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Results of Subject Tests, Do they even matter?

AntonioMacaronioAntonioMacaronio 8 replies6 threadsRegistered User New Member
So I recently took Math 2 and Chemistry and got a 800 in Math and 780 in chem
When I looked up my scores, I was only in the top 22% for Math 2 scores, this means that 22% of all test takers in Math 2 get a perfect score, which is ridiculous.

How am I supposed to distinguish myself on the Math 2 exam when literally everyone is getting a perfect score? Why do colleges even look at this exam when everyone literally does so well... I don't understand the point of Math 2...

Same with chemistry, I was in the 83rd percentile, or top 17% with a 780...

I don't understand how colleges can use subject tests when everyone is doing so well, do they even matter?
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Replies to: Results of Subject Tests, Do they even matter?

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5715 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is a test of mastery/competency, and you have done well. It's not designed to rank applicants. Most of the students who take math 2 are demonstrating that they are very good at math (as you have learned.) And most know the material on which they will be tested.

    Yes, they matter if you are applying to a school that requests them and even possibly to one that doesn't. They will allow the AO to note that you look like you have the core competencies to do
    pursue math and science. These tests are not used to pick the class. They should not be how you try to distinguish yourself.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    For most schools in this country, they do not matter. Very few schools require them. Few schools recommend them. There are schools that will take them into consideration if you have them.

    They are extremely valuable, even essential for homeschoolers and those with non traditional schooling. But, you would have no trouble finding any number of schools that could not care less if you took them or not

    Then some schools do average out the test scores with them. I believe Harvard used to this. No idea if they still do.

    You have excellent scores tgereso report them. Certainly can do no harm and possibly do good
    edited September 9
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 909 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    How am I supposed to distinguish myself on the Math 2 exam when literally everyone is getting a perfect score? Why do colleges even look at this exam when everyone literally does so well... I don't understand the point of Math 2...

    Same with chemistry, I was in the 83rd percentile, or top 17% with a 780...

    "Literally everyone" is about 30,000 students out of 3.7M high school graduates. Less than 1%. You have distinguished yourself from the rest.

    To (beneficially) distinguish yourself on Chemistry, get an 800. 780 and 800 are distinguishably different.

    If you want to distinguish yourself in Math to a more elite level, send AMC, AIME, and/or USAMO scores.
    I don't understand how colleges can use subject tests when everyone is doing so well, do they even matter?
    You can try to be like the 99% of HS graduates who don't take subject tests by not sending your scores in. Then you'll see if they matter.


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  • AntonioMacaronioAntonioMacaronio 8 replies6 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @RichInPitt
    Sorry if I came off as arrogant. I get it, and I have mentioned my AIME scores and math competition stuff, thank you for your comment.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    So I recently took Math 2 and Chemistry and got a 800 in Math and 780 in chem
    When I looked up my scores, I was only in the top 22% for Math 2 scores, this means that 22% of all test takers in Math 2 get a perfect score, which is ridiculous.

    How am I supposed to distinguish myself on the Math 2 exam when literally everyone is getting a perfect score? Why do colleges even look at this exam when everyone literally does so well... I don't understand the point of Math 2...

    For math level 2, the purpose may be to screen out those who do not know math through precalculus that well. I.e. the only way to distinguish yourself is in a negative way.

    Remember that math level 2 takers are a self-selected group of students who are strong in math (at least one grade level ahead) and who are applying to more selective colleges that are the ones who want subject tests. So lots of them know their math through precalculus quite well.
    edited September 11
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  • drusbadrusba 9616 replies20 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 15
    Majority of colleges do not use the subject tests for admission (except a number of those require them for home schooled students). Only a small number still actually require them from other than home-schooled students. A number that previously required them now either recommend them or say they will consider them if submitted.

    The percentile ranking for subject test scores is not a relevant consideration for those colleges that require or recommend them. Only a minority of students take them and those are mostly your higher ranked students who will be attempting to apply to high ranked colleges that consider subject tests. That self-selection in taking the test is what results in the skewed percentiles, e.g., very often an 800 math is only in the 80 percentile range. The issue with subject tests is demonstration of proficiency in the subject and a high score does that
    edited September 15
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