SAT I and II : What’s the difference?
The SAT Reasoning Test is called SAT I and the SAT Subject Test is called SAT II. However, students are often confused about the format, need and utility of these tests. The following points must help solve the problem.
Acceptance: Except in California, universities in US states do not require SATII or the SAT Subject Test. The SAT I , however, is accepted as an admission requirement by most colleges and universities. It is generally more popular with Eastern US colleges. You can easily find out whether the university/school you are applying to accepts SAT I or SAT II by visiting their website.
How do they test: The SAT I has reading, writing and math sections that test comprehension, grammar, and mathematics. The SAT II has individual subjects ranging from biology to math to literature.
Scoring: The SAT II gives you a score of 200-800. You get a point for every right answer and zero points for every omitted answer. You lose 1/4 of a point for every question you answer incorrectly.The SAT I gives you a critical reading score of 200-800, and writing score of 200-800, and a math score of 200-800. You get your overall score by adding all three scores together. Each correct answer counts one point, and each omitted question counts zero points. A wrong answer can have no penalty (grid-in math questions) or can cost you 1/4 of a point (all the multiple-choice questions).
Duration: The SAT II takes one hour for each subject test.The SAT I takes over three hours and a half. You have six 25-minute sections (two writing, two reading, and two math), two 20-minute sections (one reading and one math), and one 10-minute writing section with just grammar questions.
How many times a year: The SAT II is conducted six times a year, usually in October, November, December, January, May and June. The SAT I is given seven times a year, usually in October, November, December, January, March, May and June. The SAT I and SAT II are held on the same day at the same time, so you can't take both exams on the same administration date.
What should you take?
This is a question that requires a lot of introspection on your part. Whether you should take SAT I or II depends on what you want. What is the course you want to pursue, what is the school you wish to attend and what does that school require- these are the questions that help you decide which test suits your career path better. A lot of times students take SAT Subject tests to showcase their specific skill in a certain stream in order to get admission to a very specific course. Also, many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. The colleges that want SAT II will make it clear. Most colleges leave it at the discretion of the applicant to decide which test scores he/she wishes to submit.