PSAT – Subject Test FAQ’s

Other Testing Questions

What is the PSAT and does my child need to take it?

The PSAT is given each year in October and it serves two purposes:

  • To qualify students for National Merit Scholarships (junior year only) &
  • To offer students and parents feedback on potential SAT scores, strengths, and weaknesses.

All students should take the PSAT both sophomore and junior year.


What are the SAT Subject Tests and do I need to take them? 

SAT Subject Tests are exams designed to test knowledge in a specific subject area such as math, biology, US history, or Spanish.  The SAT Subject Tests are required/ recommended by many highly selective schools.  Subject Tests are required for Duke, UCLA, Harvard, Rice, Yale, Amherst, Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, and many more.  Many schools require math and another test of the student’s choice.

Often the best time to take the Subject Test is sophomore or junior year, before any decisions have been made about where to apply to college.  To be on the safe side, any student even considering these highly selective schools should take the Subject Tests.

The best time to take a subject test is immediately upon completion of that specific course.  For example, a sophomore who has just completed AP World History and AP Biology, might take those two Subject Tests in May or June of sophomore year, because that is when he/ she will know the material the best.  Juniors should take math and any other subjects they are completing in May or June of the junior year.