• February 18, 2019
  • BLOG

Impress Colleges with Subject Tests

Start Early!

Since students often don’t know which colleges you might eventually apply to, we recommend that they consider taking a Subject Test or two at the end of their 9th and/or 10th grade. Students could take any of the twenty Subject Tests offered and aim for scores of 750 or higher. Many highly selective colleges still require Subject Tests. Here are some examples:

– STEM-oriented, MIT requires two Subject Tests: one math and one science
– Harvard requires two Subject Tests but lets applicants decide which ones to submit
– Cooper Union requires two Subject Tests for applicants applying to the Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Typically, our students start preparing for their Subject Tests during February or March and take the tests at the beginning of May, beginning of June, or middle of August.  

Stand out and accentuate your application!
Even if colleges don’t require Subject Tests, the most competitive applicants are taking them to enhance their applications, especially at top colleges. Submitting Subject Tests with high scores can help universities see how versatile you are. For example, a student applying as a Biology major might decide to take the Literature Subject Test in addition to the Biology Subject Test. This would show college admissions officers that the applicant possesses not only proficiency in Biology but also an aptitude for reading and writing. Many competitive colleges, such as Amherst, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Boston University (required for specific programs, though) and Barnard, still recommend Subject Tests and will consider them if submitted. A set of strong Subject Test scores, even if they are not required, will only make an applicant more appealing to colleges.  

Show that you’ve mastered your coursework!
Often, top-performing students will take more than two or three Subject Tests. While attaining perfect scores might seem daunting, the good news is that these tests aren’t as hard as you’d think. Many Ivy Link students attain perfect scores. According to InsideHigherEd writer Scott Jaschik, Subject Tests can reveal the knowledge students have developed in their high school courses. Unlike the SAT/ACT, Subject Tests give students the opportunity to show mastery of certain subjects instead of how well they can navigate the test format to score well. These tests correlate with subject matter. Based on our experience, if students got A’s in the subject matter in their classroom and properly prepared for the Subject Tests, they could have a shot at scoring 750-800 on the Subject Tests.  

Remember that your Subject Tests could have a positive or negative impact on your application, depending on your scores. Pick the right tests for you, and make sure you devote enough time to prepare in order to get a good score that will impress the colleges.

Ivy Link offers valuable services to help students ace their Subject Tests and enhance their college applications. We help students at all test-taking and academic levels through the entire college application and admissions process.