Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

I am writing this on the last day of Thanksgiving break, and if you were to ask any of my friends where I would be in my hometown, they would unanimously give you the same answer: Starbucks. I have studied here for many, many tests, including everyone’s favorite standardized test (well, besides the SAT, ACT and APs): the SAT Subject Test (AKA SAT II).

I personally took the United States History and Spanish (without listening) SAT IIs. My younger friends have asked, “Grant, how do I study for an SAT II? There aren’t these big review books like for the SAT or ACT!” And they’re right: there isn’t a review book as heavy as a two-month-old baby like there is for the bigger standardized tests. But, with that being said, there are still resources that you can utilize to study for the SAT II.

College Board Official Study Guides

Your first resource should be to search online/in your local bookstore (do those still exist?) for the official study guides published by everyone’s favorite “non-profit,” the College Board. These bad boys have real, previously-administered SAT II exams for you to practice from. Beyond the actual exams, there are answer keys with explanations, helpful tips and tricks, and extra practice questions. However, if you don’t plan on taking all/a majority of the 20 exams offered, I suggest you buy one of the specialized booklets, specific to one or two tests. There are also free practice questions on College Board’s website.

Other Study Guides

Just like with the SAT/ACT, companies like Kaplan and The Princeton Review publish study guides for the exams. Sparknotes also publishes free online test review “books.” Use these if you want more practice or want to work on one specific topic of a subject test. I have found that the quality of the practice exams in these books is not as good as the ones found in the official College Board books, but they are still useful to study with.

Online Practice Exams

I’m sure if you scour the Internet hard enough, you will find practice exams. I used the ones on Sparknotes’s website (I can’t seem to find them anymore), but there are also practice exams at My Max Score’s website and similar sites. Like with the other study guide books not put out by College Board, these online exams are not as reliable as the official ones, but they are still a viable study tool.

Classes and Tutors

If you can afford it, prep classes or tutors are a great way to study. The teachers/tutors do not only review the material with you, but they are motivational coaches and supporters as well. The Princeton Review has tutors/courses in addition to small group instruction. Other large, national companies offer the same resources, as well as smaller, local companies. After all, suffering studying is more bearable when you’re with a friend, right?


If you feel comfortable, ask your teacher to help you review during a free period or during tutoring times. I am sure they would be more than willing to help or point you to a teacher who can help if s/he cannot. I spent one or two free periods per week with my 9th grade Spanish teacher when I was studying for the Spanish SAT II. She was a great help – after all, her job was to teach the same material that was on the exam.

Class Notes

You shouldn’t be taking an SAT subject test if you haven’t sat through the actual subject in high school. Chances are, the material that is covered in class is similar (if not identical) to the material on the exam. You won’t be paying any money, it’s not an extra book to carry, and you get extra review in class – what could be better?! As I mentioned in another one of my articles, I suggest taking the SAT II in May if you are taking an AP course in the same subject. Take this advice from someone who did it: studying for both at the same time is manageable, since the material is almost identical.

So, there you have it: six ways to study for the SAT subject test. Best of luck, and remember: you are so much more than a number between 200 and 800.

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