In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
Jump to page content Jump to navigation

College Board

Homepage Home > Testing > SAT Subject Tests™ > About the Test

About the Test

Demonstrating subject-area mastery on SAT Subject Tests

Students take the SAT Subject Tests to demonstrate to colleges their mastery of specific subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science, and foreign languages. The content of each test is not based on any one approach or curriculum but rather evolves to reflect current trends in high school course work.

Five general subject areas

The SAT® Program offers 20 Subject Tests that fall into general subject areas.

  • Literature
  • Chinese with Listening
  • French
  • German
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Spanish
History and Social Studies
  • United States History
  • World History
  • French with Listening
  • German with Listening
  • Japanese with Listening
  • Korean with Listening
  • Spanish with Listening
  • Mathematics Level 1
  • Mathematics Level 2
  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

SAT Subject Tests facts

  • The SAT Subject Tests are offered six times a year in the United States and at international sites.
  • Students can take one, two, or three tests on a single test date.
  • Each takes one hour.
  • The Language with Listening tests are always given in the first hour of testing. Only one listening test can be taken per test date.
  • Only one Biology test can be taken per test date. After the first 60 questions, students must choose either Biology – Ecological or Biology – Molecular; they cannot take both.
  • All Subject Tests consist of multiple-choice questions, but some have unique features or formats.
  • The types of questions change little from year to year.
  • All Subject Tests are machine scored.

Unique features and formats on SAT Subject Tests

Your students need to be prepared for some differences between the Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests Preparation Center in the student area of this site covers these differences in depth. The unique features and formats of the tests include:

  • Languages with Listening: Subject Tests in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish consist of a listening section and a reading section. Students taking these tests must bring an acceptable CD player with earphones to the test center.
  • Biology E/M: This test contains 60 general-knowledge multiple-choice questions, followed by 20 multiple-choice questions that emphasize one of the following:
    • Ecological (Biology E) subject matter
    • Molecular (Biology M) subject matter
      Students choose the section they feel most prepared for at the start of testing. After completing the 60 core questions, test-takers move on to the section that they chose.  
  • Chemistry: This test includes approximately five questions that ask students to evaluate two related statements based on equation balancing and/or predicting chemical reactions. Students answer these five questions in a special section of the answer sheet, labeled "Chemistry."
  • Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2: These tests include questions that cannot be answered without the use of at least a scientific or graphing calculator. Mathematics Subject Tests are developed with the expectation that most students will use a graphing calculator.

Helping students decide which SAT Subject Tests to take

Help your students decide on the right test for them, including:

  • Whether to take a listening test
  • Which Biology emphasis to choose
  • Which Mathematics level to choose

Customized Entry Pages


Go to the SAT Downloads and Materials Ordering page to view and print these and other related materials:

  • SAT Subject Tests: A Guide for Educators
  • Subject Tests Brochure for Students
  • Educator Handbook for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests
  • Getting Ready for the SAT Subject Tests
  • A Guide for Counselors – SAT and SAT Subject Tests, U.S. edition
  • A Guide for Counselors – SAT and SAT Subject Tests, International edition

SAT Subject Tests and AP Courses

Success on Subject Tests may help students build the confidence to take on Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses.


  • SAT Program for K-12
  • Phone: (888) SAT-HELP
  • International: (212) 520-8600
  • Phones are available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Summer hours (from the end of June through August) are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET). The SAT Program Educator Helpline may be reached by completing this email inquiry form.

Back to top