"We used Compass for three SAT Subject tests. Every
tutor was excellent - knowledgeable in the subject
matter and helpful in guiding our daughter through
the material and overall test-taking skills. The service
was terrific all around, and of course, the outstanding
score increases didn't hurt."

- Cassandra B, Mother of Diana,
11th Grader at Harvard-Westlake School

SAT Subject Test Preparation

SAT Subject Tests are required or recommended by many of the most selective colleges. Too often, we find that students and parents treat these exams as afterthoughts to the SAT or ACT. Good timing, especially, is critical to optimal performance. A student who can ace the Biology E/M Subject Test at the end of her sophomore year, when she’s finishing AP Biology, is a student who might receive only an average score if she waits until her senior year to take it. We can give you advice and free practice tests so you can decide which subjects to take and when to take them.

Compass focuses exclusively on one-on-one test preparation, so you can be assured of a Subject Test program custom-fit to your needs. Rather than offering one-size-fits-all packages, we take the time to evaluate your test-taking strengths and weaknesses, then make personalized recommendations. Your college goals, your learning style, your schedule, even your extracurricular interests – we take all of this into account in tailoring your program of study and matching you with the ideal instructors. Read more about our approach.

Expert Compass tutors are available for virtually every popular Subject Test, including U.S. History, World History, Literature, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, and French.  As we don’t require an upfront commitment to an entire program, you are welcome to opt out at any time without further charges. One reason we offer a complimentary diagnostic practice test and director analysis before you sign up is so that you know exactly where you stand and how you can improve. And even if you then decide to prepare on your own, we’ll be glad to provide some guidance.

Too often, we find that students and parents treat the Subject Tests as afterthoughts to the SAT or ACT. Good timing, especially, is critical to optimal performance.

Do I Need to Take SAT Subject Tests?

SAT Subject Test scores are relevant at a tiny fraction of the almost 3000 four-year institutions in the U.S. Approximately 40 colleges require or recommend Subject Tests, while about 60 will consider them if submitted. Many of these colleges, however, are extremely popular. As a general rule, if you believe you might apply to a very selective school, it is best to leave your options open and plan to take Subject Tests.

When reviewing schools’ Subject Test policies, make sure to read the fine print and employ common sense. The UC system as a whole no longer requires Subject Tests, but students applying to Berkeley’s College of Chemistry or Engineering, for example, are encouraged to take Math Level 2 and Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. The more selective the school, the more likely Subject Test scores are to be a significant admission factor. Although Harvard recommends Subject Tests rather than requiring them, it probably behooves most applicants there to take them.

Good timing is essential. Many Subject Tests should be taken in May or June, as the corresponding courses are wrapping up. We encourage students targeting them to make their first SAT attempt by March or their first ACT attempt by April.

Familiarity is just as important. Many students assume that an A in an AP or Honors course will translate to a superior Subject Test score. This assumption can be accurate, but it can also make for unpleasant surprises. Subject Tests are comprehensive, rigorous, and fast-paced. We recommend that students take practice tests in late March to mid-April to ensure that they are on the right track and have selected the right subjects.

Subject Test Requirements for 2015 – 2016

We have attempted to remove the guesswork from taking Subject Tests by categorizing colleges’ admission testing preferences into four groups: Required, Recommended, Considered, and Alternative. For descriptions of these categories and a robust database of the colleges they apply to, click the link below. For those ready to begin Subject Test preparation, the following page will also include recommendations for the appropriate timing and pacing of proctored practice tests.

SAT Subject Test Dates

SAT Subject Tests™ are offered 6 times per year in October, November, December, January, May and June.

Subject Tests
Oct 3, 2015
Nov 7, 2015
Dec 5, 2015
Jan 23, 2016
May 7, 2016
Jun 4, 2016
Biology E/M
U.S. History
World History
Mathematics Level 1
Mathematics Level 2
Oct 3, 2015
Nov 7, 2015
Dec 5, 2015
Jan 23, 2016
May 7, 2016
Jun 4, 2016
Modern Hebrew


"Compass tutors were reliable, professional, and very knowledgeable. Even when we needed to handle a tutor-switch, our director handled things with ease and diplomacy. Compass was key in the success of raising our daughter's ACT and Subject Test scores."

− Ginny L, Mother of Evelyn, 12th Grader at Archer School for Girls

"We used Compass to prepare our son (rising senior) for both the ACT and two SAT Subject Tests. When I initially contacted Compass, and spoke to our director, she was very responsive to my many questions. Additionally, the materials she provided to me, as a parent, were incredibly helpful. Our son's results on all exams were excellent. I highly recommend Compass - the team is top notch!"

− Barbara C, Mother of John, 12th Grader at La Canada High School

"We love Compass and are happy to shout it from the rooftops. You made the highly difficult process of these exams palatable for both of my daughters. Thank you!"

− Susan L, Mother of Krista, 12th Grader at Vistamar School

"We have three children, two of whom have used Compass already and the other will be doing so soon. We could not speak more highly of Compass and the services provided - their tutors know just the right balance for our children."

− Alan P, Father of Isaac, 12th Grader at Redwood High School

"Compass is the best! We were newbies to this process and, unfortunately, used another company earlier on - we should have gone straight to Compass. The tutors are professional and the administration is attentive. Our daughter's scores went way up, so we will definitely use Compass again when it's time for our son to begin the process."

− Karen J, Mother of Grace, 11th Grader at the Branson School

"Catherine found her work with Compass to be the key to comfort in the standardized testing process. Thank you for your superior tutors in several subjects and relaxed drop-in practice test sessions. We will spread the news of your great program to Catherine's classmates!"

− Marilyn J, Mother of Catherine, 11th Grader at Convent of the Sacred Heart

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