Who Should Take (and prep for) SAT Subject Tests?

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We all recognize the critical role that strong SAT scores play in college admissions. But what about the SAT Subject Tests? Do they make a difference in the minds of college admissions committees? Here’s what you should know.

WHAT THE SUBJECT TESTS DO

The multiple-choice SAT Subject Tests — available in 20 different subjects spanning the liberal arts, STEM, and language — have been traditionally used by colleges as additional criteria for admission, course placement, and student advising. Although college admissions offices are tending to de-emphasize the importance of Subject Tests in an evaluation, there are still reasons to take the exam.

WHY A STUDENT SHOULD TAKE SAT SUBJECT TESTS

There are several instances when taking a Subject Test will help chances of admission:

  • Credentials don’t accurately reflect a student’s ability. Although most universities don’t require Subject Tests, they acknowledge that high test scores could be helpful in certain situations. For example, Harvard suggests that if a student believes his or her other academic credentials (AP results, IN marks, etc.) don’t adequately represent their full academic ability, Subject Tests may bolster chances of admission.
  • Applying to schools with a “fair testing policy.” Some schools have fair testing policies that allow students to use a Subject Test score or an AP score in a particular subject area instead of an ACT or SAT score. This may be a good decision if scores on either of those exams are less than stellar.
  • A student wants to highlight his or her strength in an intended major. Some colleges have very selective admissions for certain majors. Taking Subject Tests that align with a student’s intended major, to show skills in a specialized area of study, can demonstrate a strong commitment and set apart an applicant from a crowded field.

WHEN TO TAKE THE SUBJECT TESTS

In general, students who hope to pursue a STEM major in college are the ones who end up preparing for Subject Tests:  Click to read the full article.

Ian Siegel

Ian Siegel

For more information about how to navigate the college tract, contact director of Streamline Tutors, Ian Siegel who specializes in college counseling, test prep, and academic coaching. You can visit his website atStreamlineTutors.com, or contact him directly at [email protected]
Ian Siegel

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