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Subject test: Maybe, maybe not.

The Subject tests are SAT IIs (“SAT 2s”), which test on specific topics such as math, languages, literature, biology, and more. No subject tests are given in March, and language with listening is only given on specific dates and requires special equipment. Visit to see the exact schedule and take a free subject test. Many colleges do not require an SAT II.

Step 1: Know
Either your intended area of study or how selective your college choice may be. . .
Visit the website of a college you are interested in and click on admissions and then application process. Some may have it directly on that page, others may have you open a requirement grid because they request different tests for different majors. For instance, Cornell wants 1 and sometimes 2 subject tests; an engineering applicant needs one in Math and one in a science, whereas a Hotel Administration applicant needs only one in math.

Step 2: Plan
Recall that SAT IIs are administered on the same dates as SAT I (the one you take to apply to college), so you cannot take SAT I and SATII on the same day. Each SAT II takes 1 hour and you can take up to 3 on the same test date- that is a lot of focus and a lot of studying beforehand! If you are preparing for any AP tests, the best time to take an SAT II is May, the same week as the AP tests. Take the SAT II in the same subjects as your AP tests so you don’t have to double up your studying- Truly the best use of your time and effort. That means you can take the SAT I in June, and focus all your energy on that after AP’s are over and before exams bog you down. Or maybe October (last opportunity for early decision) or November of senior year is a better time so you can study over the summer.

Step 3: Prepare
Study! It is the best way to do well on a subject test. Get to know the format so when you get in there, you can show what you know.

All the best!

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  • veterinary technician · April 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article.

  • Lorraine · March 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Lynn – great advice. Taking the SAT II’s around the same time as the AP’s has proven to be a real time saver for studying – especially when they have so much to do in Jr year. I think it helps them feel better prepared as well.

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