7 Tips for Taking an SAT Subject Test

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SAT Subject Tests are strenuous one-hour exams that test a student’s knowledge of a particular subject. Scores from these tests can be used to enhance a college application, and are required by most selective schools. Since the stakes are high, it is important that your child do all they can to fully prepare for the SAT Subject Tests. These 7 tips can help ensure success!

1. Choose Subjects That You’re Already Studying In School

SAT Subject Tests are offered in 20 subjects, spanning five subject areas. The choice of which test(s) to take is entirely up to you, so choose subjects that you’re already working on in school. If you’re taking an AP or honors class – and especially if you’re doing well in an AP or honors – you should take a test in that subject while it’s fresh in your mind and already on your plate.

2. Know Exactly What Material Is Covered

If you’re cruising through your AP Biology class, it’s a great idea to take the Biology SAT Subject Test – but the material you’re tested on in school, or on the AP Exam, may be different from what’s on the SAT Subject Test. Head to the Collegeboard website and click into the subject you’re interested in to see what topics are on the exam.

3. Understand The Strategies

You get one point for each right answer and lose a quarter of a point for a wrong one. Hard questions count the same as easier ones, so plan accordingly. Hint: Answer the easy questions first! And of course, know when to guess! If you can eliminate even one wrong answer, probability says you should go ahead and take a guess.

4. Move at Steady Pace…But Don’t Rush

Pacing is an issue many students have a problem with on standardized tests such as these. Through practice, you can develop a feel for how long questions take and plan accordingly. Your Revolution Prep advisor can also give you tips on how to maintain a good flow on SAT Subject Tests.

5. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are the most effective way to prepare for SAT Subject Tests. Not only do they allow you to see the types of questions on the test, your advisor can help you determine patterns in questions you missed and give you tips to not miss them on the actual exam.

6. Take Multiple Tests At One Time

We know, at first glance, this sounds awful. But, yes, you can take up to three SAT Subject Tests in one day – and since they’re only an hour long, we recommend knocking out two in one day. There’s only a small window to take these exams: you want to take them towards the end of the school year, when you’ve already covered the material in school – but NOT as your studying for finals or your ACT/SAT. So if you can find two somewhat related topics – say Chemistry and Math II – that you feel really confident in, you can pretty much take care of these tests in one short sitting. One two hour test-day sounds a lot better than two one-hour test days…

7. Put In The Prep Time

This one seems obvious, but the more time and effort put into these tests, the better you’ll do. Even though you’ll likely be studying these subjects in school, and perhaps prepping for the AP Exam, make sure to put in the time studying for the SAT Subject Tests specifically. Grab a prep book, find some online practice questions, or work with a tutor to make sure you walk in on test day feeling good and confident.

Armed with these tips, you are already on your way in your preparation for any of the SAT Subject Tests. Many students benefit from one-one-one tutoring that will allow you to hone the skills from your honors/AP classes and develop helpful test-taking strategies. Even if this is not for you, make sure you set a plan and adequate timeline for preparation to ensure you can do your best!


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