Try these sample SAT Subject Test (formerly known as the SAT II) questions to get familiar with question types and see where to focus your study time

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Are you prepared for the SAT Subject Tests? Try these sample SAT Subject Test questions from the Biology, Literature, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Physics, and U.S. History exams to see where to focus your study time. Answers are provided at the end of all the questions.

Biology E/M

1. What would happen to a human red blood cell if it was placed in distilled water?
AIt would shrivel
BIt would plasmolyze
CIt would lyse
DIt would dehydrate
EIt would not be affected
2. Which of the following terms best encompasses all of the populations of organisms living together and potentially interacting in an area?
ACarrying capacity
DBiological community
EGeographical community
3. If a molecule of DNA is composed of approximately 16.2% adenine (A) and 33.4% guanine (G), the percentage thymine (T) and cytosine (C) must be approximately:
A16.3% T and 16.3% C
B34.1% T and 34.1% C
C34.1% T and 16.3%
D16.3% T and 34.1% C
E33.4% T and 16.2% C


"The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls"

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls.
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveler to the shore,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1. The stanza length of "The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls" is which of the following?
2. What does the rising and falling of the tide represent?
AThe comings and goings of a traveler
BLife cycles
CLunar phases
DEmotional highs and lows
ETriviality of life
3. What does the author portray with the image of darkness in the first stanza?
AClosure of day
COminous portent
DSoftening of sounds
EArrival of the traveler

Math Level 1

1. The equation x2 + 9 = 2y2 is an example of which of the following curves?
2. At what point(s) does f(x) = x2 + 3x + 2 intersect the x-axis?
A(2, 0) and (1, 0)
B(0, 2) and (0, 1)
C(0, –1) and (0, –2)
D(–1, 0) and (–2, 0)
E(–1, 0) and (2, 0)

Math Level 2

1. If x – 2y = 0 and y2 – 4x = 0 (for all x > 0), x =
2. A purse contains a total of 15 coins, all of which are either dimes or nickels. If the total value is $1.20, how many are dimes and how many are nickels?
A10 dimes and 5 nickels
B7 dimes and 8 nickels
C11 dimes and 4 nickels
D9 dimes and 6 nickels
E8 dimes and 7 nickels


1. During a company picnic, 6 accounting department workers participate in a tug of war with 6 sales force personnel. Each team pulls on the rope with 1200N of force. What is the tension in the rope?
2. An Olympic weightlifter lifts a weight bar weighing 2000N straight up to a height of 2.25 meters in a time of 0.65 seconds. The weightlifter stands holding the weight at that height for the next 4 seconds before dropping the weights to the floor. How much power did the weightlifter use to lift the weights overhead?
A2925 watts
B3077 watts
C4500 watts
D6923 watts
E9100 watts

U.S. History

1. The most significant effect of "dollar diplomacy" was:
Athe Panama Canal
Bintervention in domestic elections in Nicaragua
Csuspicion and mistrust of the United States
Dlarge profits for U.S. banks from Latin American investments
Ethe reduction of U.S. protective tariffs
2. All of the following are true about Latinos' experiences in World War II EXCEPT:
Aunlike African Americans, Latinos fought in integrated units
BLatino youths were the target of Zoot Suit riots in several major U.S. cities
CPuerto Ricans were not allowed to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces
Dthrough the bracero program, Mexicans were brought to the U.S. to work in agriculture
ELatinos and Latinas found work in defense industries as a result of the Fair Employment Practices Commission
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SAT Subject Tests® Answers

Biology E/M

1. The correct answer is (C). The solute concentration inside a human red blood cell is greater than that of distilled water. If such a cell was placed in distilled water, the water concentration outside the cell would be greater than the water concentration inside the cell, and the cell would take up water by osmosis. Animal cells do not have cell walls to prevent unlimited expansion, thus the cell would lyse (swell until it burst).

2. The correct answer is (D). You would be more likely to find this type of question on the Biology E test.

3. The correct answer is (D). In the DNA molecule, base pairing occurs between adenine and thymine, which are held together by two hydrogen bonds, and base pairing occurs between guanine and cytosine, which are held together by three hydrogen bonds. Therefore, the percentages of adenine and thymine would be similar as would the percentages of guanine and cytosine. You would be more likely to find this type of question on the Biology M test.


1. The correct answer is (C). If you have studied Latin or a Romance language, you might be able to figure this answer out from the root words of the stanza forms. The tercet, choice (A), has three lines per stanza. The quatrain, choice (B), has four lines. The correct answer, the cinquain, has five lines. The sestet, choice (D), has six, and the octave, choice (E), has eight.

2. The correct answer is (B). Choice (A) is too literal an interpretation. The poem does not mention the moon, so (C) is inappropriate. Choice (D) can be eliminated because emotions are not a part of the poem. Choice (E) contradicts the sense of the poem.

3. The correct answer is (C). Choices (A) and (E) offer too literal an interpretation. Since a bird is heard, silence seems out of place, choice (B). Choice (D) does not make much sense. The darkness suggests death, hence, an ominous portent.

Math Level 1

1. The correct answer is (A). Just rewrite the equation to 2y2x2 = 9 to see that it is a hyperbola.

2. The correct answer is (D). Set f(x) = 0 and solve by factoring and using the zero-factor property. That is, f(x) = (x + 2)(x + 1) = 0 then x + 2 = 0 and x + 1 = 0, which says the x-intercepts are (–2, 0) and (–1, 0).

Math Level 2

1. The correct answer is (C). To obtain the value of x, solve the two equations x – 2y = 0 and y2 – 4x = 0 simultaneously. Plugging in x = 2y in the second equation, we have y2 – 4(2y) = 0; y = 8. This gives us x = 16.

2. The correct answer is (D). Let there be x dimes and y nickels. Then you have x + y = 15 (the total number of coins) and (0.1)x + (0.05)y = 1.20 (the total value). Solving the equations simultaneously, you have x = 9 and y = 6.


1. The correct answer is (A). The tension in a rope is the same throughout. Both teams must pull with a force of 1200N to maintain static equilibrium, so the total tension is 2400N.

2. The correct answer is (D). Power is the rate at which work is done, Power = work divided by time. The weightlifter lifted the weights up from the floor to a distance of 2.25 meters above the floor in a time of 0.65 seconds. The work the weightlifter did to raise the weights can be calculated either by (F × s × cos(theta) or by using the potential energy (mgh). Divide the work by the time he took to raise the weights, and the power he develops is 6923 watts.

U.S. History

1. The correct answer is (C). The legacy of William Howard Taft's "dollar diplomacy" was mistrust and suspicion of the U.S.'s motives toward Latin American nations. Choice (A) occurred before Taft's administration. The United States intervened in Nicaragua several times, including once during Taft's administration, but choice (B) is not broad enough to be significant. Choices (D) and (E) are incorrect.

2. The correct answer is (C). Puerto Ricans had been made U.S. citizens in 1917 under the Jones Act. Puerto Ricans served in World War I and another 65,000 served in World War II. Although choice (A) is true, Latinos often served in units that originated in states with high concentrations of Latinos, such as New Mexico.

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