Most high school students know that they should take SAT if they are planning on attending college. But many are unaware that should probably take the SAT II, too. Probably because many are unaware of their existence.
First off, what is the SAT II? They are more commonly known by the latter half of their name: SAT Subject Tests. There are twenty in total, including exams in Spanish, Physics, and World History. Unlike the SAT, they are only an hour long, but they are similarly styled multiple choice exams. The scoring is from 200 to 800 points or half of the normal SAT.
Secondly, why take them? Can’t students just take the AP tests and leave it at that? As it turns out some colleges, such as Wellesley, Harvey Mudd, and Brown, require Subject Tests for admission. Others, like Tufts University and Duke University, either only require them for some programs or strongly recommend them. Additionally, there is a lot of overlap in material from AP exams and Subject Tests, so they do not require any additional studying besides those required for AP testing. There is also always a testing session in May, so they can all be knocked out around the same time. It is also possible to take up to three exams in one sitting, as they are only one hour in length. Regardless, they make college applicants more competitive. Especially for the colleges where they are recommended, where it is likely that most other applicants will plan on taking them.
So are SAT II: Subject Tests absolutely necessary to apply to college? Not at all. Would it be somewhat beneficial to take them? Certainly. There are plenty of great colleges that have no preference as to whether or not an applicant takes the SAT II. It’s not something to stress out over if you have a strong resume otherwise and don’t have the time to take them during the whirlwind of junior year.