- Course type: Self-paced
- Available Lessons: 125
- Average Lesson Length: 8 min
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Course SummaryBefore you take the SAT Subject Test in Literature, boost your confidence by reviewing this study guide. Our video lessons and quizzes review American literature, English literature and other topics from the test so you can prepare to earn the best score possible.
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- Comprehensive test covering all topics
- Detailed video explanations for wrong answers
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About this Course
SAT subject tests aren't required by every college, but many of the schools that don't require them suggest taking one of these tests if you have strong knowledge of the subject matter. Passing one of these tests can help your chances for admission at various schools. You might also be able to earn credit for introductory college courses in literature.
The SAT Subject Test in Literature has about 60 questions, all multiple-choice, and has to be completed in one hour. You can take this paper-based test on six different test dates throughout the year. To prepare for the test, use our online study guide, which offers video lessons and quizzes. Concepts covered in the lessons are the same as those on the test and include:
- American literature
- English literature
- Literature of other countries written in English
Test questions focus on literary works of various eras, including the Renaissance and 17th century, 18th and 19th centuries and the 20th century. You'll be given reading selections, which are primarily poetry and prose selections; however, up to 10% of your questions may use a drama selection or other literary works. The test will provide full-length poems or excerpts from fiction, essays and poems. After reading the selected work, you'll have to answer questions about it. To do well on this test, you'll need to be familiar with key vocabulary terms, such as stanza, alliteration and irony.
Preparing and Registering for the SAT Subject Test - Literature
Our study guide has video lessons covering the different types of literature and time frames included on the test. In addition, each video lesson is followed by a self-assessment quiz. Use these quizzes to refresh your knowledge of the subject matter and familiarize yourself with the style of questions you'll encounter on the exam.
When you register for this test, you'll also be able to schedule up to two additional subject exams for the same date as your literature test. This option doesn't allow you to take the SAT and the subject exams on the same day. You'll need to register about a month before the test date, but you'll also find a late registration deadline available for a fee if you need it.
You'll select your subject test and test site during registration, which is available online. You can also select the schools, up to four, that you want to receive your test scores. Be sure to have a photo of yourself handy, since you'll need to upload one during registration. After you register, you'll be able to print your admission ticket, which you'll need to bring with you on test day. Also plan to bring photo identification and two #2 pencils with erasers.
Scoring the SAT Subject Test - Literature
About three weeks from your test date, you'll be able to see your scores. The score report is available online and a copy is also sent to your high school and the colleges you selected at registration. This test has a scoring range of 200-800 points. Each correct answer equals one point, but different percentages are taken off for incorrect answers. You won't have points deducted for questions that you don't answer.
Questions on American literature represent 40%-50% of the test. After reading a selected passage, you'll need to be able to interpret the theme and understand the meaning of various words. You should also be able to analyze a writer's diction and figurative language and understand how those usages influence the reader. You'll need to be familiar with narrative voice in prose and be able to determine why a work of poetry was created. You could also be asked about the characters that are used in dramatic works.
Works that you may encounter in this section include those from American writers who were a part of the dark romantics, literary realism, Harlem Renaissance and modernist periods. Writers include Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck and Langston Hughes.
English literature questions also represent 40%-50% of the test. You should be prepared to analyze major English works of poetry and prose. In some questions, you'll be given a passage to read and then asked about the tone, character behavior or voice of a work. You might be asked to identify a dramatic situation or understand what a specific line in a poem refers to. Questions could also ask you to determine the theme of a selected work.
This section could include works from major English literature periods, including Renaissance literature, Victorian literature and literary modernism. You might be asked to analyze works by William Shakespeare, John Milton, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, John Keats and Lord Byron. The works of T.S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Charles Dickens could also be used in this test.
Other Literature Written in English
This section only represents 0%-10% of the test. Questions here will cover the same topics and concepts as those for American and English literature. You could see questions about writers from such areas as India and the Caribbean. You might also be asked to analyze passages from writers based in other countries.
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