World History Subject Test

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Taking the World History Subject Test allows you to demonstrate your interest in the subject and can differentiate you in the college admission process. The test covers all historical themes (political and diplomatic, intellectual and cultural, social and economic) from ancient times to the present, and is an excellent opportunity to showcase your knowledge and achievement in world history.

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Important Notes

Offered in August, December, and June

Test Basics

Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions

Points Minutes Questions
200-800 60 95 (Multiple Choice)

Getting Ready for the Test

  • Familiarity with terminology, 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 world history at the college-preparatory level
  • Independent reading or study of historical topics covered on the test
  • Review of world history textbooks, with careful attention to areas of weakness and trends within major periods (timelines are useful tools for doing this)
Chronological Material Approximate % of Test
Prehistory and civilizations to the year 500 Common Era (C.E.) 25%
500 to 1500 C.E. 20%
1500 to 1900 C.E. 25%
Post-1900 C.E. 20%
Cross-chronological 10%


Geographical Material Approximate % of Test
Global or comparative 25%
Europe 25%
Africa 10%
Southwest Asia 10%
South and Southeast Asia 10%
East Asia 10%
The Americas (excluding the United States) 10%

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 World History

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

  • Four full-length, previously administered World 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

The World History Subject Test uses the chronological designations B.C.E. (before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era). These labels correspond to B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini), which are used in some world history textbooks.

Questions on the World 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.