Italian Subject Test

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The Italian Subject Test can help you stand out to colleges in the admission process. Not only does it indicate your interest in and knowledge of the language, but it could give you a head start in college by allowing you to fulfill basic language competency requirements or place out of introductory-level Italian courses.

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Test Basics

Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions
Points Minutes Questions
200–800 60 80–85 (Multiple Choice)

Important Notes

  • Offered in June only

Getting Ready for the Test

  • Knowledge of high-frequency vocabulary, appropriate idiomatic expressions, and language structure in the context of paragraphs
  • Familiarity with grammatical structure and vocabulary
  • Understanding of content in reading selections taken from such sources as newspaper and magazine articles, fiction, historical works, advertisements, tickets, brochures, forms, and schedules. Commonly taught grammatical constructions are tested.
  • 2–4 years of Italian language study in high school or the equivalent
  • Gradual development of competence in Italian over a period of years
CONTENT Approximate % of Test
Vocabulary in context 30%
Structure in context (grammar) 30%
Reading comprehension 40%

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

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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

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Additional Things to Know

When should I take the Italian test?

There are a few factors to consider as you decide when to take the test. You should have at least two years of strong preparation in the language, but the more the better.

It's recommended that you take the Italian test as close to the end of the most advanced Italian class that you plan to take, while still balancing college admission and placement requirements. You’re likely not to do as well if you take the test after you haven’t been in an Italian class for several months.

  • For seniors studying Italian: If Italian is a strong subject for you, be sure it’s one of the SAT Subject Tests you take in time for colleges to see your score. If you’re only taking it for placement purposes, and not as part of your application, wait until you’re as far along in your course as possible.

Which Italian is used on the Italian test?

The language used on the test is taken from pieces written and dialogue spoken by those who use Italian in their everyday lives. Words or sayings specific to certain geographic areas will not be used in the test. If you’ve had at least two years of strong preparation in the language, then you should be able to understand the Italian on the test.

I’m familiar with Italian but have not taken a class in high school. Can I still take the Italian test?

No matter how you acquired your knowledge of Italian, it’s important to show colleges what you know. Bilingual (or multilingual) abilities are achievements that deserve to be highlighted. Your test will be scored the same way as that of someone who learned Italian in the classroom only. If you’ve learned Italian outside the traditional classroom, you should definitely consider taking the Subject Test in Italian.

If you will be using these results to fulfill a college admission requirement, you should be aware that different colleges have different policies regarding Subject Tests in foreign languages. You should check with the colleges that you’re interested in about their policies and seek guidance from your counselor or teacher on your specific situation.

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 are 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.