How much do subject tests matter?

Compared to SAT I, etc.

SAT I score is 800 reading / 780 writing / 770 math - 2350 composite
SAT II scores are weaker - 690 math II, waiting on results for USH and Bio M but not really confident
FYI intended major is political science, nothing with STEM

How much do SAT scores matter, and to what schools?

Depends on the school – some don’t want/need them, others do. If it’s a subject that you’ve said interests you, you should have a decent score on the Sub. Test. In my mind, the SAT I tests for a certain kind of aptitude or skill – certainly one that you can learn to a fair extent – but little mastery of content. The SAT II tests for the latter. So while you can show that you have the ability to do close reading in the SAT I, the SAT II shows that you have some context what you’ve read. You’ll need to look at the schools that interest you to see if they require the SAT II.

The SAT I matters more than subject tests in the admissions process since SAT I scores affect USNews rankings and are generally a good measurement of a student’s learning potential.

A 690 on Math II (below the 50th percentile of test takers) is concerning and might damage your application if you choose to send it. Like AP scores, subject tests are there to show a college that you actually understand the material and that your grades actually mean something. If you’re not planning on retaking Math II, I would choose to not send the score. If the college that you’re applying to requires a certain # of subject tests, I would send the ones that you scored the best on. Sending 3+ consistently low subject test scores could cause you to be rejected in favor of an applicant that is more academically qualified.

If score choice isn’t an option, then you’ll just have to make do with what you already have and hope that they’ll overlook your scores.

@yinuos was under the impression that the avg is 686 so 690 is basically exactly average. does that make a difference?

If OP is planning to apply to tippy top schools, then SAT 2, and for that matter, SAT 1, scores really need to be over 700. There could be exceptions if OP is an athlete or hooked. OP, you might consider retaking your SAT 2s if you don’t do as well as you hoped. The thing about SAT 2s, as gardenstategal touched on, is that generally higher stats students are taking SAT 2s in the first place. So the scores really need to be above 700 to be impressive. Don’t quote me, but my understanding is that ideally Math 2 scores should be around 760 to be considered good. Again though, conventional wisdom on CC says that 700 and above is the golden number for tippy tops.

If you’re applying to the kind of schools that require SAT IIs, you don’t want to be “average,” you want to be exceptional.

Fwiw, my 760 in Math 2 was only 69th percentile or so. So many people get 800s. And those people are your competition.

IMO, the difference between a 750 and 760 (or a 760 and 800) is negligible. If one gets rejected for a 750, it highly unlikely that the same application would have been accepted with an 800.

@skieurope, I just said don’t quote me! :wink: I was trying to give OP an idea of what he/she might be up against if applying to tippy tops. I agree with what you said above.

SAT Reasoning shows you can master skills. SAT subjects show content mastery. At Top 25 (top 10) U’s/LACs, some adcoms turn to subject results first, because they allow them to get context for your transcript.
You’re supposed to choose subject tests that showcase your strengths and show they’re a good match for your major (with the understanding your major will change - but as your major choice is supposed to reflect your academic interests and strengths, your subject tests should reflect that too.)
With that in mind, WHY did you pick Math 2 and Biology for a future poli sci major, especially considering those are clearly not your strengths and don’t help your application wrt “academic strengths/interests”?
Good picks would include: English, US History, World History, a foreign language.
And, yes, 700+ is expected.
No difference between 750 and 780. Depending on the test, it could be just 1 question answered differently.
High 600’s may be acceptable if you attend a low-performing school and are otherwise exceptional.

No worries @Lindagaf :slight_smile: