Getting 800 on the SAT Math 2 Subject Test
What is the SAT Math 2 Subject Test?
It is an hour long multiple choice math test designed to showcase a student’s abilities in mathematics (Pre-Calculus). The test covers the following areas:
1- Number and operations
2- Algebra and functions
3- Geometry and measurement (coordinate, three-dimensional, and trigonometry)
4- Data analysis, statistics and probability
The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions that need to be answered in 60 minutes. The questions increase in difficulty as the test progresses. You will receive one point for each correct answer, lose ¼ of a point for each wrong answer, and no points at all for a blank answer. There are 5 choices for each question, and the test is graded from 200 to 800.
Why is it imporant?
SAT Subject tests are required for admission to most of the top schools in the US. It is a chance for a student to showcase his/hers talent in a certain subject. SAT Math 2 subject test is one of the less challenging tests to get a perfect score in because of its forgiving curve. You can leave 7 answers and still get a perfect 800. The average score is quite high for students at top universities:
UCLA Engineering: 790
Harvey Mudd College: 760-800
However, don't get discouraged if you didn’t get your desired score. I personally know people who went to MIT, Yale and UCB Engineering with scores below 750 and 700.
Choosing your studying plan
If you're aiming for a full 800, buy the following books and study them:
1- The Official SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics Levels 1 & 2 Study Guide:
This is from College Board, the makers of the test. The book doesn’t give any study material but it does have 2 authentic
practice exams for each subject. If you have the money, I recommend getting it, as few questions get recycled from the
book multiple times.
2- Barron's SAT Subject Test Math Level 2:
Barrons is a must have for any 800 seekers. The book is more difficult than the actual test thus it over prepares you for it. The major downside to it is the tests are not quite similar to the real college board tests, but you will definitely benefit from it.
3- Dr. John Chung's SAT II Math Level 2
Dr-Chung is quite similar to Barron’s in that it is much more challenging than the actual exam. There 58 tips for the exam plus 20 practice tests. This book is a great resource for someone aiming to get 800.
If you're aimiing realistically for a 700 range score, use the following books and study them:
1- Cracking the SAT math 1 and 2 Subject test from Princeton Review
Princeton Review is a great option if you are not aiming for a perfect score. The book covers all of the required materials and has decent tips and tricks. The tests difficulty is similar to the actual exam.
2- SparkNotes: SAT Subject Test: Math Level 2:
The material in Sparknotes is quite comprehensive and I found the tests to be the most accurate representation of the actual exam. Like the Princeton Review, it is a great book to start with.
3- McGraw-Hill's SAT Subject Test Math Level 2
It is a great resource for study material and extra tests.
Other resources include:
1- 15 Realistic Tests for the SAT Math Level 2 Subject Test (Serious Overprep)
5- Khan Academy
The Calculator is quite essential to your success in the Math 2 subject test. It is almost required for about half of the exam’s questions.
1- Casio Scientific Calculator FX-115
I used the Casio because I was the most comfortable with. It didn’t provide me with the graphic power that would
have made 5 or 4 questions much easier, but it did give me the speed to do most of the questions in a few seconds.
Try to use the Calculator that you are most comfortable with, and use the one that offers you the most options.
2- TI 84 and TI 83
They are the kings of the graphing calculator because they are quite popular in the US. There are many guides
online that will help you use them to the fullest. They can save you a lot of trouble in the test.
3- Ti Nspire
It is arguably the best SAT graphing calculator available in the market. It will save you much time,
and it will make solving many questions easier. Just take the time to learn it thoroughly, and install the
1- Start early
The earlier you start the higher the chances that you will do better in the exam. The main reason why I got a good score was because I started early which gave me the time to improve my weaknesses.
2- Practice tests Practice tests are your best friends
Take as many as you can as you are going through the study material. You will start to find where you are doing well in them and where you are doing terribly. Use this as a chance to improve your weaknesses.
3- Time yourself
Don’t forget that on the day of the exam you will probably take other subjects as well. As you are going through the practice tests time yourself. You will see that you are probably spending way too much time on a questions that needs to be skipped or that you are don’t have enough time to solve all of the questions.
4- Take the Math 2 tests after you are done with PreCalculus
This will help you a lot because the information would be fresh in your head. If you are a Saudi student, try to get the test in May because you will probably be studying for the college entrance exams of Qiyas.
5- Don’t lose hope This might be cliche but it is true.
Getting a good score is not rocket science. It just requires time and effort. There are people who
can enter the test without studying and get 800 while there are others who would take them
after months of late nights to do that. I was among the second type.
6- Answer all the questions
Don’t leave any blank answers. Use the process of elimination and use educated guess. A lot of the questions can be answered by plugging in or by just graphing the equations.
You can only use one calculator in the test, but you can bring a replacement if your original calculator malfunctioned.