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 (usually referrred to simply as the SAT). The SAT II Subject Tests were created to serve as complements to the SAT. These one-hour tests examine your knowledge about particular subjects, such as Math, Writing, and Biology, whereas the three-hour-long SAT I seeks to test your “critical thinking skills.”
In our opinion, the SAT II Subject Tests are better tests than the SAT I because they cover a definitive topic rather than ambiguous, impossible to define “critical thinking skills.” However, just because the SAT II Subject Tests do a better job of testing your knowledge about a useful subject, that doesn’t mean the tests are necessarily easier or demand less study. A “better” test is not an easier test.
In comparison to the SAT I, there are good and bad things about the SAT II Subject Tests.
The Good
  • Because SAT II Subject Tests cover actual topics, you can effectively study for them. If you don’t know a topic in mathematics, such as how to interpret the graph of a parabola, you can easily look it up and learn it. For this reason, the SAT II tests are straightforward tests: if you know your stuff, you will do well.
  • Often, the classes you’ve taken in school have already prepared you well for the test. If you’ve taken two years of algebra, a year of geometry, and a trigonometry or precalculus course, you will have studied most of the topics on the SAT II Math IIC. 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, even interesting knowledge. 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. On 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. Don’t get us wrong: having test-taking skills will help you on an SAT II, but knowing the subject will help you much more. 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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