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Colleges, universities and scholarship programs consider your academic record, SAT test scores, extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations and application responses to determine your eligibility for admissions or awards. Standardized test scores, including the SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Tests, help colleges compare the academic achievements of students from different schools, taking into consideration that courses and grading standards may vary widely.

On a personal level, you can use your SAT scores to help you compare your reasoning abilities and academic strengths with those of the two million students who take these tests each year. Then you can decide if you need to take additional courses or do more independent studying to succeed in college.

Find out if the colleges you're interested in require the SAT Reasoning Test or the SAT Subject Tests. Generally, this information is available on the Admissions page of the school's Web site or in any number of college directories including the College Handbook, Barron's and School Guide.

Which Tests to Take
The SAT Reasoning Test is a 3-hour and 45-minute test. Multiple-choice and student generated responses measure verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities while an essay measures your ability to develop and support a point of view. Many colleges require SAT scores for admission.

SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, primarily multiple-choice tests that measure your knowledge of particular subjects and your ability to apply that knowledge. Check the requirements of the colleges you're considering. Many either require or recommend one or more Subject Tests for admission or placement.

You may begin taking Subject Tests after you've completed a course of study in subjects such as Biology or American History while the material is still fresh in your mind. For other subjects, such as languages, you should complete at least two years of study before taking the test.

Your teacher or counselor can advise you about when to take a test. The College Board recommends taking Subject Tests by the end of your junior year to meet college admission deadlines. Be advised that you can take either the SAT Reasoning Test or up to three SAT Subject Tests on any one given test date.

Source: The College Board

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