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Advice on which tests to take

dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1289 replies97 threads Senior Member
Sorry for long post

This is for D21. We are on a block system, and some classes are only fall or spring. I'm looking for some advice on which second test to take (definitely taking Math 2). She does well in everything, but she is definitely a STEM kid, currently thinking premed.

Here are my realistic options:

Bio: She is taking Honors Bio this spring. Planning on AP Bio spring of senior year, although may be able to take it as a junior. Not sure if it is wise to take the subject test before AP Bio. If it doesn't matter, AP Bio fits much better into senior year than junior. So she could take this summer after Honors Bio, or next summer after AP Bio

Chem: She will have regular chemistry her junior year, not honors or AP. She could take the Chem subject test after junior year.

World History: She will take AP World this spring, which sets up nicely to take the subject test in the spring. Not her favorite subject though.

Physics: Like AP Bio, would have to move this class from senior year to junior year. Not AP, not calculus based physics.

US History: She will take APUSH as a junior. The way it is taught in our HS, this would require heavy self study.

Literature is her weakest topic, although I don't really know what the literature test entails.

I'm thinking Math II and either Bio or Chem without the AP class. Is that dumb? She could do AP Bio as a junior in the spring, although the teacher grades that class brutally and I would rather have her take it as a senior. Plus it kind of wrecks her schedule to take it as a junior. I may have her take a world history practice test just to see if it is within reach or not. My guess i that it probably isn't.

Also, do most schools let you choose which scores to send? I might have her take World History just to see how it goes, but if she gets a 500 and has to report it, then that's obviously a bad idea.
edited August 2018
7 replies
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Replies to: Advice on which tests to take

  • 4Gulls4Gulls 574 replies0 threads Member
    Is she going to be a sophomore in HS this year? It's unclear. If so, she's got plenty of time to decide. Every school is different. Some top schools want ALL test scores. Some allow score choice. Some don't require subject tests. Without a list of schools, it's hard to give advice. MIT, for example, wants ONE subject test in Math (1 or 2) and one in Science (doesn't matter which science). Georgetown "strongly recommends" 3 subject tests. My recommendation, if she's only entering sophomore year, is to take some of the practice tests and see how she does.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    edited August 2018
    Some top schools want ALL test scores.
    Georgetown is the only US college that requires all Subject Test scores.
    Which physics? None of the AP physics courses prepare for the Subject Test. In fact, there are huge gaps.

    Neither AP Bio nor AP Chem is needed for the Subject Test. As they are college-level classes, they cover less breadth than an intro HS class. Few gaps than physics, but there are still holes/

    As noted above, she has time. Take some practice tests at an appropriate point and gauge from there.
    edited August 2018
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  • BunnyBlueBunnyBlue 880 replies10 threads Member
    Sometimes the best choice depends on the teaching quality at your high school. At my sons' school, the Biology teacher does an outstanding job, but the chemistry teacher not so much. Both my sons got in the upper 700s on the SAT2 Bio after only taking Honors Bio. We found out that parents at our school advise not to take the Chem subject exam. Even though my younger son took AP Chem, he didn't take the Chem subject exam, just Math 2 and Bio.
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  • washugradwashugrad 1161 replies13 threads Senior Member
    My junior just took the chem subject test 2 days ago (so we don't know the score yet) after 1 year of regular chemistry. We were sort of in a similar boat... she's taking AP Physics 1 this year so will have more in-depth coverage but not the full syllabus that's covered in the subject test, so it was a choice between learning the bits that were left out of 1st year chemistry vs AP Physics 1. Although people say that you don't need AP Chem to take the subject test, there were definitely gaps in what was covered in the first year course vs what was covered at least in Barrons. Plus the Chem teacher at our high school doesn't require kids to memorize much so there was a little bit of having to go back and having to memorize some formulas. After finishing the 6 Barrons tests (and scoring mostly in the 650-700 range) we bought the book that has 2 former actual exams. By the end of the 2nd of those she hit 740.

    That's the long way of saying that I think you can do Chemistry after regular chem, with some self-study. I'd plan on a couple of weeks where she's taking one previous test a night and then looking at the solutions to what she missed.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1289 replies97 threads Senior Member
    @4Gulls She is a soph this year. I don't know where she will be applying yet. Probably not Georgetown, probably not MIT. But probably at least a few schools where 2 Subject Tests are recommended. I'm trying to figure this out now, because she is taking precalc right now. So it makes sense to take that test to cover her bases while the material is still fresh. Plus if we could get the subject tests out of the way to have more time to focus on SAT/ACT, AP, EC's, etc that would be a bonus.

    @skieurope We only have one physics class. It is not AP, and does not require calculus. It is primarily taken by seniors planning on a STEM major in college.

    I guess that's probably what I should have her do, plan on Math 2, and then see if World History or Bio are possibilities this spring.
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  • Dancingmom518Dancingmom518 426 replies3 threads Member
    My rising junior took the world history test this past weekend. History is her favorite subject, but the scope of this test is incredibly broad. There is a ton of material to cover. Essentially it can include anything that ever happened, anywhere in the world, from the beginning of time lol.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    My rising junior took the world history test this past weekend. History is her favorite subject, but the scope of this test is incredibly broad.
    That's a good point. My own HS, which had a 4-term world history graduation requirement, advised students not to take the WH Subject Test because the range of questions was so broad. But again, your DD can see for herself via a practice test. Good luck.
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