When is the Best Time to Take SAT Subject Tests?

The SAT Subject Tests, also called SAT 2s or SAT IIs, differ from the more widely taken SAT in their focus on specific high school subjects. That difference means that, unlike prepping for the regular SAT, the best prep for the Subject Tests takes place in the classroom.

Basically, students prepare for the SAT Subject Tests by excelling all year in a subject, then taking the right Subject Tests when they are at the peak of knowledge. Thus, 10th and 11th graders should test at the end of the school year in subjects they excel in. Note that a student can take one, two, or three Subject Tests on any test date but cannot take the SAT and an SAT Subject Test on the same day.

Optimal timing depends on whether a students is taking the equivalent AP classes:

Students planning to take SAT Subject Tests in subjects they are studying for APsshould schedule Subject Tests in May. Since APs are in May, they will be most prepared leading up to those tests.

Students planning to take SAT Subject Tests in subjects they are NOT studying for APs should schedule Subject Tests in June. Since finals are in June, they will be most prepared leading up to those tests.

Students planning to take SAT Subject Tests in both AP and non-AP subjects should schedule Subject Tests in May. Since students tend to take AP classes in history and science, they’ll want to take those Subject Tests when the content knowledge is freshest in their minds.

Taking Subject Tests when you’re naturally ready puts you in position to earn your very best scores. Even students with a superior grasp of a given subject should respect the standardized-test aspect of these exams. Learn what each test covers in advance. The minimum preparation any serious student should do involves taking practice tests out of The Official Study Guide for ALL SAT Subject Tests, 2nd Edition at least a week or two in advance. Subject Tests are only an hour long each, with a maximum of three on any given date, so practice testing is not too much to ask. Then, a test taker can either spot-study topics that need more work on or get a tutor who can help them excel.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

College Board page on SAT Subject Tests

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