SAT CHEMISTRY: all you need to know and more!



SAT Subject test in Chemistry is taken by tens of thousands of students every year. It is supposed to cover an honors high school chemistry class.

How many questions are on SAT Chemistry test?

SAT Chemistry consists of 85 questions.

How long is the SAT Chemistry test?

The test is 60 minutes

What dates is SAT Chemistry test administered?

The test is offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June.

Are calculators allowed?

No, calculators are not permitted on the test. You will have to do all the calculations on your own. The good news are that calculations should be pretty simple. For example, you might have to convert 44 grams of CO2 to moles, but since the molar mass of CO2 is 44g/mol, you can easily deduce that 44 grams are equal to 1 mole. Some calculations might be a bit more difficult than the example shown but no calculation is too long as there is less than a minute given per question asked.

Is Periodic table provided?

Yes, periodic table is provided on the SAT Chemistry subject test.

What topics does SAT Chemistry test cover?

Topics are arranged by approximate % on the test

Structure of matter, 25%

  • Atomic Structure, including experimental evidence of atomic structure, quantum numbers and energy levels (orbitals), electron configurations, periodic trends

  • Molecular Structure, including Lewis structures, three-dimensional molecular shapes, polarity

  • Bonding, including ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds, relationships of bonding to properties and structures; intermolecular forces such as hydrogen bonding, dipole-dipole forces, dispersion (London) forces

States of matter, 16%

  • Gases, including the kinetic molecular theory, gas law relationships, molar volumes, density, and stoichiometry

  • Liquids and Solids, including intermolecular forces in liquids and solids, types of solids, phase changes, and phase diagrams

  • Solutions, including molarity and percent by mass concentrations, solution preparation and stoichiometry, factors affecting solubility of solids, liquids, and gases, qualitative aspects of colligative properties

Reaction types, 14%

  • Acids and Bases, including Brønsted-Lowry theory, strong and weak acids and bases, pH, titrations, indicators

  • Oxidation-Reduction, including recognition of oxidation-reduction reactions, combustion, oxidation numbers, use of activity series

  • Precipitation, including basic solubility rules

Stoichiometry, 14%

  • Mole Concept, including molar mass, Avogadro’s number, empirical and molecular formulas

  • Chemical Equations, including the balancing of equations, stoichiometric calculations, percent yield, and limiting reactants

Descriptive chemistry, 12%

  • Including common elements, nomenclature of ions and compounds, periodic trends in chemical and physical properties of the elements, reactivity of elements and prediction of products of chemical reactions, examples of simple organic compounds and compounds of environmental concern

Laboratory, 8%

  • Including knowledge of laboratory equipment, measurements, procedures, observations, safety, calculations, data analysis, interpretation of graphical data, drawing conclusions from observations and data

Thermochemistry, 6%

  • Including conservation of energy, calorimetry and specific heats, enthalpy (heat) changes associated with phase changes and chemical reactions, heating and cooling curves, entropy

Equilibrium and reaction rates, 5%

  • Equilibrium Systems, including factors affecting position of equilibrium (LeChâtelier's principle) in gaseous and aqueous systems, equilibrium constants, and equilibrium expressions

  • Rates of Reactions, including factors affecting reaction rates, potential energy diagrams, activation energies

How many questions do I need to get right for an 800 score?

College Board recognizes that different high schools cover slightly different material in their chemistry classes. That is why, you do not need to get all the questions right for a perfect score. YAY! According to the official SAT Subject test study guide, you can answer 80 out of 85 questions to get the perfect 800.

Am I penalized for wrong answers?

Yes, for every wrong answer, 1/4 of a point gets deducted. Therefore, you should only make educated guess when you can eliminate three out of five choices. 

What is the best way to prepare for SAT Chemistry exam?

The best way to prepare for the test is to do a LOT of practice.  You should begin by reviewing the material and learning the topics that your school did not teach (if there are any). After reviewing each chapter, you should do a lot of practice. Once you're done reviewing, you should start taking tests. The more tests the better. Take them under test conditions and go over them very thoroughly.

Are there official SAT Chemistry tests?

Yes, CollegeBoard has one SAT Chemistry test in the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide, and two more tests in the The Official SAT Subject Test Study Guide in Chemistry.