAT and ACT. Math II is always the better option if you have taken PreCalculus and your practice scores are high enough.

So if you are looking to re-take Modern Hebrew, Italian, or Latin after the June test date, you’re out of luck. You also can’t take any language with the listening component until November, which is the only test date in which listening is offered. For rising seniors, November test scores aren’t guaranteed to be back in time for the early round but they WILL demonstrate further rigor if you need them for the regular round.


SAT Subject Tests Ivy Banner



Maybe you’re still not convinced you need more SAT Subject Tests. After all, most Ivy League schools either recommend** or require two subject tests and last August, Columbia dropped its SAT Subject Test requirement altogether (with a few caveats).




Below are individual Ivy school’s policies on Subject Tests:

  • Brown University: 2 required if SAT is submitted; if ACT with Writing submitted, no subject tests required
  • Columbia University: does not require
  • Cornell University: each undergrad school has their own specific requirements
  • Dartmouth College: 2 required
  • Harvard University: 2 required
  • [Stanford University: 2 recommended**]
  • Princeton University: 2 recommended but not required**
  • University of Pennsylvania: 2 recommended but not required**
  • Yale University: 2 required

**Read this to mean top applicants will submit a minimum of 2!

SAT Subject Tests Scholar


The truth is, most competitive applicants provide four or more high subject test scores. Not taking a subject test after the corresponding honors or AP class, especially if you take the AP makes you appear complacent and certainly doesn’t highlight a ‘love for learning’ that schools are seeking or back up your grades. Private school students in particular, with high level education, should sit for appropriate subject tests.


SAT Subject Test comparisons


Subject tests (and APs) help equalize things across applicants by providing a way for colleges to compare an A at one school to an A at another school. If you’re looking to separate yourself from the sea of 4.0 GPAs and stand out among other high achieving kids from across the country, the SAT Subject Tests can help you.


Keep in mind, not all subject tests are created equal. Every subject test has its own average score, so you should choose wisely which ones you take in order to stand out. And remember, if you’re an unhooked applicant, (meaning not a recruit, development case, underrepresented minority, or legacy…) you need to ensure you’re scores are well above the ‘average’ for any top tier school. Below is a list of all the subject test scores offered in August and their average scores:

SAT Subject Tests Mean
Literature 618
US History 645
World History 618
Math I 619
Math II 690
Biology E/M E: 625; M: 652
Chemistry 666
Physics 667
French 636
Spanish 651

SAT Subject Tests Knowledge


Finally, remember you should never take an SAT Subject Test cold! Practice, practice, practice. Ensure consistent practice test scores are in the appropriate range before the real deal. SAT Subject Tests are not like your class final. So at the very least, before the August test date, do yourself a favor and take a practice test (or four). If you take a practice test and need a subject test tutor for 3 hours of deep diving into a particular test, let us know. Happy studying.

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