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Should I Retake SAT Physics? How Important are SAT Subject Tests When Applying to Top Schools???

designmath2024designmath2024 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
This May I took two SAT subject tests: Math 2 and Physics. I decided to take Physics because I had just taken the AP Physics C: Mechanics test. However, because Physics C: Mechanics only covers Mechanics, which is only 45% of the Physics Subject Test, I had to buy a Barron's review book and self-study the week before. I ended up getting a 790 on Math but only a 700 on Physics. If I want to apply to top schools, (Columbia, MIT, Yale), is it important that I retake these subject tests? I ended up getting a 5 on the AP Physics C Mechanics exam, so would that be enough to show sufficiency in the subject? I know I need two STEM subject tests for a school like MIT, but should I consider taking the Literature subject test instead of Physics? How important are subject tests in general? Outside of my subject tests, I have nearly perfect grades with a very rigorous schedule, along with a 35 on my ACT. Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Replies to: Should I Retake SAT Physics? How Important are SAT Subject Tests When Applying to Top Schools???

  • designmath2024designmath2024 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Also, I am a rising senior if you couldn't already tell.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38838 replies6858 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    If a college requires/recommends Subject Tests then it requires/recommends Subject Tests. AP scores will not be used in lieu of Subject Tests, nor will a good AP score compensate for a less-than-good subject test.

    MIT requires a science Subject Test, so Lit is not an option if applying to them. For other colleges, you can choose your tests. A 700 will not be competitive at MIT. It may be OK for Yale/Columbia/etc, but many applicants will have stronger scores. Personally, I'd want to present the best application package that I could, and if I were able to prep for a Subject Test without sacrificing GPA/essay quality/ECs, I would. But ultimately, it's your choice.
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  • designmath2024designmath2024 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks for the help!
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 795 replies10 threadsRegistered User Member
    The last published data I could find from MIT says their middle 50% for Science Subject Tests was 740 - 800. You really don't want to be below 25th percentile when possible.

    Others aren't quite as competitive, but I'd say you need to be at 750 or higher to be comfortable/safe at most top 20 schools. Lower 700s would need a strong application in other areas as a balance.
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  • designmath2024designmath2024 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    thanks so much for the info!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29240 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some schools rate your test scores according to the sum of a certain number of SAT. For example, instead of a 1600 max range it is 3200 (4 scores including 2 SAT2s). So, yes, the can be all fire important.

    That’s for schools who require and use them. It can vary at other schools that do not
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