Since there seems to be a new thread on Math I/II Subject Tests every single day, I decided to post a little guide

on FAQ’s and general information so that these types of threads don’t pop up so much. I. Background Information II. Preparation III. Calculator IV. Practice Tests V. Tips and Tricks VI. Free Resources. I. Background Information 1. What are the SAT II’s/Subject Tests? SAT Subject Tests are multiple choice standardized tests in specific subject areas that most colleges require for admission. They are offered in October, November, December, January, May, and June, though it varies by test. 2. How many subject tests do I have to take and how many can I take at a time? Many colleges require only two, but some (e.g. Harvard and Georgetown) require three. It never hurts though, to take three tests as they can only help you if you achieve decent scores. You may take up to 3 tests at a time. You sign up for specific tests, but you can take any ones you want at the test site. However, if you take more than you signed up for you must pay a fee. Also, don’t take a SAT II if you’re not adept in the field. Kids who are good at their particular subject take the tests, so it’s not like you’re competing against every Joe Shmoe. 3. Which ones should I take? Take them in a variety of fields, but include one that is involved in a field you want to study in. For example, if you plan on majoring in chemistry, take chemistry. Also, some schools like MIT may require specific tests so check their web sites. I would suggest 1 math (preferably math II), 1 humanity (history or literature), and 1 science. If you’re not planning on going into science, you might want to take a language. Keep in mind though that many native speakers take the language tests so the curve is harsher. 4. What are decent scores? For the Ivies and other top caliber schools, 700+ is expected. For less selective schools, mid to high 600’s is decent. Remember that these tests are often required in admission so good scores are necessary!

In my opinion. Don’t buy this book if you’re not looking for an 800. some colleges (like the UC’s) only accept Math II. What level should I take? Unless you haven’t taken Precalculus. it becomes necessary to do some work outside of class to prepare. it also contains one test for every other subject test. and Algebra II/Trigonometry. However.com: The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests (Real Sats): The College Board: Books Another CB guide. However. It also provides a scoring key that allows you to estimate what your score would be like on the real test. and no points for each question left blank. we all know that not everyone gets a good math teacher every year. this book contains one test each for Math I and II. Preparation Obviously the best preparation is a solid foundation in math achieved by taking good math classes in school. What’s the difference between Math I and Math II? Math I covers material from Algebra I. you will want to set aside 2-4 (or more) weeks to prepare.5. You receive one point for each question answered correctly. It provides a thorough and excessive review of . That is to say. Amazon. but it offers 2 released tests in each of Math I and II. You may miss one or two questions on Math I and automatically get bumped down to a 790. What are the math subject tests like? Each one consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes. II. Real tests are indispensable! Amazon. The questions increase in difficulty as the test progresses. Amazon. it’s in your best interest to take Math II.com: Barron's SAT Subject Test Math Level 2 2008 (Barron's How to Prepare for the Sat II Mathematics.. Level Iic): Richard Ku M. so you can use this book for future SAT Subject Tests. It does not contain any substantial review material (lessons). 6. Thus. Depending on your proficiency level. you can achieve a score of 43/50 (though it varies year by year) on Math II and still get an 800. Dodge: Books Barron’s Math II is notorious for being MUCH more difficult than the actual Math II test. In addition.A. 7. Math II covers all of the material from Math I as well as Precalculus. lose 1/4 of a point for each question answered incorrectly. Howard P. but it has an easier curve.com: The Official SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics Levels 1 & 2 Study Guide (Official Sat Subject Tests in Mathematics Levels 1 & 2 Study Guide): The College Board: Books This is the official College Board study guide for Math I and II. Math II covers more material. Geometry. the best way to prepare is to take and review as many practice tests as possible. I will list various books that will assist you on the path to 800.

Clues like decimal answer choices will tip you off that a calculator is needed. “must have 800” and “don’t have to have 800 but want a good score Must Have 800 . I also suggest using Sparknotes (www. You’d be a fool to take the test without a calculator. Amazon.Official CB Guides III. You won’t need anything more for high school math. it may not be enough for 800. Amazon. While it may be clearer and more concise than Barron’s. which I’ll discuss later.the material and 6 (overly hard) practice tests. This book covers both Math I and II.PR (for practice tests and review) Both . The test makers have a way of tricking people into thinking that a calculator is needed for every problem. Like Barron’s. this book has 15 practice tests for you to work through. it is harder than the real test. but will prepare you well. you fall into two categories.com: 15 Realistic Tests for the SAT Math Level 2: With Solutions: Rusen Meylani: Books The “RUSH” book. However.com: Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator: Electronics . 2007-2008 Edition (College Test Prep): Princeton Review: Books Princeton Review is your best option if you are taking Math I or if an 800 is really not that important to you. It’s a great calculator and very easy to use. Calculator A calculator is allowed for both Math I and II. I’ve heard of people getting 600’s on the practice tests who ended up with 800.sparknotes.Barron’s (if you need to review the material) . Another “don’t buy if you don’t want 800” book.com: Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Silver Edition Graphing Calculator: Electronics I personally use the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. Amazon.RUSH (if you don’t need to review) Don’t Have to Have 800 . Amazon.com: Cracking the SAT Math 1 and 2 Subject Tests. it is often simpler and faster not to use one for certain problems. In general. I recommend using a graphing calculator as it makes the problems easier and simply because I can’t stand scientific ones.com).

here’s how your calculator can do it 1. You should have something like stdDev({1. have your parent time you. Took practice test and calculated score 2. buy it. If you can. 2nd (. It’s much easier to go over the time limit if you’re timing yourself. Yes. but if your school lets you use this. V. 2nd STAT 2. you didn’t know a complex concept. you won’t have taken stats by the time you decide to take Math II. Tips and Tricks I would like to emphasize again that it is in your best interest to take Math II. These apply for the TI 84 but you could probably do them on an 83 too. There’s sometimes one question on Math II that asks you to determine the SD of a set of numbers. that’s not an exact definition. but if you’re like me. Standard Deviation: SD is a method in statistics to determine how “spread out” a set of values are. You want time to prepare in between so you can notice a difference in your scores. Don’t take 3 in the same day. CB’s method of solving may be better or more efficient than mine. ) 7. that’s OK. 3}) . It’s not necessary to do well on Math I and II. USE THAT! If you’re getting a question wrong that 89% of other students did too.The TI-89 is a very powerful calculator used in upper levels of math and science. if 95% of kids got it right and you didn’t. Read over ALL the explanations to the answers. Stupid mistake? Make sure never to make it again. there weren’t a lot of those. Rather than arduously calculate it and likely make a mistake. 2. select stdDev ( 3. but set aside a quiet hour when your little sister isn’t screaming or parents aren’t yelling at you to mow the lawn. Practice Tests So how do you take practice tests? This is clichéd. 3. Sit at a clear desk and plan on not getting up for an hour. Under MATH. Most of the tips I list here apply for math II. Thankfully. even the ones I got right. The things you can do on it are numerous. which makes a { 4. space out your practice tests. Review that sheet before each practice test CB also provides a table that shows what percentage of students got a question right. 2nd ) 6. Lastly. However. 4. What I did was this 1. IV. Type in the numbers of your set separated by commas 5. Write down on a separate sheet of paper each problem I got wrong and why. there’s something wrong.

6. Plus. You should now have det([A]) 13. [A] 4. with x and y values. but see if it’s quadratic or cubic or exponential or whatever. Enter One other basic fact you should know: multiplying a set of numbers by a common value changes the SD but adding or subtracting a number from all of them won’t change the SD. 1 enter.” Chances are this wasn’t taught in school. the equation is calculated to be ………….” These are the classic “using a least squares linear regression. calculate this or that. Go to EDIT 3. 2nd 1 comma 2nd 2 . 2nd 1 6. 9} ◊ L1 7. To calculate the determinant: 1. but it takes awhile. 6. 2nd x^-1 10. 2nd ) 4. Usually this problem will be given in the form of a table. 2nd MODE 7. For example. Under CALC. Enter. What you’re doing here is storing values to a list. 2nd x^-1 8. 5 enter. It’s usually linear. with 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 matrices. select [A] 11. but it could be the difference between 790 and 800. select det( 9. Cramer’s rule takes too long and you’ll make a mistake. 2nd ( 2. For example. 2nd x^-1 (the button right under MATH) 2. Enter This process seems tedious. ) 12. STO > 5.8. Adjust for the size of your matrix. 1. select what type of regression they ask for. entering the y values in and store them in L2 (2nd 2) 9. 11. Under NAMES. Matrices: Again. Under MATH. if the matrix had 4 rows and 4 columns. but it becomes faster as you practice. You should now have something like {1. Enter the x values separated by commas 3. 5. That’s not a lot. Repeat. This can be done by hand. but I figured out how to do it on the calculator. Select the first matrix. you would type 4 enter 4. STAT 10. 8. Type in the coefficients for the matrix. Regression: This is a method to extrapolate new values based on old ones. etc. ( 12. one or two questions might ask you about the determinant of matrices. CB even explains answers to these types of questions like “using a calculator.

you would substitute 8 for x and get 8*8 + 18. If not.“Group” Problems Again. Enter 16. night before). consider taking the test the next month. but you want to squeeze as many points out as you can. Free Resources If you’re out of cash. Look back to the question. You should now have LinReg(ax + b) (L1. take a timed practice test and read all of the answers and explanations. You may ask why you should learn how to do all this stuff when it seems tedious and easier just to study other stuff. You can read through all the lessons.Probability . Then your calculator will give you that answer. You want as many questions right as possible because in math it is so easy to make a mistake. or for whatever reason you can’t get a book.” So if your equation were y = 8x + 18. VI. A good 3-5 of the harder questions may be on this material. It will ask something like “how many bugs are in the colony after 8 hours of whatever.Sets and Unions . ) 14. it’s the night before the test.g. learn these topics .13. In addition.Permutations and Combinations . L2) but the first part will depend on the type of regression you’re doing 15. They are very accurate but your eyes might hurt after staring at the computer for an hour. The calculator will display an equation like y = ax + b and will list the a and b values. If you’re a decent math student and/or are pressed for time. you can create a free account and take any of its 5 practice tests each for math I and II online. If you’re REALLY pressed for time (e. . they don’t show up a lot. go to SparkNotes: SAT Subject Test: Math Level 1: SparkNotes: SAT Subject Test: Math Level 1 SparkNotes: SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2: SparkNotes: SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2 Sparknotes has its entire Math I and II books online.

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