Content of the SAT II Chemistry Test
Content of the SAT II Chemistry Test
The SAT II Chemistry test is written to test your understanding of the topics of chemistry that are typically taught in a one-year college-preparatory-level high school chemistry course.
Well, math and chemistry go hand in hand, right? You might be surprised, then, to learn that you aren’t allowed to use a calculator on the SAT II Chemistry test. The math you’ll need to do on the test never goes beyond simple arithmetic and manipulation of equations, which is good news for you—you won’t be a victim of careless errors made on your calculator.
That said, you should be able to solve problems using ratios, direct and inverse proportions, scientific notation, and some simpler exponential functions. Since the test is an hour long, this means you have an average of 42 seconds to answer each of the 85 questions—the people at ETS realize that isn’t enough time to delve into problems involving simultaneous equations or complex algebra. They’re more interested in testing your grasp of the basic concepts of chemistry. If you’ve grasped these concepts, your weakness in math problem solving isn’t going to hurt you. You will, however, be provided with a simple periodic table. This periodic table will probably look more bare-boned than the one you’re used to using: it will have only the symbols of the elements along with their atomic numbers and masses.
Now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what you’ll see on the exam. ETS provides the following breakdown of the test, covering eight basic categories, and as you can see, we’ve arranged the content review in this book according to ETS’s outline:
Their Topic Our Section Approximate % of the test devoted to these topics. Approximate no. of questions you’ll see on these topics.
Structure of Matter Includes atomic theory and structure, chemical bonding, and molecular structure; nuclear reactions Structure of Matter 25 21
States of Matter Includes kinetic molecular theory of gases, gas laws, liquids, solids, and phase changes; solutions, concentration units, solubility, conductivity, and colligative properties States of Matter 15 13
Reaction Types Includes acids and bases, oxidation-reduction, and precipitation Reaction Types 14 12
Stoichiometry Includes the mole concept, Avogadro’s number, empirical and molecular formulas, percentage composition, stoichiometric calculations, and limiting reagents Stoichiometry 12 10
Equilibrium and Reaction Rates Including gas equilibria, ionic equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle, equilibrium expressions; factors affecting rate of reaction Equilibrium and Reaction Rates 7 6
Thermodynamics Includes energy changes in chemical reactions and physical processes, Hess’s law, and randomness Thermodynamics 6 5
Descriptive Chemistry Includes physical and chemical properties of elements and their more familiar compounds, chemical reactivity and products of chemical reactions, simple examples from organic chemistry and environmental chemistry Descriptive Chemistry 13 11
Laboratory Includes equipment, measurement, procedures, observations, safety, calculations, and interpretation of results Laboratory 8 7
The fact that this book is organized according to these basic categories will give you the ability to focus on each topic to whatever degree you feel necessary: if you know you’re weak on gas law questions, take extra time going through “The States of Matter” section, for example. Also, each question in the practice tests at the back of this book has been categorized according to these eight categories so you can precisely identify your weaknesses and then concentrate on the areas you need to study most.
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