SAT Subject Test Scores: I Didn’t Reach My Goal Score – Now What?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SAT_subject_testsWhat to do if You Received a Low Score on Your SAT Subject Test

Results for the June 2018 SAT will be available later this week, along with SAT Subject Test Scores. If you didn’t reach your goal score on your Subject Tests, there are a few things to consider before moving forward with your test prep.

The biggest decision that most students will make after receiving subpar SAT Subject Test result is whether or not to take the same Subject Test again. There are a number of chances to take most SAT Subject Tests in the coming months, so the first thing students should do is check to see if when their test is being offered next. Below is an outline of which Subject Tests are offered on each of the US testing dates. For international testing center offerings, click here.

Subject Test








Biology E/M*



U.S. History

World History




Mathematics Level 1

Mathematics Level 2









Modern Hebrew















French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean with Listening




* Only one Biology test can be taken per test date. After the first 60 questions, you must choose either Biology – Ecological or Biology – Molecular; you cannot take both.

Once you know if you are able to retest (considering when the exam is offered and your college application submission dates), it’s time to start preparing. It’s important to discuss with your college counselor and/or tutor what your goal score should be and when you should sit again for the exam.

When considering whether or not to retest, it is important to acknowledge whether retesting it a realistic alternative for you. Things to ask yourself when looking to retest for an exam:

  1. Do I have time to study for this exam sitting?
  2. Will I realistically put forth the effort needed to hit my goal score?
  3. Is this SAT Subject Test needed for program entrance, or is my Subject Test of choice flexible?
  4. Is my goal score within my testing capabilities?

For students who have the time to put into studying and preparing for the exam, and their goal score is realistically within reach, sitting again could be a great option! Working with a tutor to establish a test preparation plan could be incredibly beneficial in determining whether or not your goal score is attainable. If you do not have the time to study, and your goal score is far out of reach, it may make more sense to either leave your score as is or take a different subject test.

Choosing A New Subject Test
If your starting score is drastically low, this may be an indicator that the Subject Test you chose was not the best subject test for you. Your SAT Subject Test scores are supposed to highlight your skills and capabilities in that subject matter to colleges, so if you are not able to demonstrate your skills, it may be best to not submit your score and try taking a different test. For instance, if you performed very well in your US History class in school, you may consider taking that subject test to demonstrate your knowledge while also performing well on the exam. Make sure to talk to your college counselor about whether changing your subject test is the right decision for you.

Ultimately, it is important to be realistic when choosing which SAT Subject Test best suits your academic profile and college portfolio needs. Since at most colleges require two or three Subject Tests, this grants you the opportunity to choose which exams best represent you. In the end, it is important to plan ahead and make sure you are thoughtfully preparing for your Subject Tests by leaving enough time to study and take the exam, as well as choosing which exams to take that best highlight your academic strengths.

Related Topics

Test Prep

Get the IvyWise Newsletter

 简体中文 »
close wechat qr code