Tagged: SAT II

SAT Subject Tests: What You Need To Know

As the clock ticks down to the end of junior  year, students are scheduling and prepping for standardized tests.  Most will choose the SAT or the ACT and take the AP exams for the courses they complete this year.

As of March 2018 only 7 colleges require SAT Subject tests: Cornell (some departments), CalTech, Harvey Mudd, Harvard, MIT, svMcGill (or the ACT), and Webb Institute.

Fourteen more recommend subject tests: Georgetown wants to see 3 tests; the others, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Lafayette, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Rice and Yale, University of Delaware (strongly recommend for Honors), University of Georgia suggest 2. “Recommended” should be read as ‘required”

Check with each university for specifics on which ones are preferred.

SAT 2, or subject tests are aligned with the material covered in a high school curriculum.  Unless specified, colleges don’t care which tests are submitted.  Engineering programs are likely to expect to see  either Math 1 or Math 2 and Physics.

The tests offered are Math 1 (SAT math); Math 2 (pre-calc)

Biology with emphasis on Ecology or Molecular Biology; Chemistry and Physics

US or World History

Literature adds poetry and drama to the SAT literature questions

Languages.  Many native speakers take these tests; not being a native speaker doesn’t impact the scores significantly.  Test prep is suggested.

Each test is one hour and a max of 3 may be taken on the same day.  Register for one test to save your seat.  On the day of the exam you can choose which exams to take and in which order.  You may take fewer or more than you registered for.

Subject tests are offered on all test dates except March.  The Language with Listening is ONLY offered in November.  The multiple choice test is as highly valued as the test with  listening.

Scoring     Tests are scaled 200-800 and also by percentile.  Math exams have many testers score 800 so the highest percentile coordinated with the top score is around 80th percentile.  Good news is that you can miss 4-5 questions and still receive your 800; a 750 or better can be reached with 8-9 incorrect answers.

You will find 5 answer choices and there is a quarter point penalty for guessing.

Score Choice     You are permitted to take the same test more than once and can choose which scores to send unless a college requires all scores.

Accommodations that you have for the SAT apply to subject tests as well.

If you want to confer on which tests to take and when to take them, lets talk! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679






When Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

For most students its a good idea to take the PSAT (pre-SAT) or PLAN (pre-ACT in their freshman year or at the latest in their sophomore year.

Many students take the SAT or ACT over the summer between sophomore and junior years so they can decide if they want to take a prep course before taking the test again in the winter of their junior year.

Due to the imminent changes in the SAT which take effect in January of 2016 it might be advisable to take the SAT in the fall of junior year so that the test they take will be the one that has been around for a while and for which the prep-books and courses are well prepared.

ACT is working on a new version but there isn’t yet a specific date when the new test will replace the current one.  The changeover will probably take place sometime in 2016 as well.

Why so early?  In May and June of junior year you will need to take SAT II, subject tests so you have scores to report when you apply in the fall.  This is an ideal time because you will have just completed a year of instruction in the subjects on which you will be tested.  Very few students choose a subject test in a course they took in freshman or sophomore year.



HS Juniors Are the Bridesmaids of College Admissions

Everyone asks high school seniors “Where are you applying”. “Where did you get in?” “How much financial aid did you get?” Seniors are the stars of the show.

Juniors, however, are the ones doing the heavy lifting. This is the year when they must visit colleges, near and far; develop criteria for those they will eventually apply to; take standardized tests and attend to details.

Oh yes, they are also taking a challenging course load and keeping grades up.

One of the details they are taking care of is developing or maintaining relationships with teachers and their guidance counselor, people who will be asked to write letters of recommendation. It is so much easier to write positively about a student known well by the rec writer than about one who is a face and id number.

Juniors also need to assess their proficiency in their course work and choose 2 or 3 subjects in which they will take SAT II exams at the end of the year. Many colleges expect to see the results and may use them in placement as well as admissions. Typically, one math or science and one non-math or science are selected. If a foreign language is one of the choices, it should include the listening component.

A final pressure on juniors is planning a summer that will perhaps offer experience in a potential area of study or will generate income for college expenses. The pre-senior summer must also leave time to finalize the college list and begin filling out applications and writing essays.

Juniors carry a heavy burden. The year is a training ground for time management and organizational skills that will be very important when the first year of college rolls around.