From our understanding, the SAT/ACT accounts for as much as 30% of your application, while the Subject Tests only account for about 5% to 10%. Therefore, the SAT/ACT should be your top priority when it comes to college admission tests.
Here’s the short answer: SAT Subject Tests are not nearly as important as the SAT/ACT is.
At Damian SAT ACT Prep we advise our students looking to land a spot in an Ivey League that SAT Subject Tests are a must.
Luckily, the SAT Subject Tests should align with the work and studying you’re already doing in your classes. It’s usually better to take a Subject Test near the end of the school year since you have already studied the subject for a full year and eventually you have taken an AP exam as well. Always you can take the Subject Tests again in June and super score or just report the best score.
Although SAT Subject Tests aren’t a super important part of your application, you still need to take them seriously if you want to gain admission to the Ivy League. To get into these highly selective institutions, every component of your application must be outstanding.
Plus, since you have some choice in the matter, you’re expected to choose the subjects in which you can demonstrate subject mastery. A low score would seem like an outlier and might raise doubts about your academic abilities and potential in that subject.
While schools are becoming more and more flexible in their standardized testing policies, Subject Test scores can give a big boost to your application if you choose the right test(s) and excel in the relevant subjects in school. Do this, and these tests shouldn’t require too much additional prep in order to achieve strong-enough scores for Ivy League schools.
In closing, let’s discuss a few strategies you can use to balance your SAT Subject Tests schedule during the college application process.
If you’re gearing up to apply to Ivy League schools, you likely lead an active and busy life. Whether it’s homework, clubs, sports, or all the prep work for applying to college, you have a lot of activities to juggle. And adding Subject Tests on top of everything can make you feel like you’re going to drop something.
As long as you approach these tests with a thoughtful plan, you should be able to maintain balance and achieve your goals. Being able to independently manage your time, while still leaving time for breaks and fun, is an important skill you’ll need in college. By designing a schedule for yourself in high school, you’ll be able to further develop these useful life skills.
You can get all three done in one day, but you don’t have to do them all at once or wait until junior year to take them. A 9th grade biology class, for example, could adequately prepare you for the Biology Subject Test. Or you might feel ready to take the Math Level I test right after sophomore year.
Even if you do decide to wait until junior year to take them, it’s a good idea to align them with your finals and AP exams so that your studying can kill two birds with one stone. By planning when you will take and study for the Subject Tests, you can allocate time in advance to give you a more balanced schedule.
You might be thinking, “Making the schedule is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to it.” This is true—one day you might be motivated by your dream of an acceptance letter in a giant envelope arriving at your door, while the next day that letter might seem like an image from a future life, far removed from your present one.
There are no easy shortcuts here—staying on task requires motivation. But even more importantly it requires discipline. It requires the ability to push through your resistance and all the things you might rather be doing at that moment, and commit yourself to studying. Remember that you have clearly outlined your goals and want to do everything you can to achieve them.