What are SAT Subject Tests
SAT Subject tests indicate your interest and readiness academic stream. For example, if you are planning a major in STEM, showing your strength in science subjects establishes that you are right student for that major. In competitive top schools, they are considered a factor in admissions. Sat subject tests are in five general areas of Math, Science, History, English and language.
Which colleges require subject test
There are 3 categories for colleges. REQUIRED, RECOMMENDED AND CONSIDERED. REQUIRED: These colleges require that you should submit subject tests for admissions. Generally, they require you to take two subjects depending on your major. RECOMMENDED: The do not absolutely require, but still recommend, Considered Category is optional.
SAT Subject tests indicate your mastery over that subject. It reflects your strengths in the subject. They show your interest and readiness academic stream. For example, if you are planning a major in STEM, showing your strength in science subjects establishes that you are right student for that major. In competitive top schools, they are considered a factor in admissions.
- Sat subject tests are in five general areas of Math, Science, History, English and language.
- Sat subject tests have multiple choice questions, the test is on scale of 200 to 800. Each test is 1 hour long. Raw score gives 1 point for each question students are still penalized ¼ of a point for each incorrect answer.
- Subject tests can be taken by registering at college board site. Notice that you cannot give regular SAT and Sat subject test on same day.
- You can take one, two or three subject tests on same day. We recommend that you select two subjects’ tests and score good in them.
why take subject tests??
Subject tests your proficiency to top colleges in subjects and majors you want to peruse and get admitted to top college of your choice. Subjects tests are significant factors in admissions decisions.
The completion has increased these days, SAT/ACT alone is not enough. It may not matter for large public universities, which are not competitive, but as soon as you think about any of Ivy league school, or any top good school, you are competing against many students who also want admission into these colleges.
Subject tests are great way to convince colleges about your proficiency and interest in particular subject.
Some scholarships also look at subject test data. This is bonus if you take the subject test.
Which colleges require subject test
There are 3 categories for colleges.
There are some colleges for which subject tests are must. Recommended for others, and then some colleges come under the category of considered.
REQUIRED: These colleges require that you should submit subject tests for admissions. Generally, they require you to take two subjects depending on your major.
RECOMMENDED: The do not absolutely require, but still recommend students to take the subject tests.
Considered: These colleges mention that subject tests are optional or “supplemental information”.
But their admissions department can still go through the subject test scores.
You should take subjects tests even if they are recommended or considered.
In competitive colleges even if they are NOT on must have list, most students take them anyways. In that case other students land ahead of you in admissions process.
Take for example UT Austin.
Does UT Austin require SAT Subject Tests?
UT Austin’s website says that you are not required to take subject tests. But it’s STEM program is rated 12’th in country. There is high competition. It is wise to submit subject tests to show your strength and interest in Major you are applying for. Most students do submit subject tests.
Stanford does not “require” and Harvard “Recommends”.
In both cases, you will be competing with high scoring individuals, they all would have taken subject tests to show their proficiency, therefore
If you have not taken them, just imagine you will end up on bottom of pile…
The above applies for most of reputed colleges.
Some colleges allow you to take specific courses, if you have taken subject tests. This widens your bucket to choose from, when you are selecting courses in your chosen major.
Which subject tests to take
The subject test should align with your choice of Major and college requirements. For example, liberal arts schools tend to prefer a wide range of academic strengths and interests, so your best bet might be taking a Subject Test in the humanities, like Literature or History, with one in math or science. If you are pursuing STEM major, most colleges require two subject tests like MATH 2 and Physics.
But for time being let us stay on most popular subject tests.
- Students pursuing technology related Majors should take MATH and Physics tests.
For MATH you can choose any one of the following.
MATH Level 1: This tests algebra and geometry.
Math Level 2: It involves algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus
NOTE that trigonometry and pre-calculus do not make MATH 2 any harder than Math 1.
If you like trigonometry and some pre-calculus, go for it.
Click to see direct comparison Math 1 vs Math 2
Physics: This test consists of Mechanics like kinematics, dynamics (Newton’s laws etc.), energy and momentum
Electricity and Magnetism
Waves and Optics, Thermodynamics and modern physics.
- Biology related students should take Biology tests.
Biology tests are of two types. Biology E (Ecology)and Biology M (Molecular Biology)
Biology E emphasize on interaction between organism and environment.
Biology M emphasis molecular options, working of cells, chemical elements.
Note that first 60 questions on both Biology tests are the same. Rest 20 questions are different.
You can read detailed discussion Difference between Biology E and M
- US History: Students are tested on important US history developments, which employs events, data and geography of events. Different aspects of history like political, social and economy are considered.
The above tests are taken by majority.
There are other tests about languages etc. you can get a complete list at Wikipedia. For example, subject test in Korean or Latin. Here is reference for all subject tests list
Complete list of colleges requiring Subject tests is shown on college board’s website. list of colleges
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