Introduction to the SAT II
Introduction to the SAT II
The SAT II Subject Tests are created and administered by the College Board and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the two organizations responsible for producing the dreaded SAT I (which most people call the SAT). The SAT II Subject Tests are meant to complement the SAT I. Whereas the SAT I tests your critical thinking skills by asking math and verbal questions, the SAT II Subject Tests examine your knowledge of a particular subject, such as Writing, U.S. History, Physics, or Biology. The SAT I takes three hours; the Subject Tests take only one hour.
In our opinion, the SAT II Subject Tests are better tests than the SAT I because they cover a definitive, easily studied topic rather than ambiguous critical thinking skills. However, just because the SAT II Subject Tests do a better job of testing your knowledge of a subject doesn’t mean the tests are necessarily easier or demand less studying. A “better” test isn’t necessarily better for you in terms of how easy it will be.
The Good
  • Because SAT II Subject Tests cover specific topics, you can study for them effectively. If you don’t know a topic in mathematics, such as how to find the slope of a line, you can easily look it up and learn it. The SAT II tests are straightforward: if you know your stuff, you’ll do well.
  • Often, the classes you’ve taken in school have already prepared you for the SAT IIs. If you’ve taken two years of algebra and a year of geometry, you’ll have studied the topics covered by the SAT II Math IC. All you need is some refreshing and refocusing, which this book provides.
  • In preparing for the Math, History, or Chemistry SAT II tests, you really are learning math, history, and chemistry. In other words, you are gaining valuable, interesting knowledge. If you enjoy learning, you might actually find the process of studying for an SAT II test to be worthwhile and gratifying—few can say the same about studying for the SAT I.
The Bad
Because SAT II Subject Tests quiz you on specific knowledge, it is much harder to “beat” or “outsmart” an SAT II test than it is to outsmart the SAT I. For the SAT I, you can use all sorts of tricks or strategies to figure out an answer. There are far fewer strategies to help you on the SAT II. To do well on the SAT II, you can’t just rely on your natural smarts and wits. You need to study.
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