In addition to the SAT, some private colleges (generally the most selective ones) require that students take SAT subject tests as part of the admission process. While SAT subject tests are no longer required by the UC system, some campuses recommend that students seeking spots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency. These are recommendations by the UC, not mandates. A few UC campuses recommend that students take certain SAT subject tests for specific colleges/schools and majors. Even if subject tests are not recommended, they can add merit to a student’s application (but students cannot be penalized for failing to take them).
Subject tests differ from the SAT in that the SAT examines aptitude over a limited amount of material while the subject tests are generally course-specific and more comprehensive. Some colleges may ask for a distribution of subject tests over different content areas. The subject tests commonly taken by M-A students are math II (through precalculus), literature, biology, chemistry, U.S. history, Spanish, and French. The tests directly measure what students have learned in school, so ideally students take them in May/June at the conclusion of a particular course. Because the foreign language and math tests include content from many years of study, they may also be taken in the fall if a student has completed the appropriate course. Students should only consider a language test if they are finishing the fourth level of the language.
Tentative Schedule for spring 2017
This year, as in the past eleven years, we plan to open our subject-test prep classes to all juniors and sophomores at M-A in the following subjects:
Math (Mr. Whitnah and Ms. Reklis)
AM class to prepare for May 6th exam – begins mid-April
AM/PM classes to prepare for June 3rd exam begin May 8th
Biology (Mr. Roisen)
PM class to prepare for June 3rd exam begins May 15th.
Most preparatory classes will run two weeks on every weekday morning or afternoon. During these two-week sessions, students will review the content, take practice tests (actual tests from the past), and review these tests. In addition to preparing for their subject tests, many students will enjoy the additional benefit of reviewing content for finals. Math classes will be offered from 7:50 to 8:40 am or after school from 3:20 to 4:10 pm; biology will meet only in the afternoon.