SAT II: SUBJECT TESTS
The Subject Tests are administered by the College Board and are usually given on the same days as the SAT I. The tests are designed to measure your knowledge or skill in a particular subject area and to apply that knowledge or skill. The tests are curriculum-based, and being such, it is much easier to study for them than it is for the SAT. Many of the more selective colleges require their applicants to take one, two, or even three Subject Tests. Some even specify the tests you must take.
In 2001-2002, Subject Tests are offered in: Writing, Literature, Mathematics Levels I-C and II-C, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, United States History, World History, French, French with Listening, Spanish, Spanish with Listening, German, German with Listening, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Chinese with Listening, Japanese with Listening, Korean with Listening, and English Language Proficiency. All of the tests except Writing take one hour and consist only of multiple choice questions. The Writing Test also takes one hour but includes a twenty-minute essay with forty minutes of questions.
Visit the College Board website to learn more about each of the SAT II: Subject Tests. From this page, you can find the following for each test to determine if it would be an appropriate test for you to take: purpose, anticipated skills, format, sores reported, and recommended preparation.
You must check the Subject Test requirements for each of the colleges to which you are applying. Registration for the tests is the same as that for the SAT. You may take up to three tests at one administration. An informative booklet with sample questions from each test is available in your guidance or college counseling office. Remember that you can study for the Subject Tests, and it is generally better to take them as soon after the respective courses as possible, even before junior year.
The Writing Test will be found to be quite difficult for those who are not at ease with writing well under pressure on a given topic. The Chemistry and Physics Tests require a fairly rigorous preparation; many students will take the test at the same time as the respective AP course. The language tests should be considered by students who have studied at least three years of that language, unless your school has a very strong language program and/or you have additional background in the language . You should obviously take the Mathematics test (Level IC or IIC) for which you are best prepared. Good study books for all of the tests are available in bookstores.
Scores for the Subject Tests are similar to those on the Verbal and Mathematics sections of the SAT, on a scale of 200 to 800. Some colleges use the scores as a part of the admission criteria, others use them for placement purposes for students who have been accepted. The tests you decide to take, when you take them, and the scores you receive can be very important factors in the admission formulas of the schools which require them.
When registering for the Subject Tests, you have the option of withholding your scores. By doing so, you are keeping any college from ever seeing the score until you give permission for that score to be released to your SAT score record. Withheld scores will not appear on the cumulative SAT/Subject Test score reports which your colleges will receive. When, and if, you decide to release certain Subject Test scores, they will then become a part of your cumulative test record. Remember that you must allow five to six weeks between the time you release scores and the time they are received by colleges. The score withholding process is described in the registration booklet. It is nice option to consider, especially when taking the Subject Tests before senior year.
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