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Tips and Suggestions for Being Ready for Your SAT Subject Tests

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Whether you call them the SAT 2, SAT ii, SAT 2 Test, or SAT Subject Tests, be sure about this

These tips for the SAT Subject Tests are considered "tried and true." Over the years, they have been used by students taking the SAT Achievement Tests, the SAT 2, the SAT ii, the SAT 2 test, and every other possible name and nickname the various tests have been given. You will be better prepared to earn your best possible score on test day if you become familiar with the following tips and suggestions.

Schedule the tests in a logical order
Take the tests for subjects like sciences and history right after the end of the course, when the material is fresh in your mind. For language tests, you might want to wait until you have studied the subject for several years.

Register early, then confirm the official SAT Subject Test "admission ticket" you receive
Whether you register by mail or do it online, register early for the tests you need. If you can register online, the process will probably be smoother and less stressful. By registering online, you will see "real time" information about test availability, dates, and locations, and you will receive immediate confirmation of your registration. No matter how you register, take time to examine your Admission Ticket when it arrives. Make sure it confirms everything you were thinking about the date, place, and time. If there is a problem, make a phone call. Do not figure you can make changes at the test center on the day of the test.

Get to know the SAT Subject Tests you have chosen to take
You won't get any extra time to read the directions during the exam, so make sure you're familiar with your test before you take it. At the least, go to the College Board Web site and read what it has to say about your upcoming Subject Tests. Not only will you see that each test is made up of multiple-choice questions and is 60 minutes long, but you can also find out about the topics you will encounter on the test. Invest a little time now so you can be more relaxed when you take the test.

Find out if there is anything special you need to know about your SAT Subject Test
Some little things turn out to be really big things. Are you aware that you need to bring an approved CD player and headphone to the test if you are taking an SAT Subject Test with Listening? And did you know that if you are taking Mathematics Level 1 or Mathematics Level 2 test, you are invited—almost expected—to bring a graphing or scientific calculator? The College Board Web site will provide the details you need to know about these things, and more.

Relax the night before the test
Don't cram. Studying at the last minute will only stress you out. Go to a movie or hang out with a friend — anything to get your mind off of the test!

Come to your SAT Subject Test with at least minimal preparation
Your "minimal preparation" must include taking your admission ticket, a photo ID, two No. 2 pencils, and a good eraser with you.

Recognize that the Subject Tests will challenge you and wear you down a bit
Your "minimal preparation" will get you in for the test, but a little extra preparation will help you do your best. There will be a short break at the end of each testing period. If you have brought along something to drink and snack on, you will probably be better prepared when you sit down for the next test.

Work through each test in a logical order
You won't get extra credit for answering a difficult question, so don't waste your time on something that seems too hard. Skip the hard questions and come back to them once you've answered all of the easier questions.

It is O.K. to write in the Subject Test books
Mark the difficult questions you need to come back to so you can find them later. You can use your book for scratch work. Feel free to cross off any answer choices that you know are wrong.

The difference between a guess and an educated guess can affect your SAT Subject Test scores
If you can eliminate at least one of the supplied answer choices, try taking an educated guess at the answer. Because the questions are all multiple-choice, if you can eliminate one or two choices you think are definitely wrong, you will improve your chance of ending up with the correct answer—even if you end up guessing at it.

You can be ready to face the SAT Subject Tests

You have been preparing for these tests, maybe for several years. Your earliest preparation may have started back when the test were more commonly referred to as the SAT 2 or SAT ii. Regardless of their names, each SAT Subject Test can help you show what you have learned and what you can do with that knowledge. When you finally get to look at your results — the official SAT Subject Test Scores — take a deep breath and remember that you prepared as well as you could have. If you need more prep for the SAT, be sure to take a look at the free SAT practice test available here at Peterson's.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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