SAT Subject Tests (SAT 2) Overview

If you were/are prepping for your SAT, chances are you also need to take the SAT II: Subject Tests. These tests are used for colleges to identify and determine a student’s strength and interest in particular subjects, such as math, literature, history, etc. SAT II is offered six times a year, and because each test is 60 minutes, students may choose to take up to three tests on the same day. Most colleges (especially prestigious schools) would specifically ask for 2 or more SAT II scores, while some are test-flexible or test-optional.

Different Levels for the Same Subject

A subject may also have different levels/versions to choose from, including Math (Level I and Level II) and Biology (Ecological and Molecular). Therefore, before signing up for any SAT II test, be sure to double check! Also note that all foreign language tests are usually only offered on specific dates, and language tests with listening are only offered in November.

Interpret the Mean Score

Math Level II has been the most popular subject among test takers for many years, and as you can see in the table below, it has a higher mean score compared to the easier Math Level I, meaning those who choose to take Math Level II are not only interested in higher level mathematics, but also showing better performance overall. 

Here are all the SAT II subjects along with their respective mean scores and numbers of test takers:

SubjectMean Score (2016-2018 graduating classes)Number of Test Takers
Literature607150,361
U.S. History640178,258
World History62243,660
Math Level I605162,998
Math Level II693427,765
Ecological Biology61891,866
Molecular Biology650116,622
Chemistry666208,588
Physics667169,952
Chinese (with listening)76013,173
French62818,725
French (with listening)6683,819
German6201,875
German (with listening)6181,297
Spanish64751,808
Spanish (with listening)6626,937
Japanese (with listening)7033,436
Korean (with listening)7615,364
Modern Hebrew612980
Italian6661,396
Latin6267,088
Source: College Board

Last note: do not underestimate the weight of SAT II in you college application. This is a good opportunity to showcase your interest, talent, and ability in a particular academic field. Use this opportunity wisely—start prepping early along with you SAT and familiarize yourself with topics that could potentially appear on the exam by doing practice tests.

Leave a Reply