Female writing in a notebook
Whats the deal with Lit?
Without a doubt the Literature SAT-II is the most popular of the dreaded SAT-IIs. With good reason, this is the least feared of the subject tests. The argument is not that this test proves easier than the others, but certainly less classroom-acquired knowledge is necessary to bring to the table for the Literature test then, say, the Math-II, Biology or French tests. It is the one subject test that does not specifically draw upon material taught through the high school curriculum. You read a passage (poems, letters, fables, excerpts from a play script, speeches, etc) and then you answer questions about what you just read. There are no formulas to remember, nor do you have to draw upon texts read previously in school.
Which SAT II exam should I take? When should I take it?
Of all the crazy making parts of the SAT Process that exist outside of the test itself, none can be more stress inducing that the decision making about the SAT II exams.
The SAT Subject Tests are a group of tests in different academic disciplines. The College Board currently administers exams in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics Chinese, Literature, U.S. History, World History, French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin and Spanish.
How do I know which SAT II to take? When should I take them?
There are many confusing and overwhelming aspects of the SAT Process that exist outside of the demands that the exam itself places on your time and energy. One of the most stress inducing parts of the process for many people revolves around the SAT IIs.
The SAT IIs or SAT Subject Tests are a series of exams in a variety of specialized subjects. Currently the College Board offers tests in Literature, U.S. History, World History, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics Chinese, French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin and Spanish. In the case of Biology, the College Board offers two tests – one centered on ecology and one centered on molecular biology. There are also two math tests of varying difficulty and subject matter. Lastly, the German, French and Spanish tests come in two options – a listening test and one more focused on literature.
In choosing which SAT Subject tests to take, play to your strengths. Most schools require two to three SAT Subject test scores and you want to showcase yourself at your best. There is no prize for being a hero. You want to select SAT Subject tests that you feel comfortable with and that interest you. This makes for an infinitely more enjoyable experience. In the case of the science and history exams – you want to take the test at the end of the year in which you are studying that subject. If you take Bio as freshman, take the SAT II at end of your freshman year. The material will be in your mind and in the process of preparing for finals you can kill two birds with one stone.
For the rest of the SAT Subject exams – the literature, math and language tests – you want to take them at the point that you feel you have a good degree of mastery of the material covered. If you are starting Calculus as a senior, take the Math 2 exam at the end of you junior year as that test only covers PreCalc. If you are taking the SAT II literature test, maybe wait until you senior year so you have a read as much as you can and feel as prepared as possible.
With a bit of foresight and an honest assessment of what represent your best subjects, the Sat Subject tests can fit in nicely with you existing coursework.