Should you take SAT II Subject Tests? The short answer is: it depends.
First, what are SAT II Subject Tests (commonly referred to as “Subject Tests”)? Here’s a good summary on what the Subject Tests are (directly from their website): http://sat.collegeboard.org/about-tests/sat-subject-tests
Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas where you excel. These are the only national admission tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your achievements and interests.SAT Subject Tests allow you to differentiate yourself in the college admission process or send a strong message regarding your readiness to study specific majors or programs in college. In conjunction with your other admission credentials (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a more complete picture of your academic background and interests.Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. Based on your performance on the test(s), you could potentially fulfill basic requirements or receive credit for introductory-level courses.There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematics and science.
So, by the College Board’s assessment, Subject Tests give you an advantage in the admission process. But, as the owners of the test, they are highly biased.
The reality is that most colleges don’t require Subject Tests nor take them into consideration in determining one’s admissibility. Some colleges will require or recommend that you take certain Subject Tests (usually ones that align with the major that the student is planning to study). Also, for some colleges, foreign language Subject Tests can assist in advanced placement in that language in college courses.
So, to determine which Subject Tests, if any, you should plan to take, research those colleges that you are most interesting applying to. In considering the colleges on your prospective list (OVS Juniors build a list called “Colleges I’m Thinking About” on Naviance), you should visit the admission website and/or contact those school’s admission offices to investigate if they require or recommend certain Subject Tests (which are essentially the same; if they “recommend” a Subject Test- you take it!).
A quick call or email to a college admission office will answer this question. For example, here’s information from UCSB’s admission site about SAT Subject tests (middle of the page, called “Examination Requirement”): http://admissions.sa.ucsb.edu/applying/freshman/eligibility.