"Do I need to submit SAT Subject Test scores? And what are these tests anyways?" I hear this refrain frequently from my clients. And for good reason. The whole Subject Test issue is confusing. Let me break it down for you. In general, there are three types of situations in which you may need to take Subject Tests.
1. The college, typically a highly selective and academic one, requires them. The number required is typically two or three depending on the college. So you will need to submit these scores.
2. The college, also typically a selective one, recommends them. Also, the number is typically two or three. When a college says "recommended", it is still a good idea to take them and send them if they are strong. As a general rule, the Subject Tests scores should enhance the application, so I counsel my students to only send in scores from these tests that are at least 600-650, and ideally 700 and above.
3. The college does not require these exams for general admission, BUT a particular major within the college may recommend sending the Subject Test results, typically the Math 2 exam for math and engineering majors. So please check if there are any such requirements for your major before you apply.
For example, at the University of California, the requirement that all student take these exams was phased out in 2011. Unfortunately, many students are not aware that some majors at these universities still highly recommend them. Here is a link to a list University of California majors that still highly recommend sending SAT Subject Test scores.
4. Some schools requires students to submit Subject Tests if you take the SAT exam but DO NOT require them if you submit the ACT. Please visit my article about colleges that do not require SAT Subject Test scores if you submit the ACT for a list of such colleges.