U.S. History Subject Test

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Showcase your achievements and knowledge to colleges by taking the U.S. History Subject Test. It’s a great way to enhance your college application and stand out in the admission process.

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Important Notes

Offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June.

Test Basics

Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions

Points Minutes Questions
200-800 60 90 (Multiple Choice)

Getting Ready for the Test

  • Familiarity with historical concepts, cause-and-effect relationships, geography, and other data necessary for understanding major historical developments
  • A grasp of concepts essential to historical analysis
  • An ability to use historical knowledge in interpreting data in maps, graphs, charts, or cartoons
  • One-year comprehensive course in U.S. history at the college-preparatory level
  • Independent reading or study of historical topics covered on the test
  • Review of U.S. history textbooks, with careful attention to areas of weakness and trends within major periods (timelines are useful tools for doing this)
Material* Approximate % of Test
Political history 31–35%
Economic history 13–17%
Social history 20–24%
Intellectual and cultural history 13–17%
Foreign policy 13–17%

*Note: Social science concepts, methods, and generalization are incorporated into this material

Periods Approximate % of Test
Pre-Columbian history to 1789 20%
1790 to 1898 40%
1899 to the present 40%

Download the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide (.pdf/6.3MB) for more information on the topics.

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The Official SAT Subject Test Study Guide in U.S. History

Get ready for the U.S. History Subject Test with official tests from the test maker. This guide features:

  • Four full-length, previously administered U.S. History Subject Tests
  • Detailed answer explanations for all test questions
  • The most up-to-date test-taking tips and approaches

The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests, Second Edition

Get the only study guide available for all 20 SAT Subject Tests.
Features include:

  • 20 full-length, previously administered Subject Tests
  • Detailed answer explanations for all test questions
  • The most up-to-date tips and approaches on selecting which tests to take, the best time to take the tests, and how to best be ready for test day
  • The latest versions of the instructions, background questions and answer sheet
  • Detailed descriptions of every Subject Test, including topics covered and recommended course work
  • Two audio CDs for all six Language with Listening Tests

Additional Things to Know

Questions on the U.S. History Subject Test may be presented as separate items or in sets based on quotes, maps, pictures, graphs or tables.

Please note that this test reflects what is commonly taught in high school. Due to differences in high school classes, it’s likely that most students will find questions on topics they’re not familiar with. This is nothing to worry about. You do not have to get every question correct to receive the highest score (800) for the test. Many students do well despite not having studied every topic covered.