Chemistry Subject Test

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Ready to show colleges what you’re made of? The Chemistry Subject Test assesses your understanding of the major concepts of chemistry and your ability to apply these principles to solve specific problems. If you’re interested in studying science or engineering in college, taking the Chemistry Subject Test can help you demonstrate your interests and showcase your strengths in the subject.

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Test Basics

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

Important Notes

  • Offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June.
  • Calculator use not permitted
  • Problem solving requires simple numerical calculations
  • Measurements are expressed in the metric system
  • A periodic table is provided on the test

Getting Ready for the Test

Skills Approximate % of Test
Fundamental concepts and knowledge 20%
Application of knowledge 45%
Synthesis of knowledge 35%
  • Understanding of the major concepts of chemistry and the ability to apply principles to solve specific problems
  • Ability to organize and interpret results from observation and experimentation, and to draw conclusions or make inferences from experimental data, including data presented in graphic or tabular form or both
  • Laboratory experience and familiarity with the metric system of units
  • Ability to handle simple algebraic relationships and apply these to solving word problems
  • Familiarity with the concepts of ratio and direct and inverse proportions, exponents and scientific notations
  • One-year introductory college-preparatory course in chemistry
  • One-year course in algebra
  • Experience in the laboratory
Content Approximate % of Test

Structure of matter

  • Atomic Structure, including experimental evidence of atomic structure, quantum numbers and energy levels (orbitals), electron configurations, periodic trends
  • Molecular Structure, including Lewis structures, three-dimensional molecular shapes, polarity
  • Bonding, including ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds, relationships of bonding to properties and structures; intermolecular forces such as hydrogen bonding, dipole-dipole forces, dispersion (London) forces

States of matter

  • Gases, including the kinetic molecular theory, gas law relationships, molar volumes, density, and stoichiometry
  • Liquids and Solids, including intermolecular forces in liquids and solids, types of solids, phase changes, and phase diagrams
  • Solutions, including molarity and percent by mass concentrations, solution preparation and stoichiometry, factors affecting solubility of solids, liquids, and gases, qualitative aspects of colligative properties

Reaction types

  • Acids and Bases, including Brønsted-Lowry theory, strong and weak acids and bases, pH, titrations, indicators
  • Oxidation-Reduction, including recognition of oxidation-reduction reactions, combustion, oxidation numbers, use of activity series
  • Precipitation, including basic solubility rules


  • Mole Concept, including molar mass, Avogadro’s number, empirical and molecular formulas
  • Chemical Equations, including the balancing of equations, stoichiometric calculations, percent yield, and limiting reactants

    Equilibrium and reaction rates

    • Equilibrium Systems, including factors affecting position of equilibrium (LeChâtelier's principle) in gaseous and aqueous systems, equilibrium constants, and equilibrium expressions
    • Rates of Reactions, including factors affecting reaction rates, potential energy diagrams, activation energies


    • Including conservation of energy, calorimetry and specific heats, enthalpy (heat) changes associated with phase changes and chemical reactions, heating and cooling curves, entropy

    Descriptive chemistry

    • Including common elements, nomenclature of ions and compounds, periodic trends in chemical and physical properties of the elements, reactivity of elements and prediction of products of chemical reactions, examples of simple organic compounds and compounds of environmental concern


    • Including knowledge of laboratory equipment, measurements, procedures, observations, safety, calculations, data analysis, interpretation of graphical data, drawing conclusions from observations and data

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

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    Additional Things to Know

    Answering Relationship Analysis Questions

    On the actual Chemistry test, relationship analysis questions must be answered on the special section (labeled “Chemistry”) at the lower left-hand corner of your answer sheet. These questions will be numbered beginning with 101. Note that “CE” in this section indicates a correct explanation of the relationship.

    Periodic Table

    A periodic table indicating the atomic numbers and masses of elements is provided.

    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.