SAT Subject Test: World History

The SAT Subject Test in World History helps assess a student’s knowledge of significant historical events during the various periods in World History. The SAT Subject Test may assist the student in gaining advanced placement in college level World History courses or can help the student gain financial aid and/or scholarships to college level schools in World History.

The SAT Subject Test in World History tests the student’s comprehension of standard World History curricula generally taught in most high schools. The SAT Subject Test in World History does not replace any Honors’ or Advanced Placement testing in World History but will focus specifically on high school level course information of college preparatory World History classes. Students taking this test should have already completed 1 year of college preparatory high school World History class immediately before taking the test and should be familiar with most events throughout the major periods in World History.

To register online for the SAT Subject Test in World History, go online to: The registration fees for the 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), or request to change a test date, a test, or test site ($25). Scores will be posted online at the student’s secure site or can be mailed for no fee.

The SAT Subject Test in World History can be taken at the same testing center where a student would sit for the SAT Exam. The test, offered only in December and June, is generally offered on the same day as the SAT Exam, but may also be offered on other dates. The student may not register to take both the SAT Exam and an SAT Subject Test on the same date.

The test is timed, and the student has a maximum of 60 minutes in which to complete the test. This test consists of 95 multiple choice questions. The test is based on two aspects of World History: chronological and geographic material. Questions may overlap both aspects of World History and may include analysis of information presented in cartoons, charts, graphs, or maps.

The student should be able to demonstrate familiarity of items from historical time lines and major activities in World History. While it is expected that the student may not have studied each of the particular periods of World History in depth that are referenced in the test, students should be familiar with social, cultural, political, diplomatic, and economic historical events and themes throughout history.

Most students should be familiar with the chronological designations generally used in college prep courses that will be used in this test, including B.C. (Before Christ), A.D. (Anno Domini), B.C. E. (Before Common Era), and C.E. (Common Era). Major chronological periods examined are prehistory; civilizations to the year 500 C.E.; the years 500 to 1500 C.E.; 1500 to 1900 C.E.; and post-1900 C.E. Questions on each of these eras are fairly evenly divided across each part of the test. Approximately 10% of the questions may relate to issues and/or events that will cross over or through multiple periods in World History.

Geographic areas in the test are grouped into six world regions: Africa, the Americas (excluding the United States), Europe, South and Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and East Asia. Questions are evenly distributed among each world region, with the exception of questions regarding European History, which encompasses about 5% more than the other geographic areas. Approximately one-quarter of this section include questions relating to global and comparative issues; the student should be able to analyze the cause and effect relationships between the geographic ramifications and cultural consequences during various times in History.

When arriving at the testing center, the student must bring a photo ID, two (2) number 2 pencils, and the printed admission ticket to the SAT Subject Test in World History. 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 computers, laptops, or any digital or 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 the questions and choosing familiar historical issues first, answering questions that the student considers to be easy, followed by continuing with the less familiar periods, wars, and time frames. Read the questions carefully after the first scan. Eliminate answers that are most obviously incorrect, and use the test booklet to mark these answers. Mark off on the test booklet questions and/or sections that have already been completed. The student is advised to be careful with questions that contain the words except, least, and not, as these types of multiple choices can be confusing. The student should not take too much time on any one section or question but to work steadily, continuing on to the next question before too much time has elapsed, particularly if the answer is not known. The student should not spend more than 35 seconds on each question. Make an educated guess, and move on to the next question.

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