WHAT IS A GOOD SAT STUDY RESOURCE?
  • The most recommended SAT study resource is The Official SAT Study Guide.
    • You can get it at a discounted price on Amazon.com.

If you have budget constraint or you simply prefer to study on your computer, you can download online all of the contents (Yes, identical!) FOR FREE!!! See the following links:

SAT AND ACT

 

SAT VERSUS ACT?

Many students and parents begin the college prep process by comparing the ACT and SAT. Two of the most common questions they ask are:

  1. Is the ACT easier than the SAT?
    1. The SAT and ACT generally test the same types of content.
  2. Do colleges prefer scores from the SAT or ACT?
    1. Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions and merit-based scholarships.

The biggest differences between the tests are that the ACT has a science section, and there’s one SAT math section for which you cannot use a calculator. Colleges don’t prefer one over the other, so explore both tests to decide which one is right for you.

Refer to the following table for comparisons of the SAT and the ACT.

ACT VERSUS SAT: HOW DO I CHOOSE?

  • The best way to decide if the SAT or ACT is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test in each.
    • Factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit.
    • For example, the pace of the SAT gives you a tad more time to think through problems, while the ACT can be more of a time crunch. Some students really thrive under the pressure of the clock, while others prefer the extra time to ponder a question.
    • Try this QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both? to learn more.

SAT SUBJECT TESTS

WHAT IS AN SAT SUBJECT TEST?
  • SAT Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based college admission tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas: English, history, math, science and languages. Some colleges use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses as well as in admission decisions.
  • Based on your performance on the test(s), you could potentially fulfill basic requirements or earn credit for introductory-level courses.

The most obvious answer is to monitor the application requirements for each college you plan to apply to. This includes not only how many exams to submit, but also which subjects. Specific programs may wish to evaluate your abilities in key content areas. If they do not, selecting closely linked subjects can be an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to a particular major.

You should also ensure that you register and sit for subject tests when colleges recommend that you do so. If you choose not to, you will likely be competing against many students who have gone the proverbial extra mile, even though it was not strictly required.

If a school does not mention SAT subject tests, consider submitting them regardless. This is especially true if you are strong in a subject that is not reflected in your other test scores, or if you have taken the SAT multiple times without an improvement in your score. A high mark on an SAT Subject Test can be a great way to strengthen weaknesses in your application.

WHICH PARTICULAR SAT SUBJECT TEST OR TESTS SHOULD I TAKE?

Whenever possible, exercise your right to choose. For instance, do not feel you must submit a math test if it is not specifically required, especially if you do not plan to pursue a degree in math or science.

If there is a particular AP course that you were unable to take, but that you feel you would have done well in, consider completing the corresponding subject test. In general, it is best to select those subjects that you are strongest in.

Be careful to avoid taking tests indiscriminately, as quality is much more important than quantity, and a poor score on an SAT subject test may counteract a strong grade on your high school transcript in the same subject.

[Check out these 10 highly ranked test-flexible colleges.]

WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY SAT SUBJECT TESTS?

The most beneficial time to take an SAT subject test is directly after finishing the course that is relevant to the exam. SAT subject tests are designed to test your knowledge of the high school curriculum, so try to choose a time when the knowledge is still fresh in your mind.

Your junior year of high school is perhaps the latest you should sit for a subject tests. Exam dates are not available during the summer, and your senior year may be a whirl of other commitments and deadlines.

As with many aspects of high school and the college admissions process, when to take subject tests and which tests to take are questions with different answers for each student. The most important items to consider are your strengths and how you wish to present yourself to colleges.

SAT subject tests should not be thought of solely as another exam to take. Instead, think of them as a tool that you can use to put your best foot forward when applying to schools.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AP TESTS AND SAT SUBJECT TESTS?

SAT Subject Tests are hour-long multiple choice exams that are scored on a scale of 200 to 800. AP Tests consist of multiple choice and essay sections, last for several hours, and are scored on a scale of 1-5.

Many more students take AP tests every year than SAT Subject Tests (2.3 million versus about 500,000). This is because AP Tests are tied directly to the corresponding Advanced Placement classes. In recent years, the AP program has spread to more and more high schools across the country. To get college credit for these classes, students must pass the tests.

SAT Subject Tests are less popular because students only take them for certain selective colleges that ask for them in the application process. The most selective schools usually require or recommend two or three subject tests. These tests are not directly tied to specific classes, so students typically have more freedom in deciding which ones they want to take. SAT Subject Test scores can showcase your unique interests and talents on your college application.

ARE AP TESTS HARDER THAN SAT SUBJECT TESTS?

  • Most students find the material on AP Tests to be more difficult than the material on SAT Subject Tests because it’s intended for students who are working at a college level. AP Tests also require more stamina. As a rule, essays are almost always harder than multiple choice questions because you have to come up with an answer entirely on your own.
  • Even within the multiple choice sections, AP Tests demand a deeper understanding of the material than SAT Subject Tests. They also require students to possess more in-depth knowledge and analytical abilities when it comes to interpreting primary source materials.
    • Still, it is technically easier to get a 5 on an AP Test than an 800 on an SAT Subject Test. On most AP Tests, you can still earn a 5 if you get a fair amount of questions wrong, whereas there’s almost no room for error on subject tests if you want a perfect score. A student who gets 70% of questions correct and a student who gets 100% of questions correct may both end up with 5s on an AP test depending on how strong the curve is.