The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is supposed to measure your ability to reason through math problems, comprehend the focus and main details of what you’ve read, and understand grammar and vocabulary, at a sufficiently high rate to succeed in college. The more prestigious the college, the higher they are likely to want that number to be.
A great score SAT subject tests help universities in selecting from a pool of prospective candidates. Even colleges that don’t require Subject Tests may accept them and use them in admission to get a more complete picture of applicants(you). By sending Subject Test scores to colleges, you can showcase your strengths. Moreover, if you are applying for a specialised course and programmes, you are required to take certain subject tests.
If you send your SAT subjects then you will have at least an extra 20% chance of getting into a relevant course, compared to students who don’t. Thus the SAT subject tests are quite important.
SAT scores help the school understand more of your ability, particularly verbal and quantitive reasoning. in addition, the SAT is a good predictor of college readiness and proof that you have mastered the skill required as a high school graduate at an exceptional level (consider if you pass with a high score)
It’s hard to say what schools generally consider more important. A lot of the emphasis will depend on what type of degree or speciality you are pursuing. For example, if you plan to follow an engineering path, math scores will likely be more critical to a positive evaluation. Liberal arts schools, on the other hand, will look more carefully at your writing and reading scores. It has historically been slightly harder to get a higher score on the verbal sections (particularly the reading section), so most schools will look quite favourably upon a high reading comprehension score.
My general advice on this front is to try to approach the SAT from a holistic standpoint, aiming to raise your overall score by implementing a practice regimen that will cover all subjects. Instead of thinking about what is most important, think about dividing your time on practice based on an identification of your weak points after a diagnostic test. If you feel your math is strong compared to your reading, then make sure to distribute a little extra practice time to reading comprehension.
The SAT is one factor in a college application. A student with a good SAT score has proved that he or she has math, reading and writing skills, and those indicate that the student has the academic abilities to succeed in college. Those skills aren’t the only things that matter. But, they do matter.
As a side note, scores aren’t perfect reflections of ability. Someone who scores a 1310 might not actually be “better” at anything than a student who scores a 1290. College admissions people know that. But when you’re talking about a 100+ point difference, that does say something.
Taking SAT subject tests are a way to show what you’re strong at based off of standardization. It’s another way of comparing how your performance in a course at school x compares to a course y, but sometimes not exactly(since you self study). Some universities, like Alisa Krivokapic said, require sat subject tests(I can think of MIT for an eg). However, the UCs don’t require it because they believed it wasn’t a good assessment of selecting students. Either way, take subject test on courses you enjoyed and excelled throughout the year.
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Hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any follow up questions. Best of luck!!
Written by: Shannon Thompson