Advice on the SAT Subject Tests


I suggest that you choose a subject you excel in or enjoy, and have learned recently so
studying for the SAT subject test would be more of a painless review. Of course there might
be areas within a subject area that you have not learned before, but it would not be much.
If you are not sure whether to take a SAT subject test, a way to test your knowledge is by
borrowing the Official College Board SAT Subject Test Study Guide from the library and do all
the problems as you would during the real test time. The College Board website also includes
a list of topics that are going to be tested in the subject test.

If you learned most of the material, but have forgotten some, it is still not too late to study
while you still remember some of it. When picking a test date, make sure that you have a
few March/Aprils to study because it is not fun cramming in everything you need to know in
a few days. After picking out a test date, preferably in June or August, create a schedule that
allows you to study with ease and efficiency. It’s understandable that students tend to
procrastinate, and that is okay. However, make sure that you are still able to stay on track
of your schedule.

Instead of studying from school notes, I highly recommend studying from workbooks that
focus on the SAT subject test such as Barron’s and Princeton Review. In many cases, notes
from school do not teach what is on the test or might teach things that you do not need to know.
Although many people only work with one workbook, I suggest using two. Not only does that
solidify your memory, it also allows you to learn things that might not be mentioned in one
book and clarify information you are not sure about. Both workbooks have practice problems
after each unit, two practice tests, and teach content that will most likely appear on the test.
Since both books teach differently, you may end up with a preference over the other.
For example, Princeton Review does a great job explaining in detail with diagrams and the
language is simpler. However, Barron’s is also a great resource despite being harder to
understand because it covers many lessons and begins with a diagnostic test.

When it comes to getting a good score on a test, doing many problems is the key.
The book that everyone should use is the Official SAT Subject Test Study Guide by College
Board because it is created by the testmaker and should resemble the test the most.
However, the book does not reteach the material and only contains two practice tests.
Therefore, I would take it after studying the workbooks.

In order to ensure that you won’t only have short term memorization of the subject area/s,
I highly recommend taking notes of things you don’t know as well and separately memorizing
them. I would read all the material and make sure you have a general understanding of each
unit because the test is only one hour long and cannot possibly test you on everything.
I suggest studying almost everyday for a total of a few hours a week. If the material is
hard to memorize, try placing post it notes around the house in areas you constantly walk by.

Study methods are very important because one can study for a long time, but with ineffective
methods, and not get a good score. First, do not study consecutively for many hours because
it will make your brain tired and sluggish. Instead, try taking breaks in between study
sessions. Second, according to experts, exercising can improve memory and thinking skills.
Therefore, I suggest that you exercise for at least 30 minutes before studying to learn more
efficiently. Third, study in the morning, not at night, when your brain is not tired.
Fourth, everyone has potential so try your best!

If you have studied enough, you should relax on the days before the test and get a good
night’s sleep. On the day of the test, eat a good breakfast with protein and don’t be nervous.
If you do not do as well on the SAT subject test, so what? Your SAT subject test score certainly
does not define you and can be removed. Also, there are about six more chances during the
year to retake the exam and you can send your best score to colleges. However, do not spend
all of your time studying for the optional SAT subject test in order to get a perfect 800 because
your GPA, SAT I, and hobbies are more important. For more information on SAT subject tests,
please visit https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests.