Fewer Students are Taking Them. Few Colleges Require Them. How SAT Subject Tests can Greatly Increase Your Competitive Advantage
Why take the Subject SAT Tests if fewer students are taking them? Well, precisely because fewer students are taking them!
Remember, college admissions are very competitive. The acceptance rates have fallen precipitously in recent years, as the number of seats remain the same while the number of applicants have increased dramatically--from all over the world. So how do you compete?
According to the Washington Post, there is a problem with Subject SAT tests. People do not see the value of them, especially given the existence of AP classes. Why take the SAT subject tests when you can take AP classes and showcase them in your scores? Well, one reason is that not all high schools offer AP classes, while SAT subject tests are available nationwide. Another reason is that the subject tests enable students to stand out by showing mastery in a given area. This is important for schools like MIT. It asks applicants for one score in math and one in chemistry, biology or physics.
“We do find they’re helpful and predictive,” said Stuart Schmill, MIT’s dean of admissions and student financial services. Some students perform better on a math subject test than on the math section of the SAT or ACT, Schmill said. In such cases, he said, additional scores can “give us more confidence to admit those students.”
What about AP Tests, which are designed to measure college-level work? Schmill said students often take the AP tests in May of their senior year, too late for applications. He said that MIT publicizes the subject tests in marketing materials because many potential applicants are unaware of them.
Top schools require the subject tests. Harvey Mudd College requires one subject test in math and one in any other field a student chooses. Some major universities recommend that students with engineering ambitions send math and science scores. Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities, and a few others, recommend sending two subject test scores. Georgetown University strongly recommends three.
The lesson here is that if you want to get into a top college, you should take the subject tests. And given the fewer students are taking the SAT subject tests, you can increase your chances of standing out and getting into the school of your choice.
The main reluctance of students to take the subject tests is the stress of taking tests. This is primarily due to a false premise that tests are useless. Nothing can be further than the truth.
Testing is a great way of studying. In fact, experts now say that testing is better than studying, with the latter consists of re-reading the same or similar text over and over again. So studying for tests helps you become a better student and you learn faster.
If students eliminate the premise that tests are primarily to measure their IQ, or their worth, they will become better test takers. If there is one thing you can take away from this blog it is that testing is better than studying. Do not look at tests as a test of your self-worth.
If you need help in learning faster, testing smarter and scoring higher on your standardized tests, do not hesitate to contact us.
One piece of advice that I always give incoming high school freshman is that time flies! One day you’re entering school as a freshman, the think you know you’ll be a junior thinking about college.
Never stop planning.
Planning for the future starts the day you step on your high school campus. Which classes should I take? Which skills do I need to improve to be successful in school? Should I start writing/updating my resume? When do I take the PSAT/SAT/ACT/SATII/AP etc? There are steps we can take every month of our high school career to position ourselves to meet our highest goals after high school.
What goals do we have for this summer?
It’s that time of the season. The end of school year is rapidly approaching and we must start planning for summer.
Not just a summer camp, but a summer opportunity.
Summer is a time for us to improve ourselves, whether it be athletically, socially, or academically. One way to best understand what we want to improve is by asking ourselves what we want from the year ahead. Are we looking to make the varsity team? Are we applying to high school or college? Are we developing an interest of ours? Do we want to serve our community?
Will the plethora of options out there, we do not have to limit ourselves to just one. Let make the most of our summer and manage our time accordingly.
Flexibility meets quality: The Hillview Prep difference.
At Hillview Prep, our summer programs are “modular”. What does “modular” mean exactly? It means that your program is designed to fit your schedule! Whether you have vacations planned, another summer camp, or just a less intense summer schedule, learning with us can be as flexible as you need. Whether you are looking for an SAT, HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, Math, or admissions planning summer camp, we are here to help!
Curious to learn more? Check out our summer classes at Hillview Summer Classes!
Testing is better than studying!
What?? You don't believe we said that. Do you? Yes, testing helps with retrieving of information. Think of filing away your important documents in your filing cabinet. How quickly can you retrieve the document you filed today, yesterday, or a few weeks ago? If you can retrieve the information quickly, you can answer questions on the SAT, ACT or any other test—or just be more productive in life. Thus, testing—in non stressful situations—is the best way to learn, because you practice retrieval of stored information.
Take notes by chunking and consolidating information.
Students who take Cornell style notes do not realized the importance of consolidation: it helps them to understand and practice how the brain works best. There's no need to review your book again—you can just review your 'consolidated notes'!
Why are Cornell style of notes important?
It helps you practice how to learn—putting information in chunks, helping your working memory, which has limited storage capacity. Working memory is like a computer's RAM. It is fast but has low storage capacity. Scientists believe you can put at most 'seven' units of information, though only three or four units is best. Think of it like having three or four storage shelfs.
Consolidation helps you deal with your working memory.
Clump similar things into one spot or shelf. Write things down and classify them. Classification helps with understanding and memorize things. Two processes: encoding and retrieval, which many people don't focus on.
Retrieval requires practice.
It is similar to filing things in your cabinet, but then not remembering where it is. What you never did was practice retrieval. Quizzing is therefore absolutely essential, and students need to be experts at practicing retrieval: at quizzing. Teaching is also a retrieval practice.
A "Getting in" Strategy
SAT Subject Tests are college admission exams on specific subjects. These tests are not like the SAT or the ACT. There are no strategies—just pure material that test your knowledge on specific subjects. Though the SAT and ACT are the considered eliminators for admissions, SAT subject tests are enhancers.
Understand Which Schools Require SAT Subject Tests and Which Schools Accept Them
The subject SAT tests do not keep you out of the schools like ACT or SAT—but they get you in.
See a list of colleges using the Subject Tests. https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/about/institutions-using