An increasing number of colleges are requesting that students take one or more SAT II Subject Tests. Which tests are offered, and which ones should you take? How should you prepare for them?

Take SAT Subject Tests to Showcase Your Strengths

Because the SAT II Subject Tests are optional, it’s wise to take only those Subject Tests on which you feel most confident. Some colleges and universities that require Subject Tests will be specific about which tests they require, but most will simply request that you submit scores from any two Subject Tests of your choosing.

The College Board offers SAT II Subject Tests in Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Biology/EM, Chemistry, Physics, French, French with Listening, German, German with Listening, Spanish, Spanish with Listening, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Chinese with Listening, Japanese with Listening, and Korean with Listening. With such a broad range of subjects to choose from, consider which courses you’re most passionate about (and which, perhaps, you’ll continue to study in college) and take tests in those areas.

Allow Time for a Retake, if Necessary

SAT II Subject Tests are offered in October, November, December, January, May and June. Most students take these tests in the spring of their junior year, but it can be wise to take them a semester earlier in case you need to retake the exam.

Understand How the Subject Tests are Scored

You earn one point for every correct answer and lose a quarter of a point for every incorrect answer. This results in a raw score, which is then scaled out of 800 points. Because the tests contain questions of varying levels of difficulty, each worth the same amount of points, it’s wise to answer all of the easy questions first. Then pass through the exam a second time and answer any questions you didn’t answer the first time. It makes sense to guess only when you’ve eliminated the question down to two answer choices.

Take Practice Tests

“Practice makes perfect” is a cliché for a definite reason. Very few people who attain perfect scores on the SAT or the SAT II Subject Tests do so without having taken practice exams. In fact, the vast majority of those who do achieve perfect scores have likely taken several practice exams. Find a reputable testing center or obtain practice test materials online. If you need help finding practice tests or practice materials, contact a test prep tutor who can assist you. Do your best to simuate actual test conditions and see where your strengths and your weaknesses lie. This will provide you with information you can present to an expert Subject Test tutor who’ll use it to formulate a targeted SAT II Subject Test prep plan for you.

Work with a Private Tutor Who’s an Expert in Your Subject

Because the SAT II Subject Tests are more advanced and more difficult than the regular SAT, many students choose to work with private tutors who are experts in their chosen subjects. This can result in a more organized and comprehensive prep experience, which translates to a competitive edge in the college admissions process. If you have any questions about the SAT II Subject Tests, drop us a line at [email protected]

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