Tip #1: Identify Your Weaknesses
The Chemistry SAT II may test some information that your teacher didn’t cover in class. Review all the content areas listed above to make sure you have a handle on everything. It’s a smart idea to take a diagnostic test before you start studying to form a clearer picture of where your knowledge is lacking. I’d recommend using one that comes directly from the College Board so that the content and format of the test is represented accurately.
Tip #2: Replicate Test Conditions
When you answer practice questions and take practice tests, adhere to the same standards as the real test environment. Don’t use a calculator, and have a periodic table on hand for reference. If you’re taking a full practice test, you should also time yourself. Sticking to appropriate test conditions is the only way to reliably estimate your score level!
Tip #3: Plan Your Time Wisely
Your studying timeline should be informed by how recently you learned the material in class and how well you perform on an initial diagnostic test. If you find that you need to improve by 150 points or more, plan to spend some extra time reviewing the material. I’d estimate about 20 hours of study time to get yourself up to speed – if you start two months in advance, that’s just two hours a week. Not so bad!
If you’re already within 50 points or so of where you want to be, a quicker review should suffice. You could probably spend less than ten hours going over the material. Make sure you get to a point where you feel very confident with the question formats in case nervousness interferes with your performance (which brings me to the next tip).
Tip #4: Practice Relationship Analysis Questions
Make sure you understand how these questions work prior to the test. They take a little bit of getting used to if you’ve never encountered them before. Try to use some practice resources that include these types of questions in addition to five-choice completion and classification questions. It’s especially important to practice interpreting the statements together and on their own and keeping the two processes separate. That CE circle is a little bit tricky!
Tip #5: Don’t Go Overboard
You should only study concepts that you know will be tested. There’s no need to memorize a year’s worth of material for an hour-long multiple-choice test. I’d recommend dividing your time equally between reviewing topics in your notes and doing practice questions that replicate the format of the subject test.
The biggest challenge for you may be time rather than background knowledge, especially if you’re fresh out of a chemistry class. You shouldn’t focus too much on memorizing all your chemistry notes and doing involved practice problems. Remember, you can’t even use a calculator on this test, so you won’t have to solve any elaborate math problems.
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