As a high school chemistry teacher myself, I receive an onslaught of questions regarding the SAT subject test. It is difficult to gauge the best date to take it, how to prepare, and whether or not you're ready. The first thing you should know: you're not alone! Many students struggle with how to get started with this test. The important thing is to make a plan that makes sense for you. Today is great time to get started on it!
So, should you take the subject test in chemistry?
If you are in an AP course, my answer is: most definitely. The AP course gives you a great scope of content which is covered on the exam.
If you are in an Honors course, my answer has some conditions
1. Are you willing to learn some topics on your own?
2. Do you want to study a few topics (gas laws, solutions, and bonding) in a more advanced way? Most students say yes to these conditions, which is great!
What month should you take the test?
AP Chemistry students should take the test in May.
The AP exam takes place in May, and the preparation for the two tests is VERY similar. Students who take the AP test and the subject test in the same month, are typically quite pleased with their scores. A decent alternative, is to take the subject test in June, but you have to be careful to continue your studies after the AP exam. This might be hard to do… Although it is an option!
Honors Chemistry students should take the test in June.
Finals are in June, and the preparation for your final, might be VERY similar to your preparation for the subject test. The June test date also allows you time to learn all of the material. You can then decide if there are additional topics to review.
Once you have settled on your target test date, you should register right away!
How do you prepare for the test?
The first step is to learn how the test writers “think”.The absolute best way to do this, is to use the “College Board Official SAT Subject Test in Chemistry Guide”. The book is $12 on Amazon! The text goes over the test format, gives 25 practice questions with explanations, and has 2 COMPLETE practice tests with answers and explanations. These two tests are VERY similar to what you will see on the test day.
The next step is to… take more practice tests!
I know, you already took two tests, but the best way to prepare for a test is ... to take a test. You can find my recommendation here.
This site is the only place where I have found free released, College Board tests (with answers)! These are older tests, however, the material and the test questions are still extremely relevant.
The last step (for now), is to look back at all of the practice tests.
Write down the topics that were challenging for you. Now, it is time to practice questions on those topics!
The fastest and most efficient way to review these topics, is to do practice questions on those topics. Here is my favorite site with questions arranged by topic. The online tests have answers too!
Are you considering sitting for the SAT subject test in chemistry? Be in touch should you need support as you prepare. We have many tutors like Marilyn who can comprehensively support you through test preparation!
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