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good sat but bad subject tests?

elephantayeeelephantayee Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
I took 3 sat subjects test and got:

Math 2 - 680
Lit - 600
Bio M - 620

I know they are absolutely horrible, especially since I want to get into an Ivy League. But, is there anyway high 1400s on the SAT can make up for them? I am taking the SAT in two weeks, and it's senior year for me. I just want to wrap all this testing up. Because I realllllly do not want to take more exams. I feel as though if I spend the amount of time I study for them into my college essays, and tell my story I might be okay. But, I want an unbiased opinion.


Replies to: good sat but bad subject tests?

  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,402 Super Moderator
    Just remember the schools you are referring to will be crapshoots no matter what. Those scores certainly won't help.
  • AlumonAlumon Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    These scores probably will not help with your application, and writing about how much you studied for them could sound like you are excusing your bad test scores. Taking the SAT Reasoning Test (the SAT 1) could possibly make your situation worse, considering that your score report with that 1400 SAT score will also show your SAT Subject Tests. However, taking the ACT might help because then you do not have to send in any subject test scores.

    To answer your question directly, a good SAT score will not make up for your subject test scores. I would advise retaking the subject tests (an unfortunate reality, but something you might have to do) or take the ACT and apply to places that do not require the SAT Subject Tests.

    Wish you luck.

  • elephantayeeelephantayee Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    Good Point @Erin's Dad

    @Alumon Oh no! I am not going to write about the exams for college! Oh heck no! Or are you talking about this forum? To clear things up, I meant that instead of spending hours studying for more exams. I could use that time to write about my unique story (I am a low-income immigrant). You are right about the score report. I will consider what you said, thanks :)
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 7,008 Senior Member
    OP, you need to apply to schools where your current test scores and grades mean you have a realistic shot of getting in. Your test scores right now will not help you, and even a score in the high 1400 range is likely to be in the lower range for Ivy League schools.

    I am not trying to be mean, but your essay idea, while unique to you, is not unique to admissions officers. By all means, write your story, but do not assume it will overcome test scores.
  • justverycuriousjustverycurious Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    edited August 18
    A recruited highly ranked athlete to an Ivy who's SAT was in the high 1400's was still told by the coach to retake the SAT to get a much better score to increase his chances for admission. His SAT2 scores were also needed to be above 700's. Therefore even a student with a very strong hook will have issues with admissions with average scores. If you were an athlete being recruit, the 1400 on the SAT may be doable, but the low SAT2s will certainly not help.
  • elephantayeeelephantayee Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    @Lindagaf Oh believe me, I got some of those schools on my list! I do not want to end up at the local community college, because I only applied to ivy leagues.

    @justverycurious Thank you for your advice! I still have time to retake them. :) I'm just focusing on the SAT next week first haha.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 894 Member
    when you say immigrant, are you first in your family to attend college? it may help a little but I'd agree with the others to retake the, also if you know you're going to major in stem, you don't have to retake the Lit, similarly if you're going to non-stem, you don't need to retake bio.
  • elephantayeeelephantayee Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    My siblings went/are in college. My parents did not go to college.

    I want to major in stEm, but if I don't redo Lit - I'm left with a 600 (ew). @theloniusmonk
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 894 Member
    Ok so here's another way to look at it, you are basically at the average of the subject tests which given they're taken by a stronger applicant pool than SATs, is fine. Your Bio is actually a little lower than average but not by so much. If you think you can take improve the math/bio into 700/650 with just taking practice tests, do it in the fall testing date. If you're not applying early, you can take it later in the fall as well.

    First gen may not have been a big advantage when your siblings applied, but it is now. But the thing working against you is that you're not the first in your family to attend college. Good luck!
  • banana02banana02 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Math II score is in the bottom 40% of all scores
    Lit score is bottom 42%
    Bio M is bottom 33%

    I'm gonna be kind of brutal, but even if you write essays about how much you studied you still probably need scores above 50% if not 75%. Many ivy applicants will have straight 800s and are in the 90th percentile. You can take a look at the percentiles i linked below to see what goal you want to set for yourself.

    Collegeboard official SAT Subject Test Percentiles:
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,939 Senior Member
    You need to retake these subject tests and do better, or take two of them and do better plus take a new one where you feel confident you can score 700+.
    If you're lower income (75k/year), are you applying through Questbridge? If not look into it.
    Siblings going to college don't count in the "first gen" category, what matters is whether one parent graduated from a 4 year college.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 894 Member
    "Many ivy applicants will have straight 800s and are in the 90th percentile. You can take a look at the percentiles i linked below to see what goal you want to set for yourself."

    Most of these applicants are also wealthy and have been prepping for these tests since third grade, exaggerating but you get the point. The OP will not be compared to these applicants if he or she has a strong SATs and transcript.

    There is one thing all adcoms know - every standardized test given in the US is correlated with income. And selective colleges would like half their class to pay full price, and use the other half to help people with economic mobility.
  • justverycuriousjustverycurious Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    edited August 21
    Don't think it's fair to give the OP any false hope because of his low income/immigrant status possible being used as a hook. The bottom line is how does his stats stack up to the average admitted students. With his current scores (don't even know his GPA) he will certainly not have a chance in being admitted to an elite competitive colleges. For Ivy schools without much of a hook, 1400's on the SAT with sub- 700's on SATII's will not get him in. Many valedictorians with perfect scores are rejected from these schools with an extremely low admission rate. He should be concentrating on researching and applying to colleges that his scores and grades will give him a decent chance in admissions. He is a rising senior, and from his first post, it seems he is saying he is planning to take the SAT to see if he can get in the high 1400's, therefore I am assuming the SAT's he took so far were that high.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 894 Member
    I'm not giving false hope, just saying that I think SATs are evaluated in context and applicants from lower income backgrounds are not expected to score as high as applicants from wealthier families. Now of course people can disagree with that, in which case, yes, the applicant will not have the stats straight up to compete.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    @theloniusmonk is absolutely correct. SAT subject tests have a high correspondence to income background, and as such are the least considered.
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