SAT Subject Test in Chemistry

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The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry is a one-hour multiple choice test given on chemistry by The College Board. A student chooses whether to take the test depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools in which the student is planning to apply. Until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests; until January 2005, they were known as SAT IIs; they are still well known by the latter name.

Format[edit]

This test consists of 85 questions. The first 23 questions numbered 1-23 are 'classification questions'. The next 15 questions, numbered 101-115, are called 'relationship analysis questions'. The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry is currently the only SAT that incorporates the relationship analysis questions. Relationship Analysis Questions require the student to identify the truth value of two statements. If both statements are true, the student will then have to analyze the relationship between the two statements to see if the second statement correctly explains the first statement. The last 47 questions numbered 24-70 are standard multiple choice questions. The Metric System of measurement is used.

Scoring[edit]

The test has 85 multiple choice questions that are to be answered in one hour. All questions have five answer choices. Students receive 1 point for every correct answer, lose ¼ of a point for each incorrect answer, and receive 0 points for questions left blank. This score is then converted to a scaled score of 200-800. The mean score for the 2009 test administrations was 638, standard deviation 113.[1] In 2011, the mean score was 648 with a standard deviation of 110.

Preparation[edit]

The College Board's recommended preparation is a one-year college preparatory course in chemistry, a one-year course in algebra, and experience in the laboratory. However, some second-year algebra concepts (including logarithms) are tested on this subject test. Given the timed nature of the test, one of the keys of the mathematics that appears on the SAT II in Chemistry is not the difficulty, but rather the speed at which it must be completed. Furthermore, the oft-quoted prerequisite[who?] of lab-experience is sometimes unnecessary for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry due to the nature of the questions concerning experiments; most laboratory concepts can simply be memorized beforehand. Some lab-based questions use diagrams, and thus it is helpful to know what common glassware looks like and how the different pieces are used.

Difficulty[edit]

Like most of the SAT Subject Tests, the Chemistry SAT Test is supposed to be relatively difficult. It tests a very wide breadth of content and expects students to formulate answers in a very short period of time. Many high school students find themselves picking up extra resource material, like prep books and online aids, to help them prepare for the SAT Chemistry test.

While the test is challenging, there are distinctions between the SAT Chemistry Test and the AP Chemistry exam, which is a more critical-thinking exam that is used not for college admissions but rather for college placement. Still, an AP course in Chemistry is sufficient preparation for the Chemistry SAT.

Resources[edit]

The student is not allowed to use notes, textbooks, or a calculator on this test. The only resource a student may use is a periodic table which is provided with the test booklet. This table only provides atomic masses, atomic numbers, and symbols for each element.

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