SAT Subject Test: Chemistry

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry helps assess a student’s comprehension of high school and college preparatory Chemistry course curricula within a standardized test. The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry can help display the student’s excellent Chemistry knowledge, usage, and application for the college applicant who desires acceptance into highly recognized science and engineering universities.

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry will test the student’s knowledge of Chemistry courses generally taught in most high schools. The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry does not replace any Honors’ or Advanced Placement testing for Chemistry but focuses specifically on comprehension and application of high school level Chemistry courses.

Students taking this test should have already completed a year in both college preparatory Chemistry and Algebra and should have had good successes during at least one year of Chemistry laboratory experience. While the student’s knowledge of the fundamental principles of chemistry will be tested, almost half of the test will focus on the student’s skill at understanding, interpreting, and applying the major concepts of Chemistry in order to solve the problems.

To register online for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry, the student should go online to The registration fees for each Subject Test are $22. Students may register for an SAT Subject Test by phone ($15, if the student has already registered for a previous test), register late ($26), request to change a test date or a specific test, or change the preferred testing site ($25). Scores will be posted online at the student’s secure SAT site and/or are mailed to the student with no fee.

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry can be taken at the same testing center where a student would sit for the SAT General Exam. The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry is generally offered in October, November, December, January, May, and June. The SAT General Test is normally offered on the same dates as the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry, but the student may not register to take both the SAT Exam and any SAT Subject Test on the same date.

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry is timed, and the student will be allowed a maximum amount of 60 minutes to complete the test. The test consists of 85 multiple choice questions. Measurements are given using the metric system, and any mathematical problem solving will use simple numeric equations. A calculator is not allowed in the testing center for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry, but a periodic chart will be provided to the student during the test.

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry is divided into eight sections.

  • The first section, the largest, will test the student’s knowledge in atomic and molecular structure of matter and chemical bonding principals (25% of the test) and includes questions regarding energy levels, electron configuration, periodic trends, and quantum numbers.
  • States of matter, including gases, liquids, solids, and solutions, make up the next largest section (16%) and will test the student’s knowledge of density, gas law relationships, kinetic molecular theory, phase changes and diagrams, colligative properties, solution preparation, and solubility.
  • Reaction types (acids, bases, oxidation-reduction, precipitation) and stoichiometry (chemical equations and mole concept) make up the next two larger sections (14% each) and will contain questions concerning Avogadro’s number and Bronsted-Lowry theory; solution strength variation, ph, titrations, combustion, and basic solubility rules; molecular and empirical formulas and mass; balancing equations, limiting reagents, percentage composition, and stoichiometric equations.
  • Descriptive chemistry, comprising 12% of the test, will include questions on common elements, element and chemical reactivity, organic environmental compounds, ions, periodic elemental property trends, and prediction of product activity.
  • Equilibrium and reaction rates (gaseous and aqueous systems along with equilibrium constants and expressions as outlined in Le Chatelier’s principle as well as rates of reaction, including activation energies and energy diagrams) and thermochemistry (chemical energy changes, conservation of energy and calorimetric, entropy and enthalpy changes, Hess’s Law) comprise the two smallest test sections of the entire test.
  • Laboratory skill will also be tested, and this last portion of the test (7% to 12%) will test the student’s expertise with regard to forming conclusions from data results and analysis, calculations, observation, and interpretation; the student should have sufficient expertise with laboratory equipment, procedures, measurements, and safety in the laboratory environment.

When arriving at the testing center, the student must bring an acceptable photo ID, two (2) number 2 pencils, and the printed admission ticket to the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry. The student may not bring a calculator, computer, laptop, or cell phone calculator into the testing center. Students are not allowed to bring to the testing site any books, notebooks, scratch paper, pens, colored pencils, highlighters, rulers, protractors, compasses, timers, cell phones, PDAs, iPods, BlackBerries, or any digital, electronic equipment or devices. A student may want to bring a silent watch to keep track of elapsed time.

It is recommended that the student begin the test by quickly scanning through all multiple choice questions first, answering those that can be easily answered, followed by continuing with the more difficult questions. Read the questions carefully after the first scan before selecting the correct answer. Eliminate answers that are most obviously incorrect, and use the test booklet to mark these incorrect answers for reference. Mark on the test booklet those questions and/or sections that have already been completed. The student should not take too much time on any one section or question but continue to work steadily, moving on to the next question before too much time has elapsed, particularly if the answer is not known. Make an educated guess and go to the next question.

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