Maximizing Performance on SAT Subject Tests

Instructor: Leah Salyer
Taking the SAT Subject Tests may be beneficial to your college career. You may wish to apply to colleges that require the tests, wish to show off your knowledge in these areas or plan to earn college credit as a result. Regardless of the reason you take the tests, use this article to help you learn the best ways to make the most of your performance on test day.

Best Ways to Prepare

To make the most out of taking the SAT Subject Tests, you will want to begin by making sure that you are as prepared as possible. There are a number of ways to approach this. One way is to focus on the coursework that you have been studying in school as the tests themselves are based on high school level work. Taking test preparation courses that are available online is another great way to get yourself ready for the tests. Reviewing the material in a test-type format may help you get used to answering questions the same way that you will on test day. It's also possible to hire a tutor to help you study and prepare. This can be beneficial because there may be areas in which you would benefit most from one-on-one help. A tutor can help you zero in on these areas and focus your studies accordingly.

Tips for Test Day

There are strategic ways to approach the subject areas on test day that will help you make the most of the time you have. These tips are as follows:

  • Consider each question carefully. Make sure that you read completely and understand what the question is asking you to do before you respond. This will keep you from wasting time and will ensure that each question is answered more thoroughly.
  • Start with the easy-to-answer questions. Browse through the questions and answer the ones that you find easiest first. This will allow you more time to work on the questions that you find more difficult and time-consuming.
  • Cross out wrong answers. Any time you answer a multiple choice question, cross out that answers that you know are incorrect. This will help you eliminate as you go and will also make sure that you don't accidentally choose the wrong answer.
  • Skip questions you're struggling with. Go ahead and skip any questions that you're having a hard time with. Make sure to circle them so that you know to come back to them later. If you come back to them and are still unsure of how to answer, you can choose to either guess or skip them entirely. Remember that no points are deducted for skipped questions on the SAT subject tests, but incorrect answers will count against your total points. Don't forget to skip that question on your answer sheet too!
  • Keep track of where you are. Check your answer sheet and your test booklet frequently to make sure that you are in the right place and haven't skipped any questions unintentionally. You don't want to lose points for being off one question and filling in the wrong answers on the answer sheet.
  • Pay attention to your timing. You want to make sure that the majority of your time is spent on questions that you're likely to answer correctly. As you practice, you will get a better idea of what types of questions to go through quickly and which ones to spend more time on. Each test must be completed in one hour, so keep track of how much time is passing in order to know which questions you'll want to address before the time is up.

Other Resources offers SAT prep courses that may be beneficial when studying specifically for the subject tests. The courses allow you to go at your own pace and take quizzes on the material that you're studying. Take a look at the following SAT Subject Courses to pick the course that best fits your needs:

You may also wish to check out these tips on Maximizing SAT Performance. This lesson will give you some ideas on how to mentally prepare yourself the day before and the day of the test, hopefully resulting in your best performance possible.

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