The SAT II is an in-depth assessment of how much subject knowledge a test-taker possesses. For this reason, they are more commonly called SAT Subject Tests, and are offered in many subject areas, including: U.S. History, World History, Mathematics, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Chinese with Listening, French, French with Listening, German, German with Listening, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese with Listening, Korean with Listening, Latin, Spanish, and Spanish with Listening. There is total of 20 tests offered, and you can opt for one, two or any number of subject tests.
Remember, only the top colleges look at your SAT II scores, so you should consider taking it if you want to get into any one of them. Check the university website to see if they are required and how many are required.
How many Subject Tests should you take?
This depends on what you plan to major in at college. For instance, if you are applying to a Law program at Yale, a good score on Latin matters more than a high score on Mathematics. History, Literature and another European language too would help your chances, while academically brilliant scores on Science or an Asian language might not matter that much.
However, if you were planning to study Engineering at MIT, your Mathematics score would be the first thing they look at. Admission to a Computer Science program at Carnegie-Mellon or UC-Berkeley would have the admissions officers looking at your Mathematics score, but also an Asian language might be beneficial as well; the reason being that Japan, South Korea, and Israel all have high technology industries and there are a lot of vacancies for Information Technology specialists and engineers that go unfilled because of lack of skilled personnel who speak the local language. A lot of coding tends to be done in this language, so it helps immensely.
For a Science major, your score on the most relevant subject is what admissions counselors look at. For a multidisciplinary major, like Environmental Science, they would probably look at your scores on all three Science subjects – Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.
A good score on Mathematics might be essential to an undergraduate Accounting program, while good scores on European languages (the more the better), would be beneficial to you getting admitted to a program in Business, since a lot of International Business involves interacting with native speakers of these languages.
It makes sense to take the subject test in your intended major/field of study. This shows interest. It will be difficult to explain to an admissions officer that you want to be a doctor, yet you have not challenged yourself with advanced science courses. Don’t just opt for the easy subjects, to get a high score. Admissions officer see right through this strategy. Course rigor is an important factor in admissions.
When should you take the SAT Subject Tests?
You should take the SAT II as soon as you have taken the high school course, while the information is fresh in your mind. There are some who take it as early as in ninth grade.