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SAT subject tests?

wrldpossibilitywrldpossibility 44 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
Question for those more experienced: how important is it for my son to take subject tests along with the 'regular' SAT? He's currently a HS junior, got a 1420 on his first SAT attempt, and now is planning to take it again March 10. He's also waiting to find out if he made national merit on his PSAT (he was very close as a sophomore). Should he sit for a few subject tests (probably during the summer), too? These are the specific schools he's most interested in:

Bates
Colby
Carleton

Based on their common data sets, they don't seem to 'require' or even 'recommend' subject tests, though they do of course take them (consider them).
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Replies to: SAT subject tests?

  • 84stag84stag 267 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 278 Junior Member
    You need to check with the specific schools and see whether they are required, recommended, optional, or not considered. If any of the first 3 categories, then he should take them, preferably math 2 and any science. He can take them multiple times and then submit his highest to the schools that want them.

    On the other hand, if those schools don't consider or want subject tests, don't bother.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1196 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    @84stag I didn’t see anything in the OP about being a STEM. Maybe they want to major in English. Then I wouldn’t necessarily suggest math and science.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37348 replies6485 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 43,833 Super Moderator
    edited November 2017
    You need to check with the specific schools and see whether they are required, recommended, optional, or not considered.
    The OP stated from the outset - they colleges in question "consider" them.
    e should take them, preferably math 2 and any science.
    Again, the colleges in question don't specify. If he were targeting an engineering school, then, yes, M2 and a science would be best. But then the school's website would tell applicants that. Failing any specific direction, the student can submit whichever ones he likes. That said, avoid overlap. i.e. don't send m1 and m2, or US History and World History, or Spanish and Spanish with Listening.

    As to whether he should take, I say why not if he does not have to spend an inordinate amount of time in prep. If he doesn't like the scores, then he does not have to send. If he likes the scores, they might help. Additionally, unless he has other testing that day, I would suggest taking the June test while the material is still fresh rather than taking in August.
    edited November 2017
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  • mathmommathmom 31930 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,085 Senior Member
    My kids took the subject tests in courses they were taking junior year in May or June. Usually also as an AP course so they really did very little prep beyond taking one old test from the practice book and seeing if there were any issues. At the time my kids applied each was applying to at least one school that required subject tests, so they had no choice. In any even there experience was that Biology, Math 2 (after pre-calc), and US History were all very easy if you were already prepared.
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  • wrldpossibilitywrldpossibility 44 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Thank you all for the responses so far. Son is not necessarily STEM...he is very even in math and language arts (in fact, had an exact split on the SAT), which is why he's currently focused on liberal arts schools. He's considering taking the US History and Math 2 subject tests, which look like they'd show his balanced academic abilities.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6063 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,169 Senior Member
    Carleton recommends the SAT subject tests.
    https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/ira/assets/CDS_2016_2017_completed_with_Part_G.pdf
    (line C8A, page 9)
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  • ChembiodadChembiodad 2414 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,435 Senior Member
    @wrldpossibility, while I know you said your son isn’t focused on STEM at this time, you can be confident that the top LAC’s have very strong STEM programs - they just don’t generally have an “E” / Engineering school. Of the schools you mentioned, Carleton in particular is a STEM powerhouse.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76099 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,762 Senior Member
    SAT subject tests on subjects of courses being completed in June are best taken in June.

    With respect to the colleges that you listed:

    Bates is test optional, and will consider any SAT, ACT, or SAT subject tests if submitted: http://www.bates.edu/research/files/2010/03/cds1617.pdf (C8A)
    Carleton requires SAT or ACT, and recommends SAT subject tests (does not specify a number) at https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/ira/assets/CDS_2016_2017_completed_with_Part_G.pdf (C8A) but says that they are optional at https://apps.carleton.edu/admissions/apply/documents/ .
    Colby requires SAT, ACT, or two SAT subject tests: https://www.colby.edu/admission/apply/first-year/

    A student may take up to three SAT subject tests on one SAT test date.
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  • CU123CU123 3263 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,318 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    All schools consider the SAT subjects test as the least (some barely) considered whether they are optional or mandatory. So in your case, with your son, he could take them and if he scores high enough (750+) send them in. If he doesn't score high or doesn't take them it shouldn't hurt his chances.
    edited November 2017
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76099 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,762 Senior Member
    CU123 wrote:
    All schools consider the SAT subjects test as the least (some barely) considered

    Actually, lots of schools do not consider SAT subject tests for admission.
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  • CU123CU123 3263 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,318 Senior Member
    Yes, poor wording on my part, all schools that consider the SAT subject tests.......
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  • My3KiddosMy3Kiddos 438 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 462 Member
    If finances permit it, I would suggest taking the Subject Tests in June and sitting on the scores (not sending them to schools) for two reasons. 1) If he does well, you can always send them to any school he applies to that will even consider them (conversely, if he doesn't do well, you don't send them) and 2) The list of schools he's applying to and major he's considering very well may change by the last college deadline. BTDT with my oldest kiddo who had to take SAT Subject tests in fall of senior year. Kiddo #2 is taking them in June this year.
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  • CounselmomCounselmom 29 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    I read the Colby requirement as SAT or ACT or 2 subject tests, although the use of the word either makes it unclear. They say: "you’ll need to provide us with standardized test results for either the SAT, ACT, or two SAT Subject Tests."
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  • jonrijonri 7256 replies134 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,390 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    He's a junior. Between now and next fall, his college list may change. I personally recommend that kids take subject matter tests in case they decide they later decide they want to apply to a college that requires or recommends them. That's especially true if the subject matter of the test is based on 11th grade courses.

    You don't want him to get interested in some college early in his senior year and then realize he can't apply without subject tests and/or he's got to spend time reviewing material before he can take them.
    edited November 2017
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  • Kayak24Kayak24 471 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 480 Member
    Better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them (like my D) when college lists inevitably change for many kids.
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