Which SAT Subject Tests Should You Take?
The right combination of SAT Subject Tests can significantly boost your college application.
These tests showcase your academic strengths and interests and indicate to colleges that you’re ready to handle university-level coursework in those areas. But with so many options — a total of 20 exams in five core subjects (English, foreign language, history, math, and science) — how do you choose which ones to take?
In making your decision, consider subjects that you enjoy, succeed in, and best align with your career goals. To help you along, we’ve outlined the best combination of SAT Subject Tests to take, based on your prospective major.
For Math/Natural Science Majors
For students thinking about a career in research and intending to pursue math/natural science as a major, we recommend taking the Math II test along with one or more science tests of your preference.
For Engineering/Applied Science Majors
Prospective engineering/applied science majors should take Math II and Physics to demonstrate their ability in quantitative reasoning and problem-solving. An additional science test would also look nice on a college application.
For Medical Science Majors
Students planning a career in the medical field should take the Biology M and Chemistry subject tests to show their knowledge and understanding in relevant subjects. Taking Math II or Biology E would further demonstrate strong analytical skills, quantitative reasoning, and general scientific knowledge.
For Computer Science Majors
Those intending to major in Computer Science should take Math II and Physics to showcase their logical reasoning, problem-solving, and quantitative thinking ability. Scoring well on another science test like Chemistry would further attest to these capacities.
For Law or Politics Majors
For those studying law or politics, a high score on U.S. History and Literature exams would demonstrate knowledge in the social sciences and proficient language skills, both of which are necessary for these fields. Also consider taking World History or Foreign Language, as they would highlight your knowledge of international affairs and culture.
For Business/Economics Majors
The field of business/economics heavily involves mathematical analysis, so taking Math II is essential. Then, choose one or more of the history/language exams – after all effective communication and international collaboration are critically important to those in the world of finance.
For History or Cultural Studies Majors
Prospective history or cultural studies majors should, of course, take World History, Literature, and Foreign Language tests.
For Performing Arts Majors
Performing arts students need to be well-versed in English, so taking the Literature Subject Test could be useful. Taking a Foreign Language test would serve to further emphasize a strong understanding of linguistics.
It’s okay if you don’t know your major yet! To demonstrate your breadth of knowledge and show that you have a solid foundation for whatever you decide to study in the future, take Math II, one science, and one literature/humanities test.
“How to Choose Your SAT Subject Test” Reference Chart
Mix and match from our chart below to discover the best combination of SAT Subject Tests for YOU!
Highly Recommended – Subjects that are essential to your intended field of study. Take all exams labeled “highly recommended” under the column that corresponds to your intended major.
Recommended – Relevant to your prospective major. Choose 1-2 of these to prioritize.
Helpful – Unrelated to your future studies, but would still boost your college application. Consider taking 1-2 tests if you have the time.
Your Test, Your Choice
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of SAT test options, don’t panic! You can always start by using the chart above to select the right combination of tests that align with your career and intellectual goals.
Also, always remember to fulfill the specific testing requirements of the colleges to which you’re applying. Finally, don’t stress out. SAT subject tests don’t make or break an application. You can always decide not to report certain scores or re-take the test as many times as you like!
For more information on the SAT Subject tests, such as upcoming test dates and registration policies, read: SAT Subject Tests 101: Everything You Need to Know.
Don’t go at it alone! Save time and energy with the guidance of our SAT Subject courses.
Although your school classes cover general topic knowledge, they are not specifically made to prepare you for the SAT Subject Tests. On the other hand, the Collegeboard designs their exams to cover topics beyond the scope and depth of typical high school courses – hence, why only a fraction of students achieve perfect scores, even though all students take classes in subjects like Math, History, and Literature.
At MEK Review, our courses are solely focused on preparing you for standardized exams like the SAT Subject Tests.
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If you sign up now, you can save with our 10% Spring Early Bird offer on any course package of 20 sessions — your choice of SAT Math II, SAT Biology, SAT Chemistry, SAT Physics, SAT Literature and/or SAT U.S. History. Offer for a limited time only. Hurry! Seats fill up fast!
Curious about how you would perform on the tests? Take a FREE SAT Subject practice test in your area of choice! Try as many as you’d like. Comes with a free score report, so you’ll discover exactly where you need to improve.
Contact us to speak with an expert counselor (for free!) about your test prep plan.