to the SAT II
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.
- 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.
- 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.