Subject Tests are one-hour tests that are designed to assess academic readiness for college. SAT Subject Tests focus on very specific subject areas such as math level 1 or 2, biology, chemistry, physics, literature, United States history, world history, Spanish and more. While SAT Subject Tests are often seen as tests for only those applying for admission to elite universities, every student applying to a four-year college could benefit by taking at least three SAT Subject Tests. Why? Because this strategy could enhance your application and cannot harm your application. This is the advantage that optional score reporting gives to you!
This is very different from advice that is commonly given. Yet, there is obvious justification. Many students find the SAT and ACT very challenging and don’t score as well as they’d like. Some of those same students excel in specialized subject matter such as physics or literature and can get really high scores on the subject tests. Taking Subject Tests represents an opportunity for those students to show colleges something special, beyond what can be deduced from SAT or ACT scores alone. The best part is, there is no downside since score reporting is optional.
The upcoming 2013 dates for the SAT Subject Tests are May 4, June 7. Registration deadlines for the spring dates are fast approaching. Students can choose to take one, two or three SAT Subject Tests during each date. SAT Subject Tests cannot be taken on the same day as the SAT.
Here are five tips for students taking the SAT Subject Tests this spring or fall:
- The College Board allows test takers to take up to three SAT Subject Tests in a single testing day. Students should always take full advantage of the testing schedule by taking three tests in a single sitting. It’s only a couple of extra hours and the cost is nominal.
- As long as students register to take three exams, they can take any three they want, in any order with the exception of Language with Listening, regardless of which ones were previously indicated on the registration form. Since registration closes months in advance of the test, students may change their mind last minute based on the successes or difficulties they’ve had while preparing.
- Students should strategize in advance the order in which they want to take what tests. If students tend to be nervous when tests begin, they should consider taking the most important test in the second hour. If not, take the most important exam first, followed by the next most important and then the least important.
- Most colleges will consider only your highest scores. It is extremely advantageous to retake a test on a different date if not happy with the original score. By taking the tests in groups of three, there is plenty of opportunity to attempt a higher score or try a new subject. SAT Subject Tests, along with the SAT, are offered in May and June, then again in October, November, December and January.
- For some students, taking SAT Subject Tests in May, followed by the SAT in June, is better than the more traditional strategy of taking the SAT in May and Subject Tests in June. There is some history to suggest that the June SAT is often easier than SATs given on different dates. This strategy is not right for every student, but for some it could result in better overall test scores.
For more information call 800-428-TEST (8378)