Colleges and the SAT II Subject Tests
We’re guessing you didn’t sign up to take the SAT II just
for the sheer pleasure of it. You probably want to get into college
and know that the only reason for taking this test is that colleges
want or require you to do so.
Colleges care about SAT II Subject Tests for two reasons.
First, the tests demonstrate your interest, knowledge, and skill
in specific subjects. Second, because SAT II tests are standardized,
they show how your knowledge of Chemistry (or History or Math) measures
up to that of high school students nationwide. The grades you get
in high school don’t offer such a measurement to colleges: some
high schools are more difficult than others, and students of equal
ability might receive different grades, even in classes with a relatively
When it comes down to it, colleges like the SAT IIs because
the tests make the colleges’ job easier. SAT II tests allow colleges
to easily compare you to other applicants and provide you with an
excellent chance to shine. If you got a 93% on your Chemistry final
and a student at another high school across the country got a 91%,
colleges don’t know how to compare the two grades. They don’t know
whose class was harder or whose teacher was a tougher grader. But
if you get a 720 on the SAT II Chemistry and that other kid gets
a 650, colleges will recognize the difference in
Occasionally, colleges use SAT II tests to determine placement.
For example, if you do very well on the SAT II Chemistry, you might
be exempted from a basic science class. It’s worth finding out whether
the colleges you’re applying to use the SAT II tests for this purpose.