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Articles / Preparing for College / 5 Question Types on the SAT World History Subject Test

5 Question Types on the SAT World History Subject Test

Rob Franek
Written by Rob Franek | Dec. 4, 2019
5 Question Types on the SAT World History Subject Test


One of the best ways to prep for an exam is to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test and the types of questions you'll face. Here are five question types that make up the total of 95 questions you'll see on the 60-minute SAT World History Subject Test.

Quote Questions

These questions are easy to spot: You'll be given a quote or short excerpt and asked to identify one of three things:

  • The speaker
  • The time period
  • The general philosophy of the writer/speaker

The answer choices will generally be quite different from each other to help you distinguish clearly between what's right and wrong as long as you can identify the quote. Occasionally, there will be two questions for one quote. There may also be several questions that refer to a group of quotes.

Least/Except/Not Questions

This type of question has to do with identifying the answer choice that does not apply to a given concept, or which does not fit with the other choices. The SAT World History Subject Test tends to phrase this type of question as "Except," but all three versions work in similar ways.

Roman Numeral Questions

The World History Subject Test also commonly presents questions in a Roman numeral format. Here, you'll usually be given a description and will have to select which of the options most fully satisfies it. Here's an example:

Which of the following states had centralized leadership?

I. Ancient Athens
II. Eighteenth-century England
III. Germany in 1939

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II and III

The answer is (D) because it fully satisfies the question. II has centralized leadership, but because (B) says only II has that, and III also does, we know it's the wrong answer.

Another variation involves time sequences. Here, you'll see a list of events with associated roman numerals and the answer choices will put them into various orders. Your task will be to identify the correct order.

Charts, Pictures and Cartoons

Pictures and cartoons are generally used to test your knowledge of geography, architecture and art — that is, can you identify where (or when) the images are from? Charts and graphs will require you to match a given label to its appropriate answer choice.

Factoid Questions

Among all of the question types on World History, these are possibly the most straightforward — which can also make them the easiest place to miss points. Consider these to be little pop quizzes sprinkled throughout the exam. You'll be asked to define a term, identify a person based on a given detail or details, or describe an event. They're sort of like historical vocabulary questions, which means there's little strategy to tackling these apart from some classic memorization beforehand.

Acing a multiple-choice exam is all about determining your strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you know what question types are easier for you before sitting down to take the test. Use practice tests like those in our SAT Subject Test World History Prep to figure out which types of questions you need more work on, so that you can better prepare for them before taking the actual test.

Written by

Rob Franek

Rob Franek

College Admissions and Test Prep Expert

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