SAT II Chemistry

Everything You Want To Know About the Chemistry Test

SAT is a standardized test in the areas of Critical Reading, Math and Writing. These areas are the basics taught to all students irrespective of their backgrounds. This is the reason why SAT is the benchmark for almost all colleges during their admission process. A combination of your test scores and high school grades can predict your success at college level.

Apart from the main test, there are SAT subject tests known as SAT ii. These are offered in streams of Language, Literature, History, Science and Math. These tests help you showcase your domain knowledge and they are recommended by most colleges. Chemistry comes under the science stream along with Physics and Biology.

What is Tested

The Chemistry exam tests your conceptual understanding and your ability to apply scientific principles in a practical scenario. The main areas you need to concentrate on are data analysis and interpretation, solving word problems, ratios and exponents, scientific notations, basic algebra, laboratory work and metric system of units. These are the areas beyond your actual chemistry knowledge. The following classification of skills and marks will give you a better idea-

  • Fundamental concepts and knowledge- 20%
  • Applications of knowledge- 45%
  • Synthesis of knowledge- 35%

From these numbers it is evident that application based questions are most important for the Chemistry test, therefore it is essential that you have sufficient practice in the laboratory as well as in the classroom.


The scoring pattern for this test is similar to the main SAT. It consists of 85 multiple choice questions marked on a scale of 200-800. The duration of the test is one hour. Also note that you will have to be very quick here because the duration of the test very is short. The scoring procedure for the Chemistry test is as follows-

  • If you get an answer correct, you will get a +1 on your overall score.
  • 1/4 is deducted for each incorrect 5-choice question, 1/3 for each incorrect 4-choice question and 1/2 for each incorrect 3-choice question.
  • No points are deducted for leaving a question.

Topics To Prepare

The distribution of topics and their corresponding marks is as follows-

Topic Percentage
Structure of Matter 25%
States of Matter 16%
Reaction Types 14%
Stoichiometry 14%
Equilibrium and Reaction Rates 5%
Thermo-Chemistry 6%
Descriptive Chemistry 12%
Laboratory 8%


The best way to prepare for this test is available on the College Board site Once you register at this site, you have access to many resources like “The Official Guide For All Subject Tests”, “The Official SAT Online Course” and other free preparation materials. The important things needed to take the Chemistry test are-

  • A minimum of one year of study at high school level.
  • A detailed knowledge of basic Mathematics required i.e. algebra, ratios and exponents.
  • Sufficient practical experience in the laboratory.

Important Notes

  • The subject test is offered during October, November, December, January, May and June.
  • Calculator is not permitted since it only requires simple calculations.
  • All units are in metric system.
  • Periodic table of elements will be provided.

The Chemistry test is an important aspect if you want to apply for admission in this field. Even if a college doesn’t mention it explicitly, they will consider it during the processing of your application.