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Are SAT Subject Tests becoming obsolete? Should I still take them?

squ1rrelsqu1rrel 449 replies35 threads Member
I recently learned that MIT will no longer be considering subject tests (permanently) in their admissions. Caltech did the same in January. And this entire COVID-19 thing has made everyone question more and more the necessity of testing...is there a chance that other top schools will stop considering them? I'm a sophomore in HS right now, and don't want to waste time preparing for subject tests if they are going to be useless.

My dream school is MIT, followed by UIUC (OOS), both of which do not subject tests. My major would likely be CS, so I would end up taking Math 2 and physics, but I forget a lot of stuff from my earlier math days and have only learned mechanics, so I would have to spend a considerable amount of time preparing. Other reach schools I would be applying to *consider* subject tests, like Purdue or UMich. And I may or may not apply to a few schools that strongly recommend subject tests, like Dartmouth or Cornell.

Should I spend the time to prepare and take them? How important will these tests be in two admissions cycles? I got a 36 ACT in February btw, so for colleges that don't require but consider subject tests, would I really need to show them my competency in the form subject tests? I got a 5 on Calc AB last year and suspect I'll get the same on BC this year, as well as a 5 on APCSA.
edited July 13
10 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Are SAT Subject Tests becoming obsolete? Should I still take them?

  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 449 replies35 threads Member
    bump :|
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  • yearstogoyearstogo 830 replies30 threads Member
    I do not think they are worth the money to take given they seem to be going out of favor but I do not think that the types of students who are serious contenders for MIT would need to spend much time preparing for Math II. Good luck!
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2235 replies18 threads Senior Member
    While they definitely seem to be going out of favor in some places, it might be difficult to skip them and then realize there is a school on your list that requires them. If $ is a factor, speak to your guidance counselor. If not, do the bare minimum and then add as needed.
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 449 replies35 threads Member
    edited July 2
    Ok, so none of the schools I plan on applying to require subject tests. Money is not an issue—time is. I've already proven that stats-wise, I am competitive at any top school. With this covid mess going on, even though I'm not applying next cycle, it seems like the whole standardized testing landscape has changed. I need a final verdict on whether or not I should take these exams—physics will take quite a bit of studying.

    I plan on applying to quite a few schools who used to "recommend" subject tests prior to this crazy cycle. Need more input—thanks. I could also just take Math 2 and not physics.

    Edit: just looked at Cornell's site which said that subject tests will not be looked at for both the 2020 and 2021 cycles. I assume some other schools will do the same? It seems like Harvard and Princeton will still be recommending them for my cycle. Everything is confusing.
    edited July 2
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2450 replies40 threads Senior Member
    edited July 3
    I looked at the schools on my D22’s (just finished Sophomore year) list and many still “recommend” them with an exception for just this upcoming year. She’s already taken Math 2 and will most likely take Chem after AP Chem this year, just in case.

    The number using them is certainly falling, but there’s no way to predict the near-term future of the tests.
    edited July 3
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 449 replies35 threads Member
    @RichInPitt So...to take or not to take? I'm applying the same admissions cycle as your daughter. This is honestly causing such a headache. My top three schools won't be considering them, but many others, as of right now, "recommend." Ugh I'd hate to waste my time preparing.
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  • yearstogoyearstogo 830 replies30 threads Member
    They will not be hard for you and money is not an issue so just take them in case. I really do not think it will take you that much time to prepare for them.
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  • sattutsattut 1021 replies84 threads Senior Member
    MIT and Caltech are not considering them primarily because most applicants with a good chance of submission are submitting close to 800 in math and science and AP exams are more rigorous.

    Subject tests are generally important to top 100 schools. Doing well on them can be important to your application.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2450 replies40 threads Senior Member
    squ1rrel wrote: »
    @RichInPitt So...to take or not to take?

    As I stated, my D already took Math2 and will take Chem this upcoming year because she will be applying to schools that (non-COVID) recommend them. A lot depends on where you intend to apply. I can’t tell you specifically what you should do.
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 449 replies35 threads Member
    Right. I've decided I'll take Math 2 and Physics, have already started studying for physics. Thank you all.
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