Planning and Preparing for SAT Subject Tests

April 3, 2018, by

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Planning and Preparing for SAT Subject Tests

Spring is in the air! But with all the fun that warm weather brings, it also means crunch time for end-of-year testing. Before you know it, AP Tests and final exams will be here. Along with AP tests, finals, and the SAT or ACT, you may also be wondering about SAT Subject Tests. What are they? Should you take one (or more)?

With some strategic planning, students can maximize their efficiency while preparing for SAT Subject Tests.

Should I take an SAT Subject Test?

The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour exams that test material in specific subjects. All Subject Tests offered by the College Board are listed here. They test the mastery and application of course material from a typical high school class (versus the college-level material that is covered in an AP course). Your score on an SAT Subject Test will give colleges additional information about your academic achievement in the subject areas you choose.

Which SAT Subject Tests should I take?

Before preparing for SAT Subject Tests, it’s important to remember that only some colleges require Subject Tests. Several selective colleges and universities recommend two Subject Tests along with SAT and ACT scores, but many consider them optional. Others require Subject Tests for SAT-takers, but not for those taking the ACT. Research the standardized testing requirements for the colleges that you are interested in before thinking about how many Subject Tests you might take.

When should I take a Subject Test?

Since most Subject Tests correspond to the curriculum of a particular class, these should be taken on either the May or June SAT test dates near the end of the school year.  Particularly for students taking AP exams in the first two weeks of May, taking a corresponding Subject Test can be a great way to knock out one of these tests without too much additional prep time.  For instance, strong US History students who are taking that AP exam on Friday, May 11th, should consider sitting for the US History Subject Test on Saturday, May 5th.

For students taking a Subject Test at the conclusion of a non-AP course, the June date is usually better, as that will be closer to the class final at the end of the school year.  Some Subject Tests, particularly the English Literature, Math 1 or 2, and Foreign Language tests, can be taken in the fall or winter, as they are less directly correlated to the content of a class.  Check with a counselor or tutor for advice on planning out these test dates.  The College Board website provides registration and deadline information for SAT and Subject Test dates during the school year.

How should I begin preparing for SAT Subject Tests?

To know what to expect, students should always take a practice Subject Test (or two or three!) in preparation for the real thing. After taking a practice exam, our tutors can review the results with you and help determine whether a test is a good fit for you.

Contact us with any questions about Subject Tests or APs or to schedule a FREE practice test, and bring on Spring!



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