SAT II Subject tests are an essential part of the admissions process, especially for the most competitive colleges.
While SAT/ACT scores demonstrate comparisons of a student’s raw skill, the subject tests allow applicants to shine by testing subjects they love and often plan to pursue in college.
The TOP 3 SAT II Subject Tests from 2016-2018 are…drum roll please…
208,488 students (Ecological + Molecular added together)
The SATII, like the SAT and the ACT, relies on a curve which allows only 1% of the students who take the test to get a perfect score.
Everyone wants that perfect score so the competition for Mathematics 2, US History, and Biology is fierce!*
Bottom line, the top 3 tests are the hardest ones because so many people want to ace them.
Furthermore, most students take one or more of these 3 tests because Mathematics, Biology, and US History are often requested by schools that require SATII.
I have been hired a month before test day and performed small miracles with targeted study, the trends I’ve seen in the test, and practice tests galore. However, if a student wants a test score approaching the top 1%, I recommend at least a 6 month planning horizon to get familiar with the test and deepen his/her understanding of the subject.
The good news is that all three of these tests are highly coachable and there are scads of success stories among our tutors and students–the key is to start SATII prep early (ideally summer of sophomore year), and work with a specialist who is intimately familiar with the test(s).
Prepping for the most competitive SATII tests can be done at the last minute, but the best results come from a careful and strategic approach.
Also, it’s exciting to compete with all of the other hard working and smart students across the world–they are out there doing their best to earn a great score. Ask yourself: What can I do to out-perform the other ambitious people?
Get a tutor, get some great materials, and get going!
*As a person who has experienced the admissions process year after year, I find that students who are interested in a particular subject (like Physics, Chemistry, Latin, and Modern Hebrew) tend to score very well on SATII Subject tests because they study something they already like more deeply and compete with fewer students for top scores.
By Grant Bergland, Private Tutor