• January 30, 2015
  • BLOG

AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests


Come spring semester, many parents wonder, “Should my child take AP exams, SAT Subject Tests, or both?” Both tests cover materials taught in the classroom and are used by selective colleges in their admissions process, but there are key differences.

Are the exams required by colleges?

Uses of the AP exams and SAT Subject Tests differ according to each college’s admissions policies, but a few common rules apply. First, selective colleges typically require two SAT Subject Tests, but will allow students to select the subjects of their choice, offering a students a chance to demonstrate areas of academic strength, especially if they are subjects in which a student has indicated an interest in majoring. For some colleges, taking the ACT with writing will satisfy the SAT Subject Test requirement. Second, AP exams, while not required, signal to colleges that a student has availed herself of all of the possible opportunities offered by her high school to challenge herself.

Should my child take the AP exam or SAT Subject Tests even if he might not do well?

Both the AP exams and SAT Subject Tests are important opportunities to demonstrate a student’s mastery of certain academic subjects. Performance on these tests should correlate with achievement in the classroom. Students should not take an AP exam or SAT Subject Test in a subject that does not reflect his academic strength. Moreover, students should not take a test “just to see” without prior preparation. We recommend that a student should take a diagnostic test or two in a particular subject to gauge his performance before committing to take the real test.

When should my child take the exams?

AP Tests are only offered by the College Board during the first half of May, after high school AP courses have mostly concluded. SAT Subject Tests. On the other hand, SAT Subject Tests are offered on most of the same days as the regular SAT (but cannot be taken on the same day as the regular SAT). SAT Subjects Tests are available throughout the year and offer more scheduling flexibility than AP exams. Generally, students should take the tests at the end of academic year after completing the courses in the subjects corresponding to the tests.

For additional information about the AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests, including diagnostic testing, please contact us at info@myivylink.com or 1-888-844-4439.