I am frequently asked by students if they should take SAT Subject Tests. There is no one right answer to this question. You should consider a variety of factors before deciding. The first and most important factor to consider is whether or not the schools you plan to apply to require submission of SAT Subject Test scores.
Make a list of the schools you are considering applying to and research their admissions requirements. Make sure to write down how many exams they require; some colleges require zero, some require 2, and some even require 3. If some of the schools you plan to apply to require SAT Subject Tests, begin to decide which tests you will take. If you are in any AP classes a great time to take SAT Subject Tests in the similar subject is May or June because you will already be studying for AP Exams (for example if you are in AP Calculus consider the Math Level II Subject Test). The full list of available subject tests and details on each test can be found on the College Board website.
If the schools you are applying to do not require the submission of SAT Subject Tests, that does not automatically mean you should not take them. You want to consider the competitiveness of the school and how much you’d like to attend specific schools. SAT Subject Tests can often be a great way to show your depth of knowledge and present yourself as a more competitive candidate. Remember, however, if you do not feel comfortable with the material on the Subject Tests and perform poorly they will not be a good reflection of your intelligence for college applications. You want to take Subject Tests that you will perform well on and one’s that will help you in the admissions process. If you do not feel comfortable with the material or have a solid application all around without them, and of course the schools you are applying to don’t require the test, then you are absolutely fine to not take them. Plenty of people get admitted to highly competitive schools each year without having taken the SAT Subject Tests. Speak with your school’s college guidance counselor or a test preparation company to help you decide what works best for you!