Posts Tagged ‘SAT II’

Big Changes in SAT Subject Test Policies

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Just like that, Harvard, Georgetown and a few other Universities changed the rules.  Until now, these schools had application policies that required all students to take and submit scores for three SAT Subject Tests (aka SAT II). 

Harvard will now require only two SAT Subject Tests for Fall 2011 class applicants. Georgetown went from requesting three Subject Test Scores to strongly recommending them.

When applying to schools, expert college counselors say, note the change in language. Universities used to require or request the submission of three SAT Subject Test scores as part of a complete application for admission. Now at many schools, like Georgetown, the language on the test policies has been changed to strongly recommended.

The testing policy at Stanford University states: “We recommend taking at least two SAT Subject Tests, as such information will assist us in our evaluation process. Applicants, however, who choose not to take SAT Subject Tests will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process.”

Of course, as expert college counselors know, the subtleties in language are important, especially at schools where admissions are highly competitive. 

International College Counselors note:  When a highly regarded university requires only two Subject Tests, our expert college counselors highly recommend you take more to make yourself the most highly qualified candidate.

According to the Harvard website, applicants may take any two subject tests.  But to meet these requirements students should not submit two Subject Tests in mathematics, and “candidates whose first language is not English should ordinarily not use a Subject Test in their first language…All students are encouraged to submit additional Subject Tests (which may include one in a student’s first language).”

Additionally, applicants are encouraged to show evidence of the “breadth and depth of their academic interests” by taking additional Subject Tests and to submit Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test results that provide evidence of academic accomplishment.

Further complicating the evolving role of SAT Subject Tests, a few colleges, like NYU and Colby College, are allowing the Subject Tests and other standardized tests and/or AP and IB tests to be submitted instead of SAT and/or ACT scores.

The College Board currently offers SAT Subject Tests in 20 areas, including history, literature, mathematics, physics, chemistry and a variety of languages.

Charles Deacon, dean of undergraduate admissions at Georgetown, explained via e-mail for Inside Higher Ed: “Georgetown, like Harvard and other selective schools, finds SAT IIs to be quite predictive of academic success at a high school level and we feel they are a valuable addition to SAT Is or ACTs. However, we are aware that for a variety of reasons, students may find it difficult to submit these results so we want to make it clear that they can still apply and we will do our best to consider them fairly based upon the information they are able to provide.”

For the most accurate and current information on standardized test policies for each college, International College Counselors recommend that students visit individual college websites or contact us at 954-414-9986 or at

Come in for a free consultation with International College Counselors. Or get 5 friends together and we will come out and hold a private seminar just for you and your friends. Just call us at 954-414-9986 or contact us at I
nternational College Counselors by email.

Join our Mailing List
International College Counselors
(954) 414-9986

International College Counselors has college counseling Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade college counseling offices. International College Counselors handle undergraduate and graduate college admissions, financial aid, tuition, essays, and college applications. Mandee Heller Adler, lead college admissions consultant and Founder of International College Counselors in Miami, tailors her wide range of college counseling and college coaching services to address the goals, needs, and dreams of each individual student, whether Florida college or Ivy League university. Our college advisors, Miami Florida based, work with domestic and international students. We also work with high schools. Our college counselors are in Miami, Boca, Broward and Palm Beach. Let us help you make the best decisions choosing, getting into, and paying for college. Our offices will allow you to work with a Miami college counselor, Dade College Counselor, Broward college counselor, Palm Beach College Counselors, Boca College Counselor and/or a Ft. Lauderdale College Counselor.

Come in for a free consultation with International College Counselors. Or get 5 friends together and we will come out and hold a private seminar just for you and your friends. Just call us at 954-414-9986 or contact us at International College Counselors by email.

Taking the SAT II – Why? And What’s a Good Score

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

An SAT II Overview

Colleges are increasingly valuing the SAT II Subject Tests. To them, these specific subject exams demonstrate your actual understanding of a subject area, meaning how well you have learned each subject and how prepared you will be for college level courses.

People who don’t consider themselves great test takers, just say Ugh.

The real bottom line: colleges like the SAT II exams because – like all standardized tests – they make the admissions job easier.

When tests are standardized, colleges can easily use them to compare you to other high school students nationwide. Hence, the SAT II. Colleges believe (often quite rightly) the grades you get in high school don’t offer an as accurate measurement. Some high schools are more difficult than others, some teachers are harder graders than others, some students earn extra credit for cleaning out test tubes, all these possible factors leave equally talented students receiving different grades. Standardized tests are the great equalizer.

The tests include: Literature, U.S History, World History, Mathematics Levels I and II, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Japanese and Korean.

Not all schools require them, so you should check the universities requirements before registering for any SAT II tests.

Each exam is one hour in length. But make sure you study for them more than an hour.

The scores range from 200-800 as in the SAT I.

Taking the SAT II exams

These tests aren’t easy. The best time to take one of the SAT II tests is right after you’ve finished a year long course in that subject. This way the subject matter will still be fresh in your mind. Some exceptions would be if you plan to take the test in Writing, Foreign Language, or Literature. Then you’d want to take the test after the highest level class you plan to take. Of course, there is no point in taking SAT II tests after November of your senior year, everything should be into the college admissions way before then. The only reason to take them this late would be if the colleges you’re applying to use the SAT II for placement purposes.

For the SAT II, you should prepare yourself like you would for the SAT. Get familiar with the format of the tests. Take old exams for practice if you can.

The test dates for SAT II Subject Tests are usually in October, November, December, January, May, and June. However, not every subject test is offered on each of the test dates. To check when the tests you want to take are offered, refer to the College Board website at

International College Counselor Tip: You can take up to three Subject Tests on the same day, but I don’t recommend it. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of these exams. It’s going to be one brain-challenging hour of you life. The ETS won’t let you take the SAT I and the SAT II tests on the same day even if both are offered on the same day.

What do The SAT II Scores Mean?

They can mean different things as the average score varies widely from test to test. In any given year, It’s all about who is taking the tests. Only the top students are taking these tests now because only the most select schools are asking for the scores. This also makes it impossible to compare the tests directly across the different subjects.

The way to think about these scores is that they are part of the student’s story. So, if the student says they are fabulous at math, they should do well on the math subject test. If the student is just a “good” student with nothing really outstanding- these scores speak to that fact.

Here are all the 2008 median scores of college-bound seniors according to the College Board, the wonderful folks who bring you these tests:


Literature: 580

History and Social Sciences

United States History: 597

World History: 584


Mathematics Level 1: 599

Mathematics Level 2: 644


Biology – Ecological: 593

Biology – Molecular: 630

Chemistry: 635

Physics: 650

Language Tests

Chinese with Listening: 763

French: 620

French with Listening: 624

German: 620

German with Listening: 601

Modern Hebrew: 646

Italian: 671

Japanese with Listening: 693

Korean with Listening: 760

Latin: 624

Spanish: 640

Spanish with Listening: 647

If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them. I work with international students (9 countries and counting!) as well as those in the U.S. Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.

Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors

By the way, my college advising company is opening a new branch of International College Counselors in NYC so now you can visit our college advisor NYC as well.

International College Counselors
3107 Stirling Road, Suite 208
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312 USA
(954) 414-9986

College Admissions Advisors in Florida | College Admissions Advisors in Connecticut | College Counselors in North Carolina