SAT Subject Tests (SAT IIs)
Even though some colleges do not require SAT II tests, the most competitive schools require at least two of them. In addition, if your target colleges do not require SAT II tests, you will still be competing with a large pool of students who will have taken those tests. Therefore, take subject tests in your strongest subjects no matter where you apply in order to make yourself as competitive as possible.
To find out what subject test requirements your schools of choice have, google
“SAT subject tests requirements for school X”
or go to the College Board site:
Which SAT IIs Should You Take?
Take Subject Tests in all your strongest areas. If you are strong in Spanish, take Spanish. If you are strong in science, take science tests. Often schools require a test in math and a test in the humanities (history, literature, etc.). If math is not a strength, take the easiest of the two math tests (math level I). Of the humanities, history is the easiest.
A very important point to remember is that it is much better to get a high score (700+) on an easier subject than a low score on a hard one. Take tests only in the areas in which you know you can do well.
How to Study for SAT Subject Tests?
SAT II tests do not require to practice strategies or to understand how the test works. Instead, SAT IIs test factual knowledge of various subjects. The key to doing well is to memorize the right material. There are no strategies involved.
To find the right material to study for each test get
The College Board Official SAT Subject Test Guide.
Read the whole Guide to figure out what kind of material you need to know for each test. After you have decided on the tests you want to take, get Barron’s preparation book on each of those tests. Barron’s has excellent material on all the SAT II subjects (available on Amazon).
When to Take Subject Tests?
Be sure to coordinate your SAT I with your SAT II tests. They are given on the same days, so you need to plan your timing. Ideally, you want to take SAT IIs as early as you can to get them out of the way, and soon after you take a class in the subject. Take a SAT II right after a class on the subject, if you can. That way less memorizing will be necessary.
To find subject test dates and to register, go to
Subject tests sum up:
- Take a subject test in each area in which you are strong.
- A high score in an easier subject is better that a low score in a hard area (700+ is a high score).
- Subject tests only require memorization of material. They test factual knowledge straightforwardly.
- Plan your subject tests as early as possible to get them out of the way.
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