SAT Subject Test in Chemistry

The SAT Subject Test in Chemistry 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.

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 50 questions numbered 24-70 are standard multiple choice questions. The Metric System of measurement is used. 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 with a standard deviation 113.

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, this is somewhat misleading. This is because the second-year algebra concept of logarithms is tested on this subject test. It would be extremely difficult for a student to score highly if the student did not understand the basics of logarithms. However, this does not mean a student has to complete a second-year algebra course to succeed on this subject test. As long as a student has gone through a first-year algebra course, and understands the second-year algebra concept of logarithms, the student should be able to do the math required by the test, though 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 of lab-experience is sometimes unnecessary for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry due to the nature of the question concerning experiments; most laboratory concepts can simply be memorized beforehand.

The student is not allowed to use notes, textbooks, or a calculator on this test, even though there are questions that involve math. Although logarithms typically are very difficult to do without a calculator, the usage of a calculator is not necessary as the logarithms are very basic. The only resource a student may use is a periodic table which is provided with the test booklet.


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