So you’ve taken the SAT. You’ve gotten a decent score, and you think you’re done with standardized testing forever. Congratulations! You are like most students your age. However, if you’re looking for a bit of an edge on your applications, and you’re an excellent math student, you might want to consider the SAT Math Subject Test.

**What is the SAT Math Subject Test?**

The SAT Math Subject Test actually has two categories: Level 1 and Level 2. Both tests have 50 multiple choice questions, a time limit of 60 minutes, and a score range between 200 and 800. A graphing calculator is allowed on the entire test, and a formula sheet is given that contains the volume and surface area formulas for cones, spheres and pyramids.

The Level 1 test assumes students have taken at least two years of Algebra and one year of Geometry (the student has completed Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2). The Level 2 test covers the same material as the Level 1 test, but also includes Trigonometry and other topics from Precalculus.

**Who should take it?**

The SAT Math Subject Tests are for students who have excelled in mathematics during their high school courses. If you’re interested in pursuing higher level mathematics in college, these tests are for you. And if you’re still not sold, then consider this: the SAT Math Subject Tests can help you stand out against other college applicants.

Because the Subject Tests are optional, choosing to take one shows determination. It shows intellectual curiosity and a desire for a challenge. By taking the Math Subject Test and receiving an impressive score, you show schools that you have an aptitude for science, technology, engineering or economics.

If you’re a student reading this and you have completed every math course through Algebra 2 and earned at least a B in each course, you should consider the Level 1 test. If you’ve completed every math course through Precalculus, you’re familiar with Trigonometry and you earned at least a B in each math course, you should consider the Level 2 test.

**What concepts are covered on each test?**

__Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test__

- Algebra/Functions (38-42%)
- Solving equations and inequalities
- Writing expressions
- Modeling and representation of algebraic relationships
- Function properties

- Geometry/Measurement (38-42%)
- Coordinate Geometry: Lines, Parabolas, Circles, Graph Transformations
- 3-D Geometry: Volumes and Surface Areas of Solids, Coordinates in 3 dimensions
- Trigonometry: Right Triangles, Trig Identities

- Numbers/Operations (10-14%)
- Order of Operations
- Ratios and Proportions
- Elementary Number Theory
- Complex Numbers
- Sequences
- Matrices

- Probability, Statistics and Data Analysis (8-12%)
- Counting Principle and basic Probability
- Mean, Median, Mode, Range, Standard Deviation, Interquartile Range

- Graphs, Plots and Regressions

__Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test__

- Algebra/Functions (38-42%)
- Solving equations and inequalities
- Writing expressions
- Modeling and representation of algebraic relationships
- Function properties

- Geometry/Measurement (38-42%)
- Coordinate Geometry: Lines, All Conic Sections, Polar Coordinates, Graph Transformations
- 3-D Geometry: Volumes and Surface Areas of Solids, Coordinates in 3 dimensions
- Trigonometry: Right Triangles, Trig Identities, Double Angle Formulas, Law of Sines, Law of Cosines, and Degree/Radian conversion

- Numbers/Operations (10-14%)
- Order of Operations
- Ratios and Proportions
- Complex Numbers
- Sequences and Series
- Matrices and Vectors

- Probability, Statistics and Data Analysis (8-12%)
- Factorials, Permutations, Combinations, Counting Principle
- Mean, Median, Mode, Range, Standard Deviation, Interquartile Range
- Graphs, Plots and Regressions

**Key Differences**

The Level 2 SAT Math Subject Test contains more advanced trigonometry (law of sines, law of cosines, graphs of sine and cosine, etc.), series, vectors, logarithms, parametric equations, recursive equations and piecewise functions. The only topic covered on the Level 1 test that is not *directly* covered on Level 2 is plane geometry. Plane geometry is still on the Level 2 test, but it is often a part of coordinate geometry or 3-D geometry questions.

Even though the Level 1 test covers less material, that doesn’t necessarily make it easier than Level 2. Questions on the Level 1 test will generally be more abstract multi-step problems, whereas questions on Level 2 will be more simple and straightforward.

If you’re trying to decide which test to take, first check the colleges you will be applying to. Some colleges may require the Level 1 test, while others, especially engineering and medical programs, may require the Level 2 test. Another factor to consider is the coursework you’ve already completed. Generally, it is advised to wait until you are finished with a course before taking the Math Subject Tests. For example, you should wait until completing Algebra 2 before registering for the Level 1 test, or Precalculus in the case of the Level 2 test.

For students seeking outside help in preparation for the SAT Math Subject Tests — or any other kind of SAT tutoring — please consider using our Learning Ascent services. Our tutors have prepared other students for such testing. We even tutor students in other subject areas outside of test prep! We serve students in the St. Charles, IL area, or anywhere in the country using our new virtual tutoring! If you’d like to enlist our academic help, please call us at 630-587-2795.