Jump-Start Your Practice
Order the Official SAT Subject Test Study Guide in Physics and get two full-length practice tests, detailed answer explanations, tips, and more.
The Physics Subject Test assesses your understanding of concepts from one year of introductory physics on the college-preparatory level, as well as reasoning and problem-solving skills derived from lab experience. If you’re thinking about pursuing a math- or science-based program of study (such as science, technology, engineering, or math), taking the Physics Subject Test is a great way to demonstrate your interests on your college application.
Video Lessons from Khan Academy
Use the free Khan Academy® lessons in this playlist to study for the Physics Subject Test.
|200-800||60||75 (Multiple Choice)|
- 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
Getting Ready for the Test
|Skills||Approximate % of Test|
|Fundamental concepts & knowledge||12%-20%|
- Ability to recall and understand the major concepts of physics and to apply these physical principles to solve specific problems
- Understanding of simple algebraic, trigonometric and graphical relationships, and the concepts of ratio and proportion, and how to apply these to physics problems
- Familiarity with the metric system of units
- Ability to apply laboratory skills in the context of the physics content covered on the test
- One-year introductory college-preparatory course in physics
- Courses in algebra and trigonometry
- Experience in the laboratory
|Content||Approximate % of Test|
Electricity and magnetism
Waves and optics
Heat and thermodynamics
Download the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide (.pdf/6.3 MB) for more information on the topics.
Practice for Free
- Answer physics sample questions online.
- Watch video lessons from Khan Academy.
- Download the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide (.pdf/6.3 MB) for test-taking tips and more sample questions. Then check your answers with the Answer Explanations to the Physics Practice Questions (.pdf/247 KB).
Order Official Study Guides
- The new Official SAT Subject Test Study Guide in Physics includes two full practice tests.
- The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests: Second Edition is the only study guide that covers all 20 tests.
Additional Things to Know
When answering questions, you should assume that the direction of any current is the direction of flow of positive charge (conventional current).
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.