US History SAT Subject Test

Prove that you have a general comprehension of US history.

Why did the US advocate the Open Door policy in 1899?
If you’re thinking, “What was the Open Door policy?” you’re probably not quite ready to take the US History SAT Subject Test! That’s OK – with focused study you’ll know the Open Door policy and a lot more besides.
The US History SAT Subject Test contains 90 questions measuring your knowledge of American chronology, society, politics and geography. As with the other SAT subject tests, you’ll have one hour to complete the exam.

What the Test Does (and Doesn’t) Cover

If mastering American timelines sounds more tranquilizing than enlivening, take comfort in the fact that the US History SAT Subject Test rarely requires the recollection of specific dates or statistics. Instead, questions assess general comprehension. A broad overview of American history with emphasis on the following skills is critical:

  • Understanding cause-and-effect relationships and geography
  • Analyzing primary source historical texts
  • Interpreting maps, graphs, charts and political cartoons
  • Knowing major events in various historical periods

Most questions concern some aspect of American politics, economics or society. It’s better to know a little about each historical period (from pre-Columbian to present day) than a lot about only a few.
If your knowledge of history spans the globe, you may also want to consider taking the World History SAT Subject Test.

How is the Test Scored? What is the Average Score?

Students who take the US History SAT Subject Test receive a score between 200 and 800. In 2011, the average (mean) score was 608. Be aware: the SAT does not penalize blank answers, so strategize accordingly. If you don’t know a question, it may be smarter to skip it.
Knowing how to prepare for the SAT is your first step toward a high score. When it comes to the US History subject test, it’s wise to keep an open door – and an open mind – study policy.

Other SAT Subject Tests You Can Take: