The SAT is the most widely used standardized test for admission into undergraduate programs in the US. Most high school students aspiring to study in the US take the test in their junior or senior years of high school. In 2018 alone, more than 2.1 million test takers sat for the exam of which only a few hundred scored a perfect 1600. If you’ve been thinking of pursuing an undergraduate education in the US, you’re probably already aware that taking the SAT is a standard pre-requisite. However, a lot of aspiring students are often confused about what SAT Subject Tests are and how they’re different from the SAT. If that sounds like yourself, then read on to find out the differences between the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests. Which ones you should take and what the respective exams aim to test.
What Are SAT Subject Tests?
While the SAT demonstrates overall “college-readiness”, the SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT II) are exams that aim to test students’ knowledge in specific subjects such as Math Level 1 and 2, Physics, English, and World History.
There are 20 subject tests, covering five general subject areas-
These tests each are an hour long and are scored on a scale of 200-800. The fundamental purpose of these tests is to showcase your strengths and how well you know a particular subject. While you can take any number of subject tests (limited to 3 per test day), you should focus on taking the ones that best complement your profile and your intended major. If you plan on majoring in a STEM subject, you should take the math and science tests; likewise, if you plan on majoring in history, you should take U.S, and World History. The Subject Tests can be taken without taking the SAT, but you cannot take a Subject Test on the same day you take the SAT. The SAT Subject Test dates and registration links can be found here.
What Is SAT?
College application processes in the US take a lot of factors into account when deciding whether or not to admit an applicant to the college — including their GPA in high school, extra-curricular, awards and accolades, leadership experiences, and their standardized test scores. While the SAT might only be one of the many factors that admission officers take into account, it plays a very important role in demonstrating your academic competence and your ability to perform well in a rigorous academic environment. The SAT consists of four sections:
2. Writing and Language,
3. Math (further divided into two sections: Calculator and No Calculator),
4. and the optional Essay.
The Reading and Writing sections are scored together on a scale of 200-800, while the Math section is independently scored on a scale of 200-800; the optional Essay is scored on a scale of 2-8. The purpose of the SAT is to test what students have learned in high school and if they are ready to perform well in the academically intensive environment of a college. The SAT test dates and SAT registration links can be found here.
What Is the Main Difference Between SAT 1 and SAT 2?
The main difference between SAT I and SAT II is their purpose — the former tests your overall ability to perform well in college and the latter tests your knowledge in particular subjects that demonstrate your strengths.
Most colleges consider the SAT I a prerequisite and the SAT II optional. However, some colleges do require you to take a certain number of Subject Tests that are relevant to your intended major. Every school has different requirements and you should confirm the pre-requisites with the schools you’re applying to well in advance.
Even if the subject tests are optional, doing well in them can give you an edge over other applicants and boost your application; we recommend taking them even if the colleges you’re applying to don’t require them.
If this article has helped you understand the differences between SAT I and SAT II, please share it to help other aspirants. Also, for any exam-related queries visit Manya-The Princeton Review.
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