SAT Subject Tests – What Top Colleges Require

SAT Subject Tests – What Top Colleges Require

August 17, 2019 71 By Stanley Isaacs


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 supertutortv.com.
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!