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Naomi Lathan offers advice on how to prepare for the chemistry SAT II.

Guide to the chemistry SAT II

After taking a full year of chemistry, it isn’t a bad idea to take a subject test. Granted, subject tests most likely are not going to be the deciding factor in your college admissions, but why not take the opportunity to show what you know?

The chemistry SAT is just like most standardized tests: timed, tricky, and designed to make you rethink things you already know. The way to get around this is to focus on studying specifically for the test and not just studying everything you learned in chemistry. Chemistry classes at Wayland High School go into way more detail than the test ever will, so don’t stress yourself out by trying to remember every little thing. In order to make sure you focus on only things that will be on the test, get a chemistry SAT review book or join a review class.

Mastering the material is only the first step in preparing yourself for the test. The chemistry SAT has two full sections of questions that are designed to trick you just on their formatting. Once you think you know everything about chemistry, it’s time to start thinking about reason assertion and clarification questions. Reason assertion questions ask you determine whether a given explanation fits a given statement, and classification questions ask you to match a term with its correct definition.

Any book or class will go into great detail on how to prepare for these two sections of the test. The classification questions are unlike anything you’ve done in class, but it’s on the same information that you’ve learned. If you get yourself familiar with this type of question, they are way less likely to trip you up on the day of the test. Reason assertion questions are probably the most difficult part of the test because they require a true understanding of the material. For this section, just remember that they will be on the biggest topics, so don’t study obscure, one-day units in too much detail.

The most important thing to remember about the test, is that you’ve already learned everything you need to know in class. Spend your time studying the things you don’t already know. The best use of your time is to move on from the things you are confident with. Nothing good can come from studying things you already know. You’ve been taking chemistry tests all year. You know chemistry, but you may not know how to take the chemistry SAT. Take practice tests and do practice problems that are specifically designed for the SAT. Remember that SAT questions are designed to trick you, so be sure to get comfortable with their format.

Don’t stress. Your WHS chemistry class has prepared you well for this.