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Thursday, September 4, 2014

What are SAT Subject Tests?

So, if you're patting yourself on the back because you've started to figure out the difference between the SAT and the ACT, a new little wrinkle often crops up for parents and students this time of year- the SAT Subject test or SAT II's. These are one-hour tests that are usually only required by highly selective colleges (such as Princeton, MIT and Carnegie Melon) or strongly recommended by others (Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Georgetown). However, there may be other reasons a student may want to take SAT Subject tests:
  • to demonstrate proficiency in specific areas
  • to be able to "place out" of lower level college courses
  • to strengthen a college application
Home-schooled and international students also use the SAT Subject test as a way to demonstrate proficiency to colleges. 
Tests are offered in:
  • English Literature
  • US History
  • World History
  • Math (Level 1 and Level 2)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics 
  • and in several foreign languages
Students should take the Subject test (up to three tests can be taken during one sitting available on most regular SAT testing dates) while course material is fresh in their head. That means a sophomore who just took biology, may want to consider taking the Biology subject test at the end of sophomore year. This takes some planning ahead as there are only seven SAT test dates per year and many students take the regular SAT's two or three times. Sophomores and juniors should be thinking about a test schedule now to make sure they take the tests they need in the time-frame required.

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