What are the subject tests and should students take them?

By Dennis Schulman on

The subject tests (also known as the SAT II) are subject area SAT tests. Although most colleges do not require them, many of the higher academic schools prefer that students take them. Since colleges differ in their requirements regarding the SAT II, students should look at the college websites regarding this issue.

The SAT II is offered at the same time as the standard SAT test. Students can choose from many different subjects, such as world history, u.s. history, biology, chemistry, foreign language. Some colleges want students to take two or three subject tests. Some ask them to take the math test. There are two math tests offered, but colleges usually prefer students to take the higher one (math 2) rather than math 1. The only subject test that does not require prior knowledge is the literature test. There are no particular books tested; it is a reading comprehension test similar to the reading portion of the regular SAT. One difference is that poetry is included.

If students aren’t sure which subject test would be best for them, they can get the review book published by the college board, which includes one complete test of every subject.

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