SAT Subject Test in World History

The SAT Subject Test in World History is the name of a one-hour multiple choice test given on World History by the College Board. A student chooses to take it depending on the college entrance requirements. Until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests; and from 1995 until January 2005, they were known as SAT IIs. The SAT World History is not taken frequently. Only around 11,000 students take this test, compared to the over-110,000 students who take the United States History Subject Test.[1] Also, unlike the other Subject Tests that are administered monthly, this test is only administered twice a year; once in December, and once in June. This puts pressure on the applicant, because if the student does poorly, it is difficult to retake it.[2]


This test has exactly 95 questions that are to be answered in one hour. Students will receive one point for a correct answer, will receive zero points for a blank answer, and will lose 1/4 of a point for a wrong answer. There are no sections in this test, and so students will answer 95 multiple choice questions without section breaks or rest periods.

Chronology of the Test

Prehistory to 500 C.E. 25%
500-1500 C.E. 20%
1500-1900 C.E 25%
Post-1900 C.E. 20%
Cross-chronological 10%

Geography of the Test

Global or Comparative 25%
Europe 25%
Southwest Asia 10%
Africa 10%
East Asia 10%
South and Southeast Asia 10%
The Americas (excluding the U.S.) 10%

The types of questions they have include specific recall of facts, events, or historical knowledge. Cause and effect questions will be on the test as well. Students are also required to understand major historical developments, such as modernization, imperialization, and explain them the developments through events and other circumstances, and also explain how they happened. Lastly, some questions, include material on how historians perform historical research and analysis. Finally, a very small minority of the questions test historical interpretation of primary source material. These questions tend to be very rare, and a student typically can expect 6-8 at most on this 95 question test.[2]


The College Board recommends a one-year preparatory course in World History, as well as independent reading on material related to historical content. However, the questions are very similar to the AP World History Exam, and it is recommended a student do significant outside study by reading a preparation book or AP Textbook if that student has not taken an AP course in World History.


The student is not allowed to use any notes, textbooks, or any communications device during this test. A student is only allowed to use a Number 2 Pencil with an eraser for this exam, and nothing else. The number 2 pencil with the eraser must be brought by the student, as the testing center usually does not provide any.


See also

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