How to Tackle the SAT Subject Tests

US News’ College Blog highlighted some tips for increasing your odds on the SAT subject tests this fall. While the tests aren’t always required (a few that do require them: Amherst College, Duke, Brown and most other Ivies, depending on department) students should always double check per school whether it’s worth completing them and submitting scores, even if they’re just recommended.

What does US News recommend students pay attention to?

  1. Format. “SAT subject tests are multiple-choice exams. A fraction of a point is deducted for each incorrect response, with the number of answer choices determining the precise penalty – fewer answer choices mean a higher deduction per wrong answer. For this reason, guessing without strategy is an ineffective option, while identifying even a single wrong answer per test question can boost your score.”

  2. Timing. The SAT subject tests are completed in one hour per test. Pay attention to how much time you have left, and know how many questions you can get through in a given amount of time. US News recommends, that you “consider splitting the exam into four sets of questions, and be firm in taking 15 minutes per section.”

  3. Scoring. “SAT subject test results are reported as a number between 200 and 800, as well as a percentile. The scaled score is intended to show the relative quality of your result, while the percentile result demonstrates how you compare to other students.” But they warn, you should likely ignore your percentage, and instead pay attention instead to your numbered score. “For most competitive schools, your target should be at least 650-700, and 700+ for the most selective universities.”

Don’t forget to practice the tests on to figure out where your scores stand ahead of time. Read the full article here, or contact Hughes College Prep to meet with a test prep specialist today.

Mary Milodragovich