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I have a child who may be interested in Univ of CA and some other colleges where SAT2s are required of homeschoolers. In most cases, it looks like just two subject tests.  Can anyone help me with some BTDT experience about these tests?  When should they be taken - meaning, after what level of class or other prep.  Are some harder than others? Are these things your students study for (test prep) or something they take after they have completed the high school course?  Any other words of wisdom or experience welcome.

 

Here is what I've gleaned from reading some other threads:  

  • you may be able to take 2 at a sitting, but don't try to take 3
  • Chemistry is really hard, probably best to take after an AP-level Chemistry course
  • Literature is on the easy side, you need to know literary terms but not a lot of specific content other than that
  • Foreign language without listening is fine for most colleges
  • Math 2 is to be taken after PreCalc
  • Math 1 can be taken after Geometry & Algebra 2??

 

I'm confused about the Math - which it's best to do, after which math class.

 

At this point, I'm thinking of shooting for Literature and Biology(E) because those are subjects I know we'll do at home.  History too, probably, so I'm wondering what the history tests are like.

 

 I don't think the Spanish one will be necessary if my student takes her Spanish classes at the cc, ditto with Chemistry and Physics.  

 

I'm not sure what to do about Math, though.  I don't know if we'll be able to continue that at home long term or if she will shift to the CC at some point.  I should have a plan to have her either do one of the tests or a CC class, I think.

 

At this point, the only AP I'm considering is Environmental Science, as we'll be doing a robust class at home.  Since college we are looking at ask for SAT2s, I don't see a benefit to trying to do both (and she will have CC classes).  Am I missing something with this logic?  My assumption is that we need some outside verification in each subject area, but we don't need AP, SAT2, and a college class for the same subject - one of those in each subject area would be sufficient.  Any flaws with this assumption?

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Some colleges that require Subject Tests specify which tests must be taken.  If you have a child going into STEM, many of these colleges request a math and science subject test scores.  While some of these schools that require a math and science subject test don't have a preference (MIT for example), other schools will only accept the Math Level II Subject Test and either the Physics or Chemistry Subject Test.  Calculators are not permitted on the science SAT II's, and formulas are not provided.

 

Schools that require SAT II's will not accept AP scores or community college/4-year college grades in lieu of the SAT II's.

 

My oldest took the Math Level II SAT II after the completion of pre-calc, the Physics SAT II after AP Physics B (which no longer exists), and the Chemistry SAT II after taking AP Chemistry. 

 

In my limited experience with my son going through the application process this year, he had outside validation in all subject areas with the exception of history.  Not having any outside validation in history did not hurt him at all.

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Math 1 covers less material, but the curve is absolutely brutal. Math 2 covers more material, but the curve is more forgiving.

I would recommend to delay the math subject test until the student had precalculus and then take math 2.

 

Your opinion about the Lit one matches our experience. DD walked in with no prep other than the one practice test in the blue book and got an 800; she found it very easy. We had not done a formal literature or English program in our homeschool; she had read widely and read through the Essential Literary Terms book (but really just read it briefly, not done any of the exercises.)

 

ETA: as for outside validation: DD had SAT2s in math, physics, literature and German, college credit in English, French and physics, and no outside validation whatsoever for history, chemistry, biology and electives.

In our experience it is entirely sufficient to have some outside validation, but not necessarily in all subjects; if the test scores are generally in line with the mommy grades, nobody will question the remaining subjects.

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I can tell you what we have done so far and what DD intends to do.  I will state up front my oldest daughter (only one to take these so far) tests well and easily, so I haven't hesitated to let her take these sophomore year.   

 

SAT II for Latin: took half-way through AP Latin. Currently, this is offered twice per year.  She elected to take it in December because she will be taking others in June.  That said, she reviewed periodically (1-2 x/ week) over several months for this because of the minutiae-type questions that she had been removed from for some time given Latin 3/4 focus on translation, reading, and analysis. She used REA and reviewed NLE level 3/4 prose and poetry passages available online.

 

SAT II for Math (Math 2): took half-way through Calc BC; did some prep several times/ week from Barron's Math 2 book during the month prior to test.  People vary on best time to take this. DD had no problem with Math 2 content at this point.  I have no experience with Math 1.

 

SAT II Chem: she will take this either this May immediately before AP exam or in June after AP exam.  She will use whatever materials Mr.Moskaluk recommends. Again, the detailed nature of subject tests can make it difficult to excel if you get too far removed in time from the content.

 

SAT II Literature: she will take it this June after her sophomore year. She plans to use Barron's for some prep specific to the test format. She is well versed in literary devices, tropes, schemes, and has read widely and deeply from a young age.  Given that, I think after sophomore year is reasonable for kids who are well read and know the devices etc... that you have to memorize.  Some others may recommend after junior year but before college app season if their student has not been exposed to this material. 

 

SAT II Physics:  when she has time to review her Giancoli Physics text (Algebra based text) she used in 9th grade, she will sit for this exam  She won't wait until she is done with Physics C to take it, so likely Fall 2015.

 

SAT II History:  she will take this either June or Fall 2015 simply because some schools (very few) want five subject tests across five different content areas.  We haven't figured out what materials she'll use to prepare, likely Barron's.

 

You may take up to three per sitting.  I personally recommend two, as fatigue often sets in by the third exam.  One thing to keep in mind about the subject tests for math and science is that many students will take them after AP course work.  Having worked beyond the stated scope of the test makes the tough questions much easier to answer correctly and within the time limits.  Some students w/o AP course work struggle to finish in the time constraints, and the curve (depending on test) can be brutal.  Unless it has recently changed, the subject test in Physics has a more generous curve than Chem, so some kids choose Physics for their science SAT subject test. 

 

There are lots of ways to think about which of these to take and so forth.  Just pick what's best for your student. For my oldest daughter, she wants to be done with all standardized testing by the end of Fall of her junior year.  She will still have annual AP exams but nothing otherwise.

 

In terms of fielding out classes, I did enroll her for Calc BC and Chem because PaH has a longstanding reputation for preparing students to do well on the AP exam. Learning the content is no issue for my daughter; being taught how to answer AP questions College Board style is another matter. Having two other children, I simply could not see myself being able to do that effectively, so she is taking those two classes there.

 

In terms of AP classes, SAT subject tests, and DE, my thoughts based on my understanding are as follows:  DD is looking at highly selective schools if, for no other reason, her intent to major in Classics (paired with math or chem).  To that end, she is currently taking 4 APs as Sophomore and will take 4-5 as Junior and 3-4 as Senior. She will also have 5 SAT subject tests.  For her area of interest (classics), she has 5 years of Greek and 4 years of Latin at this point with supporting test scores.  You can certainly eliminate a lot of this depending on schools, and some people live in states with inexpensive dual enrollment options which could be used in lieu of AP exams.  We don't live in one of those states, so that option is cost prohibitive for us.

 

The only reason for doing this with my kids is based on their list of prospective schools AND their ability to do these things without sacrificing downtime, personal interests and extracurriculars. I would never do this at the expense of my children's well-being nor require them to pursue this track.  At some point, this type of course work and testing is their call because it's their life.   Every kid is different.

 

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Math 1 covers less material, but the curve is absolutely brutal. Math 2 covers more material, but the curve is more forgiving.

I would recommend to delay the math subject test until the student had precalculus and then take math 2.

 

Your opinion about the Lit one matches our experience. DD walked in with no prep other than the one practice test in the blue book and got an 800; she found it very easy. We had not done a formal literature or English program in our homeschool; she had read widely and read through the Essential Literary Terms book (but really just read it briefly, not done any of the exercises.)

 

ETA: as for outside validation: DD had SAT2s in math, physics, literature and German, college credit in English, French and physics, and no outside validation whatsoever for history, chemistry, biology and electives.

In our experience it is entirely sufficient to have some outside validation, but not necessarily in all subjects; if the test scores are generally in line with the mommy grades, nobody will question the remaining subjects.

 

That's because I formed my opinion after reading one of your posts!  :lol:

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 You can certainly eliminate a lot of this depending on schools, and some people live in states with inexpensive dual enrollment options which could be used in lieu of AP exams.  We don't live in one of those states, so that option is cost prohibitive for us.

 

If you have a child interested in a lottery school, I have been told by more than one college coach that the schools would like to see an AP score even if the class was taken at a community college or four year university. 

 

WTM member Muttichen has also discussed this in a few threads.  She has her kids take the AP exams even though they took the class as a dual enrolled student.

 

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How much validation is required is really a function of the school you are applying to.  If tippy-top schools are on the radar, I would validate as much as possible.  Some people are offended by certain schools' requirements, and I certainly don't disagree that home-schoolers are sometimes forced to jump through many more hoops (on some level, it gets ridiculous).  At the same time, if it's a school my children are interested in, they have to do it. And I want them to do it well before deadline time.

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If you have a child interested in a lottery school, I have been told by more than one college coach that the schools would like to see an AP score even if the class was taken at a community college or four year university. 

 

WTM member Muttichen has also discussed this in a few threads.  She has her kids take the AP exams even though they took the class as a dual enrolled student.

 

 

Yes, I was basically told that DD should take AP exams because that is what selective schools want to see, more than DE/CC courses.  Thankfully, they are less expensive, DC can self-study for many of them. :)

 

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Our experience is that 4 yr university DE credits are perfectly acceptable. I would call an admission's office before I would bother having a student take an AP exam after a 4 yr university course. Also, those of us outside of CA probably cannot realistically give you advice regarding CCs. Ours have been pitiful everywhere we have lived. CA's CC system seems to be different. I would seek info on your particular CC.

 

Fwiw, I am not sure why a student wouldn't take 3 subject tests on a given day?? Our dd will be taking 3 in June. ;)

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My plan, just so you know, is to follow you around the board and listen in. :D

 

Yup, mine too.

 

I'm in PA, so our strict reporting standards sometimes mean colleges don't want the same documentation as for kids from other states. I'm not worrying about subject tests yet, but I am thinking about general test strategy prep in the next few years.

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Our experience is that 4 yr university DE credits are perfectly acceptable. I would call an admission's office before I would bother having a student take an AP exam after a 4 yr university course.

 

That was our experience as well. I explained in the school profile why we chose to use university classes over AP courses.

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Our experience is that 4 yr university DE credits are perfectly acceptable. I would call an admission's office before I would bother having a student take an AP exam after a 4 yr university course. Also, those of us outside of CA probably cannot realistically give you advice regarding CCs. Ours have been pitiful everywhere we have lived. CA's CC system seems to be different. I would seek info on your particular CC.

 

Fwiw, I am not sure why a student wouldn't take 3 subject tests on a given day?? Our dd will be taking 3 in June. ;)

 

It's just an idea I picked up from reading other threads - but that's why I started this one, to gather experience from different folks who have BTDT.  Good luck to your dd!  I will be interested to hear what she thinks of the tests she takes.

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Our experience is that 4 yr university DE credits are perfectly acceptable. I would call an admission's office before I would bother having a student take an AP exam after a 4 yr university course.

 

This is going to be true at the vast majority of schools.  However, for an Ivy League school, it would be a very good idea to take the AP exam even if you took the class at a 4 yr university.  In my experience, an admissions office is not very helpful in answering these types of questions.  College coaches have been much more forthcoming in their advice.

 

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Please continue pointing out strategies that are effective for different levels of schools - it's very helpful!  At this point, I don't think this dd will be interested in an Ivy League, but she's only 12, so who knows.  If she were picking a college today, she'd pick a small LAC where she can spend a lot of time outdoors, ride horses, and act in college theatrical productions.  That would be a great fit for the person she is today - but in 5 years, a lot could change!  So it's good for me to be aware of the different options and ramifications thereof.

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Fwiw, I am not sure why a student wouldn't take 3 subject tests on a given day?? Our dd will be taking 3 in June. ;)

 

For some kids it is a timing issue in terms of juggling numerous other responsibilities.  Carving out time to do some prep for the test format itself has to be worked into busy schedules.  Kids have varying responsibilities as well as varying expectations for their performance, so it's finding what works for each student and going with it.

 

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Fwiw, I am not sure why a student wouldn't take 3 subject tests on a given day?? Our dd will be taking 3 in June. ;)

 

We abandoned the plan due to the immense amount of prep work that would have been necessary to do well on the third test.

I can see doing three tests for a student who is so well versed in the subjects that little targeted test prep is necessary (like foreign languages the student is fluent in).

Cramming for the math and two science tests OTOH? Much more difficult, especially if the student did not just freshly finish these very same courses.

And then, doing three tests in one sitting is simply stressful, and students who don't test well may prefer to spread it out.

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I guess I don't see the subject tests as cramming, but more of being well-versed in the content means being prepared.  I don't think ds did any prep at all for chem or math.  Latin, otoh, was systematically studied with the NLE and the subject test in mind.

 

Likewise, dd will be taking math, French, and Latin.  She is taking a similar approach.

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I guess I don't see the subject tests as cramming, but more of being well-versed in the content means being prepared.  I don't think ds did any prep at all for chem or math.  Latin, otoh, was systematically studied with the NLE and the subject test in mind.

 

Likewise, dd will be taking math, French, and Latin.  She is taking a similar approach.

 

My view on the tests differs considerably.

We found that the math test definitely required very specific studying of material that was at one point covered during the regular course, but is not used in subsequent math or in math applications in science and will normally be forgotten. Honestly, all those theorems about polynomial roots are not something one remembers unless specifically reviewing for the test. DH and I made it through grad school as a theoretical physicists without ever encountering some of those things (for example the rational root theorem) that are on the math 2 test.

 

DD took the physics SAT2 for the first time after having aced a two semester algebra based college physics course and working as a tutor for this course at the university for another year, so I would consider her well versed in the subject matter. However, her class was not aligned with the test material and there was a time lapse of one year between class and the test, and despite reviewing she did not get a high enough score.

She retook it immediately after her second physics course (and did very well).

 

As for chemistry, I found the type of questioning very specific and extremely detailed; we gave up half way into our course any notion of attempting the subject test. It would definitely have taken DD a lot of targeted practice on top of the concept mastery.

 

ETA: Just want to add for others: timing the tests right is a huge factor for success. I recommend that the student take the math subject test immediately upon completion of precalculus, and any science test immediately upon completing the course. Taking it a year later increased the prep time considerably.

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My view on the tests differs considerably.

We found that the math test definitely required very specific studying of material that was at one point covered during the regular course, but is not used in subsequent math or in math applications in science and will normally be forgotten. Honestly, all those theorems about polynomial roots are not something one remembers unless specifically reviewing for the test. DH and I made it through grad school as a theoretical physicists without ever encountering some of those things (for example the rational root theorem) that are on the math 2 test.

 

DD took the physics SAT2 for the first time after having aced a two semester algebra based college physics course and working as a tutor for this course at the university for another year, so I would consider her well versed in the subject matter. However, her class was not aligned with the test material and there was a time lapse of one year between class and the test, and despite reviewing she did not get a high enough score.

She retook it immediately after her second physics course.

 

As for chemistry, I found the type of questioning very specific and extremely detailed; we gave up half way into our course any notion of attempting the subject test. It would definitely have taken DD a lot of targeted practice on top of the concept mastery.

 

ETA: Just want to add for others: timing the tests right is a huge factor for success. I recommend that the student take the math subject test immediately upon completion of precalculus, and any science test immediately upon completing the course. Taking it a year later increased the prep time considerably.

 

The timing is a big issue.  My daughter spent time prepping for Latin for this reason because of all the minutiae she was distanced from having been doing translation, analysis and writing for a year. In addition, she is very much a global, conceptual learner, so essay exams are much easier than "detail" tests.  Based on your advice and Kathy in Richmond's advice, she plans to take Chem immediately before or after (May or June) AP Chem.  She has yet to take Physics because she hasn't studied it for a while and knows she'll have to review her materials.

 

All of this is why giving advice gets tough.  What works for one kind of student or learner is different than others.  Some have a much easier time with detail tests and others with conceptual, essay type tests.   If we could afford it, my daughter would prefer to take uni classes and avoid the whole added issue of prepping for a specific test format in addition to mastering the content, which really should be the point IMO.   In any case, it really is best to figure out what works for each student so that she can accurately reflect her abilities. For some people, their tremendous ability is not accurately reflected through these types of tests. 

 

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I can't tell you what ds thought bc I had nothing to do with any of it. He took the chem right after the AP chem exam. ChemAdvantage provided test prep and study for the AP. I suspect the AP and the subject test are more aligned than the college course. The math test I don't think he even thought twice about. I think he ran through a practice test in the test prep book.

 

He never took the physics test. Seemed sort of a waste of time bc of how many physics courses he had.

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This whole discussion illustrates what is so frustrating about this kind of testing requirement.  The idea that a kid could already be succeeding in college level classes (4 year college, not bad cc) and still not feel confident about one of these tests without intensive focused study seems ridiculous to me.  What is it meant to show, then, that you are good at studying for tests?  I'd feel differently if a student could expect to master a reasonable set of information and then take a test that would reflect their level of mastery, but that's not what I"m hearing about these tests.  

 

It's frustrating to contemplate, and gets back to the whole issue of to what extent test prep affects (derails?) what you plan to do for high school.  8, I know it doesn't for you.  And for others, I guess it boils down to what level of school you are trying to prepare your kids for?  At some point, if you decide not to jump through all these hoops, are you making a decision to rule out the tippy-top schools?  If so, I guess I'm ok with that.

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My kids took lots of SAT 2's since we didn't outsource many subjects &  they needed the outside verification. I did the practice tests right alongside them, and so I got a pretty good feel for what's involved in scoring well. 

 

We tried to schedule just one test per day when possible & spread them out. The exceptions were when my son doubled up and took math2 and physics on the same day; my daughter took Latin and literature together. But in each case those were their strong subjects, & they paired well together.

 

You can be really well prepared from years of study & still get tired out from answering what is essentially one question per minute for an hour per exam. Exams like Latin or chemistry really stretch me to the limit with the amount of detailed knowledge required. I know those subjects fairly well, but I still get exhausted working out the practice exams, and I definitely need a break when done with one!

 

Back in the day, I had to take all three of my subject tests together (they were called Achievement tests then), but we didn't have any choice in the matter. SATs were administered once per year where I lived, and everyone took SAT2s in the fall of senior year. But back then there also wasn't a test prep book industry, so everyone was more equal in some sense. Today so many kids are super well prepared that it's tougher to shine.

 

Gratia271 makes a good point. What's easy for one kid won't necessarily be easy for the next. Some kids like my son can waltz into physics & math2 without studying and find them easy. He wouldn't have done that in literature, but my daughter did. Both of them had to study a bit for chemistry, but taking it simultaneously with AP chem helped a lot. They both reviewed for Latin. The SAT2 foreign languages require both an extremely good memory for the teensiest bits of grammar and syntax while also requiring terrific sight reading ability. Not easy at all. I wouldn't take the Latin exam until the student is comfortable with the Level 3/4 NLE tests (and as Gratia mentioned, there are plenty of free copies online for practice).

 

My son also took US History & had to study extensively because he hadn't touched the subject in three years. He had one university where he was competing for a scholarship that required a test in each area; not fun! Thankfully, things have improved overall for homeschoolers since then (2005).

 

My daughter had no testing of any sort in history when applying to college. I think it's perfectly OK to omit testing in one subject like that for any level of college, as long as you haven't avoided all humanities/social science or all math/science testing.

 

Get a copy of the official SAT subject test book & have your student take a practice test beforehand so you'll know what sort of score range to expect. You can also be flexible on testing day. Even if you've paid for three exams, they won't make you take them all. You can leave at any point (& I think get a partial refund toward future testing). Or, you can sign up for one test & add another test or two that morning if all goes well. You just stay in the room and keep on testing. That's what my daughter did when she took Latin & Lit. They just bill you later for the extra test.

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For those thinking of taking SAT II's, Sparknotes online has a free resource that lists the topics covered for each subject test and provides problem sets for each topic.

 

For those thinking of taking the Chemistry SAT II, I would highly recommend taking the AP Chemistry class with ChemAdvantage (you can sign up directly through his website or via PA Homeschoolers).  The class is outstanding and includes built-in test prep, not only for the AP exam, but also for the Chemistry SAT II. 

 

The Chemistry SAT II exam has a "weird" series of True/False questions and it would be a very good idea to have some experience answering those questions prior to the exam and your child will get that experience with the ChemAdvantage class.

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It's frustrating to contemplate, and gets back to the whole issue of to what extent test prep affects (derails?) what you plan to do for high school. 

 

Well, as onerous as the test prep was, it did NOT affect my choice of high school curriculum! We first decided what to study and with what materials, and then tried to figure out how to satisfy the testing requirements.

I would not let standardized testing dictate what to plan for high school.

 

 

 

And for others, I guess it boils down to what level of school you are trying to prepare your kids for?  At some point, if you decide not to jump through all these hoops, are you making a decision to rule out the tippy-top schools?  If so, I guess I'm ok with that.

 

I would be inclined to say yes, it would rule out those extremely selective top tier schools.

Which is why I won't stress about tests with DS, because he is not the kind of student who is aspiring to such a school - and he would not be a good fit. We jumped through the hoops with DD, because she is highly gifted and extremely ambitious and greatly benefits from attending a school of this caliber, but is also able to be successful at such a school (her coursework is significantly harder than what we teach at the public  four year STEM university). Such a school would be a disaster for DS who is equally intelligent, but not nearly as driven for academics.

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For those thinking of taking the Chemistry SAT II, I would highly recommend taking the AP Chemistry class with ChemAdvantage (you can sign up directly through his website or via PA Homeschoolers). The class is outstanding and includes built-in test prep, not only for the AP exam, but also for the Chemistry SAT II.

 

The Chemistry SAT II exam has a "weird" series of True/False questions and it would be a very good idea to have some experience answering those questions prior to the exam and your child will get that experience with the ChemAdvantage class.

LOL! Guess that is why ds didn't feel like he needed to prep for the chem test. :)

 

Latin, OTOH, was definitely a test he prepped for systematically.

 

Fwiw I don't think anyone can base how to prep or how they will do based on another student.

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This whole discussion illustrates what is so frustrating about this kind of testing requirement. The idea that a kid could already be succeeding in college level classes (4 year college, not bad cc) and still not feel confident about one of these tests without intensive focused study seems ridiculous to me. What is it meant to show, then, that you are good at studying for tests? I'd feel differently if a student could expect to master a reasonable set of information and then take a test that would reflect their level of mastery, but that's not what I"m hearing about these tests.

 

It's frustrating to contemplate, and gets back to the whole issue of to what extent test prep affects (derails?) what you plan to do for high school. 8, I know it doesn't for you. And for others, I guess it boils down to what level of school you are trying to prepare your kids for? At some point, if you decide not to jump through all these hoops, are you making a decision to rule out the tippy-top schools? If so, I guess I'm ok with that.

Exactly. If a university insisted, for example, that multiple upper level physics courses with a 4.0 and LOR from those professors were not enough validation of his physics background and that an AP or subject test was necessary, I would have encouraged him to apply elsewhere and not just bc it was a hoop, but bc it would represent a philosophy that irks me to the core.

 

But, honestly, I don't really see that scenario existing. My POV is more along the lines of apply and see what happens. Fwiw, my kids don't have dream schools that they have their hearts set on. Our approach is far more pragmatic bc we can't afford our EFC at top schools anyway. Schools outside the top are pretty easy to apply and get accepted, so unless you are solely aiming for the top, the stress for meeting all their admission criteria is really not necessary.

 

It is one of the reasons dd has decided to drop science. She doesn't want to take it and she has decided that she is not getting on the "stress wagon." She knows what she is capable of achieving and wants to go where she will be desired for the strong student she is vs. wondering if she can be that small margin better than all the other strong applicants. She said it isn't a goal she has and what happens happens. I'm ok with that. State schools and lower ranked schools are perfectly fine with me......as long as they fit our budget. ;)

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Some strategy may pertain to where testing centers are available to you. If you are traveling far that could change how you deal with the number of tests that get done at a time, or if you have a child who gets tired from testing easily vs. a child who gets warmed up in the first tests and hits a performance peak later on. Also what is available near you for AP tests if you want to do them, could impact what you choose. And whether your daughters would do better on multiple choice (SAT2) vs. essay (AP) type testing. If she is trying for UC Berkeley, I'd say you need to handle that nearly like trying for an Ivy.

 

I would say if a child can do Math 2, to do that one.  If not, then level 1. If a foreign lang is needed, then doing a foreign language can show "proficiency" (as far as college is concerned, not necessarily real life), and take care of one of the required SAT2s. Choosing a third one to have as "extra" could be a good idea.

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Our SAT subject test experience:  first daughter did not do any subject tests; she was admitted to a few semi-selective colleges with decent aid.  However, the absence of the subject tests probably kept her out of a couple schools she might have enjoyed.

 

Daughter #2 has taken four subject tests, two freshman year and two sophomore year.  Unlikely that she will take more. 

 

Math 2 (she got 750) was done upon completion of Derek Owens pre-calc class (she did the Honors option. Her previous math classes were Teaching Textbook.)  She did prep from an additional prep book prior to the test, just to be sure there were no "holes" (she did this for all the subject tests.)

 

Physics (730) was done following the completion of the Apologia program, supplemented by a live local lab class (designed to coordinate with Apologia.)  Chemistry (740) was also done following the Apologia/live local lab combo.  I suppose an AP class would help, but not necessary, in our experience.

 

World History (750) was done following an audit (meaning she got the class content, but no teacher interaction) of an AP World History class by AP Homeschoolers.  There turned out to be no local option for the AP exam, so she decided to do the SAT subject test.

 

Our goals with the subject tests was for possible college admission requirement, but also to validate the "Mom grades" on the transcript.  

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Your opinion about the Lit one matches our experience. DD walked in with no prep other than the one practice test in the blue book and got an 800; she found it very easy. We had not done a formal literature or English program in our homeschool; she had read widely and read through the Essential Literary Terms book (but really just read it briefly, not done any of the exercises.)

 

 

Can someone please provide the ISBN number to the Essential Literary Terms book?  Thank You!

 

 

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Some colleges that require Subject Tests specify which tests must be taken.  If you have a child going into STEM, many of these colleges request a math and science subject test scores.  While some of these schools that require a math and science subject test don't have a preference (MIT for example), other schools will only accept the Math Level II Subject Test and either the Physics or Chemistry Subject Test.  Calculators are not permitted on the science SAT II's, and formulas are not provided.

 

Schools that require SAT II's will not accept AP scores or community college/4-year college grades in lieu of the SAT II's.

 

My oldest took the Math Level II SAT II after the completion of pre-calc, the Physics SAT II after AP Physics B (which no longer exists), and the Chemistry SAT II after taking AP Chemistry. 

 

In my limited experience with my son going through the application process this year, he had outside validation in all subject areas with the exception of history.  Not having any outside validation in history did not hurt him at all.

 

I am trying to wrap my brain around the part in bold.  We are developing Sailor Dude's list of schools and their requirements. There are a couple that definitely want SAT II's.  They will also give credit for AP exams with scores of 4 and 5, depending on the major.

 

So, if Sailor Dude ends up with the following AP exams:

 

AP English Literature

AP US History

AP Spanish

AP Physics C

AP Statistics

 

the university will still want to see that he is competent in those subjects by providing the SAT II's in say, Literature, Spanish, and US History?  Somewhere I thought I saw one way reach school possibly asking for a SAT II for "each area" for homeschoolers. This means the lit test, a language test, Math 2, a science, and a history?

 

Oh.my. goodness. Now that I am at work in earnest on the college stuff, my sense of outrage is getting a real workout on all fronts.

 

How do you long-time homeschoolers, you rebels with a cause, cope with this    uh   er  "stuff?"  Yeah. We'll use "stuff."

 

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I am trying to wrap my brain around the part in bold.  We are developing Sailor Dude's list of schools and their requirements. There are a couple that definitely want SAT II's.  They will also give credit for AP exams with scores of 4 and 5, depending on the major.

 

So, if Sailor Dude ends up with the following AP exams:

 

AP English Literature

AP US History

AP Spanish

AP Physics C

AP Statistics

 

the university will still want to see that he is competent in those subjects by providing the SAT II's in say, Literature, Spanish, and US History?  Somewhere I thought I saw one way reach school possibly asking for a SAT II for "each area" for homeschoolers. This means the lit test, a language test, Math 2, a science, and a history?

 

Oh.my. goodness. Now that I am at work in earnest on the college stuff, my sense of outrage is getting a real workout on all fronts.

 

How do you long-time homeschoolers, you rebels with a cause, cope with this    uh   er  "stuff?"  Yeah. We'll use "stuff."

 

What I meant by the sentence that was bolded in your reply is that if a college requires a SAT II Science score, they will not accept a science AP score in lieu of the SAT II exam. 

 

Most colleges that require SAT II's require two or at the most three tests for every applicant.  There a some college out there that do require more Subject Tests for homeschoolers, but we crossed those ones immediately off the list.

 

You don't need to have outside validation for every content area even if you are applying to a highly selective school.  The ACT/SAT and the required SAT II's (usually two) will be sufficient.

 

However, most kids applying to the highly selective schools will also have AP scores as well, but your son definitely has that covered.

 

 

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What I meant by the sentence that was bolded in your reply is that if a college requires a SAT II Science score, they will not accept a science AP score in lieu of the SAT II exam. 

 

Most colleges that require SAT II's require two or at the most three tests for every applicant.  There a some college out there that do require more Subject Tests for homeschoolers, but we crossed those ones immediately off the list.

 

You don't need to have outside validation for every content area even if you are applying to a highly selective school.  The ACT/SAT and the required SAT II's (usually two) will be sufficient.

 

However, most kids applying to the highly selective schools will also have AP scores as well, but your son definitely has that covered.

 

 

No, I understood what you meant. I am just thinking it's a bit crazy that if a student has a 5 on the AP Biology exam, does having the SAT II Biology test results really tell the school that much more information?  I know it is good business for the College Board.

 

 

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I just reread the 1st post.

 

I assume, btw, that you looked to see if there are any specific required SAT2s for the colleges you are considering? UofO requires math to be one of them, for example.

 

I'd also suggest having your dd take whichever few she can do best on, not avoiding a test in an area that she has had in CC if that is one that she can do well on.

 

That is, I'd not make it an either take a test OR do a CC course in a subject, at least not for SAT2s.  If colleges she is applying to accept either AP or CC for college placement purposes, then choosing either or could make sense for that.

 

In our case, I went to a non-graded alternative sort of high school where test scores (as with homeschool) counted for a lot, and will tend to follow the same approach with my ds. There won't probably be any mommy grades to validate because I don't plan to give grades.

 

If you care about validating your AP Environmental Science with an AP exam, have you checked to see if it tends to be given in your area?  You may have easier access to big city where all APs are available, but I was surprised to find that only a handful tend to be available within an hour  drive from us.

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In our case, I went to a non-graded alternative sort of high school where test scores (as with homeschool) counted for a lot, and will tend to follow the same approach with my ds. There won't probably be any mommy grades to validate because I don't plan to give grades.

 

How does this work? How do you not give grades? Do you mean the classes will be outsourced, or is there a commonly accepted way to leave grades off the transcript?

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In our case, I went to a non-graded alternative sort of high school where test scores (as with homeschool) counted for a lot, and will tend to follow the same approach with my ds. There won't probably be any mommy grades to validate because I don't plan to give grades.

I planned on using this same approach, too.  However, there are some colleges that base merit awards on both test scores and letter grades, and I ended up assigning grades. 

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I planned on using this same approach, too.  However, there are some colleges that base merit awards on both test scores and letter grades, and I ended up assigning grades. 

 

 

Ah.  Thank you, I didn't know that. How do you find that out about a college that may be of interest?

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How does this work? How do you not give grades? Do you mean the classes will be outsourced, or is there a commonly accepted way to leave grades off the transcript?

 

 

Aside from snowbeltmom's post which may have me rethink this, how it worked for my own situation was that there was a transcript of courses and written comments on attainment rather than grades.  I actually was in two high schools: the first gave grades, the second did not. I strongly preferred to learn/study and learned better when not under grade pressure. So I'd like to have that possible for ds as well.

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Ah.  Thank you, I didn't know that. How do you find that out about a college that may be of interest?

 

Some colleges post their criteria for merit awards on their websites.  There are usually ranges listed for both standardized test scores and gpa that the student must meet in order to qualify for the award.

 

There are also other entities that require that letter grades be listed on the transcript - the NCAA Eligibility Center and the National Merit Corporation are two that I am aware of.

 

 

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Aside from snowbeltmom's post which may have me rethink this, how it worked for my own situation was that there was a transcript of courses and written comments on attainment rather than grades.  I actually was in two high schools: the first gave grades, the second did not. I strongly preferred to learn/study and learned better when not under grade pressure. So I'd like to have that possible for ds as well.

I agree with the bolded and believe that many times, grades are a detrement to meaningful learning.  Fwiw, absolutely nothing in our homeschooling day changed when I decided to assign grades.  I simply added a blurb to my homeschool profile that stated that the kids work to mastery.

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At this point, the only AP I'm considering is Environmental Science, as we'll be doing a robust class at home.  Since college we are looking at ask for SAT2s, I don't see a benefit to trying to do both (and she will have CC classes).  Am I missing something with this logic?  My assumption is that we need some outside verification in each subject area, but we don't need AP, SAT2, and a college class for the same subject - one of those in each subject area would be sufficient.  Any flaws with this assumption?

 

 

It depends on goals. I agree that you do not need outside verification of everything.  

 

You have a first primary goal of showing her to be a suitable candidate for a suitable college. (That is, one does not want to falsely build up a student on paper for somewhere that she cannot do well at, but also does not want to fail to properly show attainments needed to help the student get into somewhere that would be a good fit. If that makes sense.) 

 

You have a possible secondary goal of actually getting her advanced placement in certain subjects so that she does not need to take the beginning level class, or can place out of a required subject, or even get sophomore standing coming in.

 

As subgoals to the primary goal, you would probably either trying to be showing her to be a quite strong candidate across the board. Or you would be trying to show her to be an amazing outstanding student in some particular area, with reasonable lesser attainments in other areas.  Some of this depends on whether you/she are aiming for a general liberal arts college versus a specialty school or program. That is, aiming for Cal Tech or Cal Arts (specialty schools) may need a transcript and choice of tests different than aiming for UC Santa Cruz (general).  ETA: But she could be going into a more general school, but still having a more specialty based transcript, extracurricular, and test profile.

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Yeah, Pen, good point about choosing a SAT-2 in a strength area, rather than just to represent across-the-disciplines validation.  I will definitely factor that into our decisions.

 

I think I mostly have goal 1 above - if the second were to become a goal, that can easily be met by taking more classes at the CC, or even getting her AA at the CC.  We aren't looking to do APs to get college credit/avoid intro college classes, we are really just looking at testing that is 1) required, as with the UCs, or 2) to validate mommy grades.  

 

Although I'm with you and snowbeltmom on the grades, too - we work to mastery, here, so grades are not going to be a useful reflection of effort/achievement.  When dh was a student at UC Santa Cruz, they still did portfolio grading, although I think I've heard that they may have changed that, at least in some departments.  I'd like to do some form of portfolio/narrative grading for our homeschool classes and have grades only in outsourced/DE classes, myself.

 

So I should say "mommy evaluations" rather than "mommy grades" I guess.

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Yeah, Pen, good point about choosing a SAT-2 in a strength area, rather than just to represent across-the-disciplines validation.  I will definitely factor that into our decisions.

 

I think I mostly have goal 1 above - if the second were to become a goal, that can easily be met by taking more classes at the CC, or even getting her AA at the CC.  We aren't looking to do APs to get college credit/avoid intro college classes, we are really just looking at testing that is 1) required, as with the UCs, or 2) to validate mommy grades.  

 

Although I'm with you and snowbeltmom on the grades, too - we work to mastery, here, so grades are not going to be a useful reflection of effort/achievement.  When dh was a student at UC Santa Cruz, they still did portfolio grading, although I think I've heard that they may have changed that, at least in some departments.  I'd like to do some form of portfolio/narrative grading for our homeschool classes and have grades only in outsourced/DE classes, myself.

 

So I should say "mommy evaluations" rather than "mommy grades" I guess.

 

Then, personally, IMO, after fulfilling what the schools' specific testing requirements are, I'd go with what works according to her strengths (both as to subject and also if she does better with multiple choice type SAT2 or essay type AP tests) and also depending on what good CC classes are available to her.  And if you are going for  goal 1, general, then I'd try for something or other to validate, not so much each subject, but general subject areas (like one something from each general area as a CC class, AP and/or SAT2: 1 science, 1 math, 1 language art, 1 social studies, 1 foreign language), plus she'll have plenty of theater arts, I presume.   If she knows she wants to go into a particular area as she gets closer to that point, it might start looking a little more like the specialist, maybe, say, 2 sciences and math, no social studies, for example.

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I am trying to wrap my brain around the part in bold.  We are developing Sailor Dude's list of schools and their requirements. There are a couple that definitely want SAT II's.  They will also give credit for AP exams with scores of 4 and 5, depending on the major.

 

So, if Sailor Dude ends up with the following AP exams:

 

AP English Literature

AP US History

AP Spanish

AP Physics C

AP Statistics

 

the university will still want to see that he is competent in those subjects by providing the SAT II's in say, Literature, Spanish, and US History?  Somewhere I thought I saw one way reach school possibly asking for a SAT II for "each area" for homeschoolers. This means the lit test, a language test, Math 2, a science, and a history?

 

Oh.my. goodness. Now that I am at work in earnest on the college stuff, my sense of outrage is getting a real workout on all fronts.

 

How do you long-time homeschoolers, you rebels with a cause, cope with this    uh   er  "stuff?"  Yeah. We'll use "stuff."

 

 

I agree that SAT IIs seem like overkill if your dc have already taken APs.  I am not trying to defend colleges for requiring or "recommending" them, but here are reasons that I have heard for the double testing whammy:

1.  Not all students have access to AP courses or testing.

2.  SAT IIs test high school level knowledge and are more accessible.

3.  The scoring range is 200-800 vs. 1-5, so there is a wider score range (not sure how to word that).

4.  Most importantly, the CB can make more money by requiring both.

 

That's all I've got.  We're riding the hamster wheel with ds this year and next, & will see what happens.

 

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I agree that SAT IIs seem like overkill if your dc have already taken APs.  I am not trying to defend colleges for requiring or "recommending" them, but here are reasons that I have heard for the double testing whammy:

1.  Not all students have access to AP courses or testing.

2.  SAT IIs test high school level knowledge and are more accessible.

3.  The scoring range is 200-800 vs. 1-5, so there is a wider score range (not sure how to word that).

4.  Most importantly, the CB can make more money by requiring both.

 

That's all I've got.  We're riding the hamster wheel with ds this year and next, & will see what happens.

 

 

Thank you for clarifying this! I've been wondering about it too.

 

Would anyone know the answer to this question...it has been troubling me but I also don't want to post it in a separate thread if that's okay since this thread already has such wonderful SAT2 info for archiving purposes.

 

DS is taking (mostly math and science) courses at the community college and if he wants to take SAT2 after finishing the course (we are basically using community college as high school in *some* subject areas right now), how far apart can the duration of SAT2 and college application be? I'm trying to delay him from early college for as long as I can but also don't want to have a situation where he has to re-take these SAT2 *years* after finishing a relevant course. He will of course prep a little separately as the CC course might not cover everything he needs for the SAT2. He might also self-prep for and take one or two AP exams after one or two CC courses (to show a more standardized quality of work/ rigor since CCs differ in quality) but the two universities he is most keen to apply to require SAT2.

 

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