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Articles / Applying to College / Is the SAT the Same as the SAT I?

Is the SAT the Same as the SAT I?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 3, 2010

Question: I have seen references to the "SAT" test and the "SAT I" test. Is this the same test or are they completely different tests? My daughter is taking the SAT June 5th. I saw on a college web site that they require the "SAT I" test. Are we signed up for the wrong test?

Fear not. It sounds like your daughter has signed up for the test she needs to take. The College Board offers two types of college-entrance exams, their "Reasoning Test," (which includes sections on "Critical Reading," Math, and Writing) and their "Subject Tests." (These are a series of hour-long exams that are offered in 20 different subjects. Some colleges --including many of the more selective ones--require two or even three Subject Tests, but at most institutions they are optional. Students can take up to three Subject Tests in a single test session but they cannot take the Reasoning Test and Subject Tests on the same day.)

A decade or so ago, the official name for the Reasoning Test was the "SAT I" and the official name for the Subject Tests was the "SAT II." Although the College Board no longer uses those terms, many students, parents, and educators have hung onto them. So as you navigate the maze ahead, you will often find that "SAT," "SAT I," and "SAT: Reasoning Test" will be used interchangeably. Likewise, you'll hear the Subject Tests called the "SAT II" (or, if you encounter old-timers like myself, you'll even hear the Subject Tests called "Achievement Tests," since that was their name back in the Sixties, when I was in high school).

Even if your daughter is not applying to any colleges that require the Subject Tests, they can still be a good way to show off strengths in areas not covered by the Reasoning Test (science, foreign language, history). Admission officials will use the scores if your daughter sends them, and sometimes these can help offset so-so SAT I's.

But, for now, I suspect that your daughter has signed up to sit for the right SAT. ;-)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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