SAT-Subject-TestsSo your teen is worried about having to take the SAT Subject Tests. Unless your student’s primary choices are on the list below, taking any Subject tests may be totally unnecessary.

Consider this — Amherst, Barnard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Haverford, Vassar and Williams all stopped requiring students to submit their scores from the hour-long exams.

SAT Subject Tests, in the past called “SAT II” exams and “Achievement Tests,” were once a primary part of the admissions process, especially at the most competitive schools.

Since the University of California dropped its Subject Test requirement almost ten years ago, the number of students taking the tests nationally has dropped significantly. In the past five years, the number has fallen over 25%. Also worth noting is that the number of students taking the ACT increased nationally to over 23%. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in light of the redesigned SAT, given its similarity to the ACT (in place of SAT Subject Test, many schools take AP scores. Many also take the ACT in lieu of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests).

So why the drop? Bob Schaeffer, director of Fair Test, explained this trend: “Admissions officers have recognized that the SAT Subject Tests contribute to standardized exam overkill. Requiring them excludes many otherwise qualified applicants.” The president of the University of California, Mark Yudof said, “The tests did not significantly help forecast college  performance”.

Examine the list below to see whether your teen really needs to take these tests. Notice how few actually require them as an absolute for admission consideration (only one local university — George Washington — mentions needing them and only for dual degree programs).

  • Boston University (some programs)
  • Brown University
  • Carnegie Mellon University (requirements vary by school)
  • Cooper Union(some programs)
  • Cornell University(some programs)
  • Dartmouth College(recommended, not required)
  • Duke University(strongly recommended)
  • George Washington University(required for some dual degree programs only)
  • Harvard University(strongly recommended)
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Notre Dame (Indiana) (home schooled applicants must take 3 SAT II or AP exams)
  • New York University (NYU) ( SAT, ACT, IB or AP exams can substitute for SAT Subject Tests)
  • Princeton University(strongly recommended)
  • Rice University(not required if submitting the ACT)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (only for accelerated programs in law or medicine)
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (some programs)
  • Swarthmore College(encouraged for engineering applicants)
  • Tufts University(most programs)
  • University of California (the state system changed its policy to read, “While SAT Subject Tests are not required, some campuses recommend that students vying for slots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency.” You can get more information).
  • University of Pennsylvania(recommended)
  • Vassar College(scores will be considered, but are not required)
  • Washington and Lee University(recommended for home-schooled applicants)
  • Webb Institute
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University (school is test-optional, but scores are required and used for placement)
  • Yale University(recommended)

Since this list is constantly changing (it was curated last month) please be sure to check with the schools you are applying to.

 So what else can your teen do to dramatically make his/her academic portfolio stand out? Make sure your student has written an amazing college essay!

Resources:, “What Colleges Require SAT Subject Tests”, Alan Grove, July 4, 2016., “SAT Subject Tests “Fading Away’ as Admissions Requirement; Hundreds Of Thousands Fewer Exams Administered”, July 27, 2016

If your teen’s schools are on the above list, call us now to help prepare for the Literature and/or Math I/IIC Subject Tests.

We can also work with your teen to write an essay that will not be ignored!


The next 3 students who sign up BEFORE 8.15.16, will receive a $75 discount when prepaying for a minimum of 16 hours. (New students only.)

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