Need help deciding what SAT subject tests are good

I’m interested in applying pre-med for college and I’d like to take a few subject tests. I’m a little confused on when should I take them. For context, I’m a high school sophomore. Here are a few subject tests/courses I’m taking right now for context:

Grade 10:(rn)
I’m taking AP Chemistry and Precalculus which I guess should be fine for Math Level II. Should I take Math Level I or Math Level II? Is SAT II chemistry fine to take by the end of sophomore year?
Grade 11: (next year)
Planning on taking AP biology, AP physics 1, and APUSH. Is it too risky to take a subject test junior year? Can you take physics subject test with only AP Physics 1?

that’s honestly it, if you have any suggestions I would be glad to hear 'em

Few colleges require the Subject tests any more, even pre-covid. If you search, you can find a list that shows which schools require them.

If you insist on taking them, then you definitely want to take Math 2 and you absolutely want to get an 800 on them. You can retake it as well. It’s only a 1 hour exam. Usually best to take at the end of Junior year or beginning of it, but I wouldn’t take it after Sophomore year.

Medicine is more Biology than Chemistry, even though you need Chem for med school, so you might want to take the Bio Subject test. There are two different ones.

Also note, if you plan to go to medical school, they won’t want to see AP credits for Biology and Chem so you will need to retake those in college anyway. Also, Physics subject test is very difficult. Physics 1 only requires Algebra knowlege, so I would not take that subject test unless you’ve taken Physics C.

But again bottom line, Subject tests are only required (pre covid) by less than 3 schools (last year it was only 3) and some recommend but don’t require. So look at the admission pages of where you want to attend and what major you’re looking at since there is no pre-med major, and decide if it’s worth it or not. Afterall, you can major in History and still go to med school, as long as you have the required science courses for med school.

Good luck

There is so much bad information in the above post, I don’t know where to begin.

Correct that you want math 2 vs math 1, but you do not need an 800. Although an 800 is great.

Subject Tests are best taken at the end of the year in which you are best prepared. If you’re taking pre-calc as a sophomore, taking the Subject Test as a sophomore is best.

Correct that AP Physics 1 will not prepare you for the Subject Test, but neither will Physics C. The Subject Test does not use calculus, but also covers many topics not covered in any AP Physics class.

AP Bio and AP Chem also omit topics not covered on the Subject Tests, but chem is probably the most closely aligned of the Subjects. Depending on the school, USH may prepare you for the Subject Test.

I disagree with much of what you said at least in terms of competitive programs and for pre-med. Most students will have 800 math scores. Few won’t.

That’s said to the OP, this year very few students have been able to take any subject tests anyway. SAT bumped them out of their testing in order to give those seats to students who needed to take the SAT or they cancelled them altogether.

Bottom line again, you don’t need a science major to get into med school as there is no “pre-med major”. There is only required coursework to apply to medical school - my sister in law is an MD with an undergraduate degree in Economics.

You can also only take up to 3 Subjects tests at one sitting. So if you’re planning on taking 4, you can’t take them all on the same day anyway.


Regardless, OP did not indicate a focus on BSMD and few colleges admit to a pre-med program.

Colleges usually don’t ask students to send more than 2 subject tests, but obviously you can. I would take Math 2 and a science specifically physics, chemistry, or biology. You would want to get at least a 750 to be considered competitive assuming you are aiming for top tier colleges.

Just look at the stats of any competitive university, look at the college board results of what precent of students get an 800 on math 2. My daughter attends a school that finally stopped taking the Subject tests altogether for some of their programs because they realized everyone was getting at or near 800 on the 2 they required (Math and Science) and there was no way to differentiate between the 2. She doesn’t know a single person that did not get an 800 on the Math, there or at her high school. Actually neither do my other kids. Not saying kids don’t get 800, because obviously they do. But if you’re applying to a math/science based major, you want that 800. The other science based Subject tests it’s rare to get 800, but possible.

Also, read this article and here it states the importance of an 800 on Math Subject 2. Math Level 2: Importance of a Perfect Score | Summit Prep.

Once again, source please from a college that still accepts Subject Tests. Few colleges list Subject Test scores for admitted students. An anecdote is not a source. A test prep center is not a source, it’s an opinion. Oh, and their opinion is:

Most students do not need a perfect score on the Math Level 2 (or even to take any SAT subject tests), depending on the caliber of school and the major to which they are applying.

Now if the OP were applying to MIT or Caltech in 2019, an 800 M2 is needed. But both no longer accept Subject Tests.

Applying pre-med to the local flagship, or HYP, does not require an 800. And anecdotally, I know plenty who were admitted without it. But I’m moving on

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Read the first sentence of my original comment. MOST colleges no longer require them anymore. That’s false that few colleges list the subject scores however from admitted students, however when you go on college visits they actually give you the information on their handouts with their class distribution information and breakdown, some you can still find online for older classes when they required it and that’s from the schools that still took them. Since most pre-covid stopped requiring them altogether, most people aren’t taking them and it’s harder to find that info. I remember when my daughters applied to college two years ago, the information was readily available. Especially since they knew what Science score they needed to aim for. The question however, is really moot as it isn’t really a deciding point for anyone to take them anymore.

And again, as I said previously, a competitive school (as the article also stated) wants to see an 800 in math 2. If your plan is to go to med school, you need to compete with the big boys. If you’re planning to go to med school and thinking of subject tests, then the person is applying to more competitive schools, because those are the only ones that even want them anymore, with the exception of the highest caliber schools, like some of the Ivies that wont’ even consider them at all period.

Obviously some would be admitted without, but the majority if going into a math/science program would not.

The bottom line here is there is really no reason especially as a sophomore, for this person to take any subject tests. In 2 years, they will be even more obsolete than they are now.

I agree that if you are applying to highly competitive colleges, or as an engineering or math major you should strive for a 800 on Math II as 24% of the students that take it score a perfect 800. Thats 10s of thousands of students that you are competing against. The other point is that in engineering programs for example, the adcoms will be reviewing and weighting rigor, gpa and tests scores more heavily that other programs in the college which tends to be more of a holistic review.

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