SAT Subject Tests FAQ

Think your standardized testing career is over after taking the SAT or ACT? Before you throw away your No. 2 pencils and erasers, find out if you should be taking the SAT Subject Tests. Many selective colleges recommend or even require taking SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT II: Subject Tests). Even if the schools on your list don’t require them, a high score is an excellent way to highlight your abilities and strengthen your college application.

Need more info before deciding to take them or not? Here’s an FAQ for those of you considering taking the SAT Subject Tests.


What are the SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Tests are standardized tests given by The College Board, and like the SAT, students usually take these tests as a part of the college admissions process. Each test is multiple-choice, one hour in length, and is scored on a 200-800 point scale. Unlike the SAT, SAT Subject Tests test individual subjects. There are 20 test options in total, including Literature, History (United States and World), Mathematics (Levels I and II), Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and Languages (nine are available, some with a listening option). You can take one, two, or three tests per test date.

Should I Take the SAT Subject Tests?

There are many reasons to take the SAT Subject Tests. Some schools require or suggest taking them, or others may use your scores to determine course placement or award introductory class credit. The tests are an opportunity to further demonstrate your skills and differentiate yourself. If you are confident in your abilities and think your score will impress the admissions committee, you should consider taking the SAT Subject Tests.

Which Test Should I Take?

In short, you should choose the subject or subjects you think you will do well on. Most colleges don’t require you to submit scores, so only take the tests if there’s a particular subject you excel in. So if you’re dominating your AP Bio class, think about taking the Biology Subject Test. Speak Spanish fluently? Consider the Spanish Subject Test with or without the listening portion.

When Should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

Generally, it’s suggested that you take the SAT Subject Tests when the material being tested is most fresh in your mind. Usually this is after you’ve completed the corresponding course in school, even if you are still in 9th or 10th grade. However, you must base the decision on when to take the exams on your own goals and timeline.

SAT Subject Tests are offered six times per year , but not all subjects are available on every testing date. Click here for a current listing of all the SAT Subject Test dates.

How Do I Prepare?

Just like the SAT and ACT, there are a number of ways you can prepare for the SAT Subject Tests. You can try out real SAT Subject Test questions, purchase practice exams, take an online course, buy prep books, or even get private tutoring. However, keep in mind that SAT Subject Tests usually act as enhancements to your college application and shouldn’t take you away from your time studying for the SAT or ACT, tests that carry more weight on an admissions decision. Also, remember that your corresponding high school courses should be preparing you for the tests. If you don’t think your class is doing an adequate job preparing you for a test, you may want to reconsider taking the test.

image credit:

Original Post Date: November 20th, 2014

Comments: No Comments »

Scholarships for Undocumented Students from CollegeGreenlight

SloganUndocumented students are students in the United States who were born abroad and are not US citizens or legal residents. These students are guaranteed an education in US public schools through grade 12, but they often face legal and financial challenges in their pursuit of higher education. Contrary to what some of these students may think, there is no federal or state law that prohibits undocumented students from attending US colleges.

Our friends at College Greenlight have tools and services that are specially tailored to undocumented students and other underrepresented students, such as minorities and first-generation students. If you’re an undocumented student or know one, check out and share College Greenlight’s awesome list of 26 Scholarships for Undocumented Americans!

image credit:

Original Post Date: November 18th, 2014

Comments: No Comments »

At Some Colleges, An “A” Is Truly Earned – Cappex’s Latest List Shows You Where They Are and How to Navigate Them

hardestCappiesLogoMany students thrive in academic settings where the classwork is challenging and demanding.  They have a true love of learning for knowledge’s sake, and are intellectually curious. When it comes time to pick a college for the next four years, they know the traditional names associated with “higher learning.”  But what is being taught at these schools? How is educational success defined? What are students saying about their academics (and the homework)?

While such environments can often put incredible amounts of stress on students, they also inspire them to think in ways they never have before. The chances of meeting a professor or teaching assistant who may serve as an intellectual mentor are higher. Future career paths and a true purpose for learning can be found at every turn.

Just being accepted for enrollment at these schools is a tremendous achievement. The list of applicants to the schools on our new list grows every year, and each prospective student brings an impressive list of accomplishments and talents to the table. An extremely small percentage is accepted to these schools – sometimes as low as seven percent.

Cappex knows that one student’s definition of “hard classes” differs from another. But when a large group of student reviews says pretty much the same thing, then a real picture of an academically challenging institution comes into much clearer focus.

Our newest 2014 Cappies list is called “Hardest Colleges.” These are the 25 schools that challenge students in a variety of ways and bring out their best. A majority of graduates from these schools do not stop after four years. They go on to obtain more advanced degrees, and the percentage of those who go on to earn Ph.Ds is also very high. Graduates from these universities may often enter academia as a profession. The top schools as determined by our reviewers are highlighted here.

In this new list, you will find familiar, traditional names of colleges that have long been associated with advanced scholarly research programs, one-of-a-kind undergraduate study curriculum, and requirements above and beyond those found at other institutions. However, some of the names on this list may not be so recognizable to first-time college applicants, and deserve serious consideration.

This marks the fourth category covered by The Cappies, with two more (Clubs and Activities, Dorm Life) left. Stay tuned for announcements on that front. Please pass this blog post to anyone looking for a strenuous college environment that both challenges and rewards the inquiring, restless mind.

Original Post Date: November 14th, 2014

Comments: No Comments »

Register on Cappex

Create a free profile and...
  • Discover more than $11 billion in scholarships and merit aid
  • Get your college matches and see which colleges want you
  • Instantly see your admissions chances for getting into the college of your dreams
Create My Profile Now

Search our Blog


Links & Tools