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Chem Sat subject test for Junior DD?

socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hi there...I have another question for this forum and hope I am not wearing out my welcome.
The existence of subject sats has only recently come to my attention (my schooling was completed in another country so the system is new to me). My question is whether my daughter should take the chemistry sat test this November. She completed Hons Chem as a sophomore (no AP chem at her school) and loved/had a real facility for the subject. She now thinks it is what she wants to study in college. Unfortunately she didn't take the SAT subject test on completion of the chem course because we didn't know about it. So she is thinking she might brush up with the prep books and take this November.

She is applying to Rice (high reach) which requires 3 SAT tests and to Berkelely (high reach) which I think requires 2. Her match schools are of the ilk of Vassar, (optional SATs) Hamilton ( combo of Sat subject and/or Ap test scores required) and maybe Emory (SAT subject recommended). Other schools currenlty on her horizon are Cal poly SLO, U Texas Austin and NYU.

She will take the Math 2 in June when she has completed honors precalc along with US history (when she has completed AP US).

My feeling is that she should take the Chem Sat because she wants to major in science but has no AP chem test and no AP physics test (took physics at the CC instead). Does this seem like the right course of action?

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Replies to: Chem Sat subject test for Junior DD?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7002 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree that she should take the chem subject test.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38927 replies6879 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited August 23
    She is applying to Rice (high reach) which requires 3 SAT tests
    Rice does not require 3; they recommend 2, although they recommend that they be related to the proposed area of study. That said, it does not need to be chem if she feels she will be better prepared for physics or bio; related means any science, not the exact science, in this case. I'll additionally add that one does not need an AP science class to prepare for the Subject Test. In fact, the AP sciences,particularly physics, are not aligned to the Subject Tests at all. Which makes sense, because AP exams are testing college level material, and Subject Tests cover general knowledge HS material. Whether an honors or CP science course at a particular HS prepares for the Subject Test depends upon the HS/teacher.
    edited August 23
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, you are of course right, skieurope, it is two. But I thought she'd have to do the chem for Rice because the two tests she will def take in june are math/ushistory and neither is a science. Its true that she will be taking AP bio her senior year, but she wouldn't have covered much material by the time she had to take the test. Plus she's not much of a bio fan. That is interesting to know about the non AP/Sat alignment. I will look into the material on the physics sat test, since she completed a physics course very recently.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 23
    Regarding your daughter's prospective choices, it seems that a school such as Vassar falls into the same selectivity zone as a school such as UCB (though they are likely to select for different attributes). This analysis is a few years old, but it may help you make academic comparisons across colleges of various types: https://amp.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9.
    edited August 23
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 92 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I don't think schools care too much about the SAT subject tests. I wouldn't overthink it- any 2 good scores should be fine. It would make sense as a chemistry major applicant to have a science SAT, not necessarily chem. But I think good grades in STEM classes, and AP scores, would be sufficient with a math SAT.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    Regarding your daughter's prospective choices, it seems that a school such as Vassar falls into the same selectivity zone as a school such as UCB (though they are likely to select for different attributes). This analysis is a few years old, but it may help you make academic comparisons across colleges of various types: https://amp.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9.

    great resource, thank you!
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33596 replies369 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For many top colleges, for a stem major, it can also be the math test. The basic idea, unless a college says otherwise, is stem, not just science. She could take chem and see how she scores, before sending it.

    But imo, Rice is unpredictable. And also imo, I wouldn't call Vassar or Hamilton matches. Too much competition and tippy top kids using them as their own backups. So be careful. If you're in Texas and she's a lock for UT Austin, that's different.
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks, lookingforward. Good to know that the math test would work for top schools.
    I know that none of these places are going to be easy -- and Rice especially is maybe an overreach. We are in CA though, and have CAL poly SLO and, if things really don't pan out as planned, UC Santa Cruz as somewhere she would be happy. She is in the top 10 in her school, and this year the top 10 in her school went to UCLA, Vassar, Emory, Berkeley, Tulane, USC, and the like. So that is why I call places like Vassar and Hamilton matches, though very far from "locks". We will definitely have many back ups just because of the arbitrariness of the process.
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 26
    Regarding the Chemistry SAT. I recommend taking it. She may have top grades from her HS but taking a national test in the subject will show her how strong that HS teaching was. I was a chemistry major eons ago who had an excellent science HS education for its time (pre AP days) that served me well in Honors Chem at a top 5 in the field U. Fast forward to recent times. I know a gifted student whose HS AP chemistry was not taught well- he did the work, got A's but only a 3 on the AP exam. My son didn't do all the work, got a C in the class but a 5 on the AP exam. AP exams test a body of material and thinking. There is always so much more to be learned- as I discovered with my well taught college courses.

    A student does not need to take an AP course to take the AP exam. This means self study and what is learned in other classes can be sufficient to do welll on an AP exam. For some students this could boost an application or be useful for college credits- depending on the college. Your D might want to consider taking AP exams in some subjects. This presumes the time and interest to study what a particular AP exam covers next May.
    edited August 26
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  • socowondersocowonder 45 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    wis75 wrote: »
    Regarding the Chemistry SAT. I recommend taking it. She may have top grades from her HS but taking a national test in the subject will show her how strong that HS teaching was.
    Thank you wisc75. I think that advice is sound, and she is definitely leaning toward taking the SAT chem test in November.
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