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The Unlikely Hero of 2020 College Admissions: SAT Subject Tests

Written By: Rebecca Hill - College and Graduate Admission Counseling Director

High school students: since grades this year have been replaced with pass/fail, you will need to look at other ways to show what you’ve learned. 

Colleges want to see that an applicant demonstrates a strong commitment to a future major or to a subject that’s related to the career they wish to pursue. Selective colleges have “strongly recommended” (read: require!) one to three SAT Subject Tests in the past; now these tests can showcase your smarts more than ever.  Some schools even allow you to ‘replace’ the SAT/ACT with three SAT Subject Tests, typically Math 2 along with a Humanities and a STEM subject of your choosing.

SAT Subject Tests are traditionally taken right after junior year, while the content–Biology, World History, Spanish, etc.–is still fresh in your mind. You don’t want too much time to pass before registering and studying for the test. In addition, if you’ve got your sights set on a competitive major, like international relations or engineering, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to prove you’re a language whiz or a math genius.

The great thing about the Subject Test is that they only last an hour, which is pretty painless compared to other tests! If the subject is something you care about, then you’re also likely to score high. On the other hand, while subject tests are shorter, there’s less margin for error. In most subject areas, just three wrong answers will drop you from a perfect score to a 700.

Since grades won’t accurately reflect aptitude this year, it’s critical to maximize your scores for subject tests. Clayborne’s subject specialists (whom some might call “nerds”) can help you address gaps in your content knowledge, review material, and provide test-taking strategies to make these fun but challenging tests a breeze. 

Clayborne offers an SAT Subject Prep program with 10 sessions and 10 practice tests. Sign up by May 31, and receive the same promotional discount that we’re offering for SAT and ACT prep: 20% off your package, and your first session is free.

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