The SAT offers 20 different subject tests in addition to the general SAT exam.  These subject tests are usually taken by students based on their various interests and are designed to demonstrate a student’s proficiency in a specific area of academia.  Some colleges may recommend one or more of these tests and some may require a specific test as part of their program prerequisites.  It is recommended to take these tests only if you have taken or are currently taking courses in the respective subject area.  It is also recommended that non-native speakers of the English language take one or more of the subject tests depending on the program for which they wish to apply.  This allows ESL and international students the opportunity to perform well in subjects that may not fall under the general content of the SAT. Students who have been homeschooled may be recommended to take one more subject tests so colleges have additional information pertaining to the skills and knowledge they learned outside of the traditional classroom setting.

The subject tests consist of multiple-choice questions and a student is allowed one hour per subject test, up to a maximum of three tests per day.  For more general information about SAT Subject Tests, click here.

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry assesses the knowledge of foundational concepts in chemistry and how a student can apply these concepts in various situations by solving problems in a multiple-choice format.  Students interested in the fields of science and/or engineering are advised to take the test as a demonstration of their strengths in the subject area.  There are 85 multiple-choice questions and a student is allowed one hour to complete this test.  A calculator is NOT allowed for this test, although a periodic table of chemical elements is provided.

Fundamental chemistry concepts comprise 20% of the test, while 45% is made up of questions assessing a student’s application of these concepts and 35% tests the student’s ability to synthesize the concepts.  A student should have the skills needed to interpret information from graphs or charts and draw conclusions based on this information.  The student should also be familiar with the metric system and have the ability to perform conversions as part of any problem questions. The student should also understand simple algebra and have the skills to apply equations towards solving word problems.  They should be familiar with ratios and proportions as well as scientific notations.

For students who wish to take the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry, it is recommended they have completed one year of chemistry, one year of algebra, and have experience performing lab experiments as part of the chemistry course.

The test contains questions related to the structure of matter, states of matter, reaction types, stoichiometry, reaction rates, and descriptive chemistry.  A few examples of each are listed below:

  • Structure of matter- atomic structure, electron configurations, quantum numbers
  • States of matter - gas and gas law relationships, volume and density, liquids and phase changes, solutions, solubility, and solution preparation
  • Reaction types - acids and bases, titrations, pH levels, oxidation-reduction, combustion, and precipitation
  • Stoichiometry - mole concept including empirical and molecular based formulas, chemical equations, balancing equations, and stoichiometric calculations
  • Equilibrium and reaction rates - equilibrium systems, including equilibrium constants and expressions, rates of reactions, potential energy, and active energy
  • Thermochemistry - conservation of energy, heating and cooling curves, calorimetry
  • Descriptive chemistry - elements and nomenclature, reactivity of elements and prediction of chemical reactions

For further information or for practice questions related to the SAT Subject Test-Chemistry, please visit the official SAT Chemistry Subject Test page.

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