While almost all college-bound high school students take the SAT exam, far fewer take or know about SAT subject tests. You yourself may be surprised to learn that there are actually twenty other SAT exams besides the one that most students take. These SAT Subject Tests, also known as SAT II Exams, test subjects in five categories: sciences, mathematics, history, literature, and foreign languages.
Why, you ask, would anyone want to take more SAT exams? Wasn’t the normal one bad enough? Well, some competitive colleges with low admissions rates require or highly recommend that students take several of them, and taking SAT Subject Tests is an excellent way to show colleges what your academic strengths and interests are. For instance, if you dream of becoming a doctor someday, you might want to show your interest in and preparedness for a pre-med program by taking the Biology SAT Subject Test; if you want to be an Engineer, you might take Math II and Physics; an aspiring lawyer might take Literature and US History. That being said, many students try to balance taking math and science subject tests with literature, history, and foreign language tests in order to show colleges that they are intellectually well-rounded.
SAT Subject Tests are also less grueling than the regular exam, since they last only one hour instead of four hours. The best time to take an SAT Subject Test is after you have completed the corresponding high school course; you’ve just done all that studying for your final, so you might as well take the SAT Subject Test before you forget everything!
Another advantage of taking SAT Subject tests is that some colleges offer college credit if your scores are high enough. For instance, at the University of Texas at Austin, SAT subject tests can allow you to place out of introductory German, Korean, Latin, Math, and Physics courses. Keep in mind that different schools have different policies when it comes to using SAT Subject Tests to place out of introductory courses, so you should be sure to check the websites of schools you are interested in before registering for an exam.
In short, SAT Subject Tests are just another way to help you stand out and gain an edge over other applicants. If two students’ applications are pretty much identical, but one took SAT Subject Tests and scored well while the other didn’t, then admissions officers will likely prefer the student who took the Subject Tests. Remember, if you ever want extra help preparing for an SAT Subject test, you can always study with the experts at Test Masters. Until then, happy studying!
Test Masters offers comprehensive courses and tutoring for SAT Subject Tests; you can learn more about the Test Masters SAT Subject Test courses here.