SAT Subject Tests – What Top Colleges Require

SAT Subject Tests – What Top Colleges Require

Today we are going to talk about SAT Subject
Tests. A question that I often get from students is, “should I even take an SAT Subject Test?
What are they? Which ones do I need to take?” So first of all, the answer to this question
is a bit complicated. It all depends on what schools you’re applying to, and every school
has different preferences and you just have to look those up according to all the schools
that you’re applying to. But I know that’s kind of a frustrating answer, because many
students don’t even know where they’re applying. The majority of schools suggest that you take
at least two SAT Subject Tests, or require that you take two SAT Subject Tests. In general,
if you’re applying to any engineering programs, especially if they’re going to be competitive
engineering programs, you’re going to need an SAT Math Subject Test and a Science Subject
Test. But let’s get into more specifics. So now what we’re going to do is go over groups
of colleges that have similar policies toward the SAT Subject Tests. Some schools require
2 SAT Subject Tests no matter what. Other schools say that you can choose – you can
either take the ACT, or the SAT 1 and at least two Subject Tests, and then some schools recommend
but don’t require that you take SAT Subject Tests, and finally we have some schools that
have said they do not require SAT Subject Tests at all. There’s a few schools that have
unique policies and we’re going to go through some of those as well. So, here we go! First
we’re going to start off with a list of colleges that require two SAT Subject Tests, no matter
what. Those colleges are: Harvard, Pomona, Haverford, Dartmouth, Princeton, MIT, and
Williams. Now some of these schools get even more specific in terms of which tests in particular
you have to take. For example, Princeton requires Engineering students to take at least one
SAT Subject Test in either Physics or Chemistry, and one in Mathematics, either Level I or
Level II. MIT requires all students to take an SAT Subject Test in Math Level I or II
and a test in either Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. Another question that I get from
students is, “Do I need to take the SAT Subject Tests if I’m taking the ACT?” And the answer
really depends on the school you’re applying to. There are actually some schools that will
let you either take the ACT, or you can take the SAT I with Subject Tests. These colleges
are: Yale, Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, Vassar, Tufts, Columbia, Brown, Rice,
and Swarthmore. Now, I’m going to add a few little caveats to these as well. Vassar for
example requires that you take your SAT Subject Tests in different subjects, so you can’t
take the Math Level I and the Math Level II and think that you’re done. Not so impressive.
You want to diversify so that colleges get a feel for what you can do. Next, Tufts requires
those who are going to the Sciences or Engineering to take a Math Level I or II and either Physics
or Chemistry. Swarthmore also gives you one additional option, and that is you can take
the SAT and the ACT, but you don’t necessarily have to take the writing section of the ACT.
So you could get out of taking SAT Subject Tests if you’re applying to Swarthmore by
taking the ACT, and you can even skip the writing section of the ACT if you didn’t want
to do that. Next we have a list of colleges that recommend at least two SAT Subject Tests.
And these colleges are: Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Northwestern, and Emory. Just like
the other colleges we talked about, these schools also have some preferences even though
they say it’s just a recommendation, they have recommendations within those recommendations.
So those recommendations are: Stanford prefers that you have Math Level II, instead of Math
Level I, if you’re prepared enough to take it. Berkeley highly recommends that you take
SAT Subject Tests if you’re applying to the College of Chemistry and the College of Engineering,
and that you have Math Level II and at least one science, either Biology, Chemistry, or
Physics, depending on what major you’re applying to. So for example if you’re applying to a
Biology major, then having a Biology SAT Subject Test is going to be in your favor. UCLA does
not require but highly recommends that you take Math Level II, and one science of Biology,
Chemistry, or Physics, depending on the major you’re going into. And Northwestern requires
that you take Chemistry and Math Level II, if you’re applying to the Honors Program in
Medical Education, and they require that you have Chemistry, Physics and Math Level II
if you’re applying to the Integrated Science Program. So that would be three tests, by
the way: Chemistry, Physics, and Math Level II. Next we’re going to get into colleges
that do not require two SAT Subject Tests. For these schools, you basically can just
take the SAT I or the ACT. These include: The University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University,
Wesleyan, Bowdoin, and the University of Notre Dame. Now within these, there’s even more
complications. Wesleyan, for example, actually has made all standardized testing optional.
So if you hate standardized tests, check out Wesleyan! Bowdoin College has said that its
test is optional, both the ACT and the SAT, and the SAT Subject Tests, though about 80
to 85 percent of applicants do submit these scores. And finally, the university of Notre
Dame says only send your SAT Subject Tests, if they enhance an application. So if you
bombed the SAT Subject Test, don’t send it in to Notre Dame. So if you don’t like standardized
testing, check out Bowdoin and Wesleyan. You might be able to get away without sending
in any test scores. Next we’re going to talk about colleges that are exceptions to the
list. These colleges have their own rules and you’re just going to have to figure it
out. First of all, Cornell. Cornell has an entire .pdf spreadsheet to explain which SAT
Subject Tests you need to take according to what major you’re going to have. It’s all
a little bit confusing, and some of them don’t require any, and some of them just require
Math, and some of them require Math, and Science, and other things, so I recommend that you
check out those rules. Georgetown requires three SAT Subject Tests. So, not just two,
but three. So you better have some if you’re going to apply to Georgetown. Then we have
New York University. New York University is very flexible with its testing policy. New
York University actually allows you to choose whether you’re going to take 3 AP Exams, whether
you’re going to take 3 SAT Subject Tests, or you can take the SAT I as an alternative
to that, or you can take the ACT as an alternative to that. That’s right – you don’t have to
submit an SAT I or an ACT to NYU to get in! And even, they’ll accept IB coursework or
IB Tests. So, if you really are looking for an alternative way to get into college and
yo bombed the SAT I, NYU could be your ticket. So that’s about it. If you don’t know where
you’re applying yet, here are my general guidelines, if you’re applying to competitive schools.
Number one: Take the test when you’re ready to take the test. That means align your AP
test schedule or your finals schedule with your SAT Subject Tests schedule so that you
only have to study once. Number two: Take SAT Subject Tests in subjects that you think
will improve your overall application. If you’re a rockstar at Physics, then you should
be taking the Physics exam. If you’re amazing at literature, well then take the SAT Subject
Test in literature. Three: I generally recommend that students take at least two of these.
As you can see, three-fourths of the colleges on our list require or strongly recommend
that you take these tests. So if you’re applying to colleges, which I think you are, then chances
are that you’re going to need some of these. Since that’s the case, you should just go
ahead and plan for it. It makes things easier, and I think one of those tests, if at all
possible, should be the Math II. If you haven’t taken precalculus by junior year, you should
really just take the Math I because you probably won’t be prepared for the Math II. And then
finally, I usually recommend, even if it doesn’t align with your class schedule, or if you’re
behind, you should take all of these by November of your senior year. If you haven’t taken
these tests by November of your senior year, you’re probably getting into “it’s a little
bit too late to take them.” One final note as well – if you are a native speaker of a
language, like let’s say you’re bilingual and your parents speak a different language,
I have a lot of students who have taken an SAT Subject Test in that language and it’s
been a really easy way for them to pick up a good, high SAT Subject Test score. I know
what you’re thinking, “I kind of just want to look at the list of all of those colleges
because I forget what you just said.” You are in luck, they are all on our blog at
You can look at that link below. You can go and look at these lists, you can print them
out, you can put them on your bulletin board and start to make plans. Until I see you next
time, you can like us on Facebook, you can thumbs up this video, you can subscribe to
our Youtube channel, and you can follow me on Twitter. I will see you next time on supertutorTV!


  1. in how many universities can i use this sat subject test? i want to apply for 2 universities so should i have to appear in SAT subject test twice?

  2. about to literally fail my math 2 subject test this weekend. have no clue what I'm doing. I guess a cc is fine too

  3. Hi! I'm a junior in Canada, and we don't have "pre calc" but i want to do SAT math II–how different are the two level tests and if I haven't taken calculus yet (but I have taken Functions) can I still do well? Thanks! 😀😀

  4. Hi! I am from india had really bad score in my school exam and i am fail the year but i am doing home schoolling now and i want to apply for collage so what should i do and my Sat scores are really good

  5. Hi!! please help.I'm a senior in high school,my last sat score was very bad, and now I don't have much time to practise for it ,i wanna score very good at it in order to get full tuition scholarship, should I redo or add one more year of high school so that I can get a good score next year??

  6. I am not understanding. My dream school i MIT and I should do ACT and SAT ( Math + critical reading + writing) + 2 SAT subjects ( Math and science). Explain to me pls what should i do

  7. hi! I'm from Iran and I'm going to apply to top universities in the U.S this year. Since SATs and ACT test are not available in my country, I could not take them twice, and in my first attempt I could get a 750 on chemistry and 740 on math level 2. I want to ask if my scores are considered competetive and if the unavailability of the test is a good excuse for not getting 800. thank you in advance for answering 🙂

  8. Hey, i really enjoy your videos and they have been really helpful to me. Also, you videos are funny and very engaging and don't seem like rants. So thank you for helping me and many more like me who watch your videos. I was hoping that you did a video for international students, since I am not an American citizen but am giving the SAT this year. I have a loads of doubts, some of them are very basic…please do a video for the international students based on how to apply to colleges etc. Thank you. You are amazing.

  9. hey i have a question i have good score in act 34 do i still have to take subject test ?? my college exam are coming so i can't take subject test and i am in my senior year what should i do and i am from India plz help

  10. I have taken HS biology, HS advanced biology. I tested out of HS Chemistry semester 2, and I actually took the first semester. I have taken physics, and through calc. II at my local community college. Which 2 subject tests, of the following, do you think I should take: Biology, Chemistry, Physics?

  11. Thank you for posting all your videos. I like that you just give the facts & not scare tactics which is easier to swallow as college applications can be confusing.

  12. I love your videos so much! They're incredibly helpful. For Harvard, they require two SAT subject tests, but what subjects do they have to be? Also what about the ACT and all? Sorry this is a little confusing and I can't seem to get a straight answer anywhere but here. Thanks!!

  13. hi! i want to study with biochemistry or biotechnology as a major. i'm mainly applying to 2nd tier universities and am taking the biology and chemistry subject tests. i'm horrible in maths and i really can't afford 3 subject tests. will that combination be a problem?

  14. DON'T TAKE THEM. Unless you're absolutely sure that you'll do well and have taken practice tests, just leave them alone.

    Just take the ACT.

  15. I'll be a junior in high school this year, and I'm already starting to look into some colleges so that I make a good choice. The thing is, I'm not from the US, and here in my country the SATs don´t exists. So, I was wondering, if I apply to a university in the US, will I have to present those tests, or will it be enough if I just show them my grades from the tests we take here?
    I would really appreciate if you answered this, because from the research I've made there is nothing that tells me weather I will have to or not to present those tests. Thank you

  16. Is act exam for only for collage (and collage in USA?)? Are universtys accept act if so which universty accept ?(any list of it ?)

  17. Hi Brooke, I absolutely love your videos. I just subscribed and I've been binging them all day! I'm a rising senior and I already know all of the schools that I'm applying to. I've struggled in the past with SAT II scores except for my Spanish test. I'm a native speaker. I took the test thinking it would be perfect for my application so that I can show how immersed I am in my culture but after I took the test, I read online that it will make you look like a slacker if you submit that rather than another test. I got a 760 on it and it's been my highest score for SAT II. If my June SAT I scores are good enough and I don't have to take it again, I want to dedicate some time before my applications are due to SAT II tests. So my question is, should I ignore my native language test score and take another two tests or should I just focus on another test, maybe a math or a science? Thank you!!!

  18. Everyone saying their going to take STEM subject tests while I'm here taking SAT Japanese and French…

  19. If I were to apply to UCLA for an acting course would they require SATs or ACT, I am also an international student.

  20. I don't want to do anything related to STEM and I'm quite unsure of what to do but I'm leaning towards media & communication / journalism, all of these you mentioned require Math and Chemistry for engineering etc.

  21. I am applying to UPenn early decision and on their website, at least for the college of arts and sciences, two SAT subject tests are only recommended 🙂 that fact may be a relief for some, especially for international like me because a lot of the subject tests aren't available overseas!

  22. Hey, i know that UMass Amherst has a Film major but I don't know what to choose. I was thinking about US History and mathematics level 1. Should I choose something else? Can you please make a video on international students, do we have to do something more to enter an US university? Thank you

  23. I would like to add something. I was accepted to a few universities that stated that subject tests were required without actually taking a single one. I don't know how I was able to get in without them, but I am very thankful. My point is that if you're reading this and you're like me, found out about subject test requirements a week before you turn in your applications, the world is not going to end. I'm not exactly sure if colleges will turn the other cheek if you make up for the absence of the tests on other parts of your application or replace them with your AP scores. One thing is definitely sure: you can still get in. If you're reading this and you have a few months or more until you turn in your college apps, please don't be dumb like me and don't take a risk. Sign up for those subject tests right away.

  24. i have a question im american but ive studied high school in brazil and by the end of 2018 november to be exact i end high school, i plan on going to america early 2019.. so my question is when can i take the SAT and can i still take an sat subject test?

  25. For the Film Major at UCLA, what subject test should I take? I'm thinking about US history and Math 2. P.S. I'm from Europe

  26. Hey, do you think that if I take the Latin Subject Test, I will impress some colleges? I took four years of Latin (l am international) and I had perfect marks during all my high school. As I am applying for a physics major, I am not sure if it's worthy.

  27. well thank god that i hate math and science stresses me out, i already pretty much decided on being an anthropology major so.. but good for those hard working stem majors too, its a lot of stress, but if u enjoy it then you do you.

  28. hi ur vedio helped me in getting some information ty…but I want to do genetics in future can I be taking Oly biology and English in sat or should I take some more subjects

  29. What about computer science? I am currently doing the IB and don’t take a science since computer science is considered a science so do I still have to do a physics sat subject test?

  30. Hello I'm from India
    I want to take admission in ug course in university of Pennsylvania warthon school for bs in economics.
    Wich sat subject test should I have to take . And how can I increase chances for get admission in university.

  31. Should a student diversify his subject tests?For example,is it recommended for a student to take onee subject test from the humanities section and one from the science section?

  32. I have a confusion that it is important to take both sat and sat sub test for admission in us colleges. please someone help to remove my confusion.

  33. To expand on what she said, as a rule of thumb (as some colleges decide what’s worthy of recognition) don’t submit scores that fall below 600.

  34. thank you so much. You really kindled my hope.
    i really did mess my SAT I but I did pretty awesome on subject test (Math -800, Phy-800, chem-790 all on the same day Nov 3)

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