If SAT Subject Tests aren't required by a college, should I send my scores anyway? Is there any benefit to doing so?

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Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the SAT and ACT - in NYC and via Skype

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I agree with Michael that if you can present strong SAT Subject Test scores to the colleges, you should. I disagree with him, however, about the dangers of submitting "extra materials." SAT Subject Test scores are NOT extra materials! They actually are part of the Common App: you just list them along with your SAT or ACT scores. "Extra materials" that some colleges ask students not to submit would include such things as art portfolios, performance videos, cupcakes (to sweeten the application perhaps?), research or science fair projects, etc. In other words, don't send extra tangible items. Your SAT Subject Test scores will be included by the College Board in their score report for you if you send any SAT scores to the schools, so unless you use Score Choice to suppress those scores – which you may do if those scores are not impressive enough to submit – the colleges will receive those scores anyway.

And what is a good score on the SAT Subject Tests? As a very basic rule of thumb, anything 600 or higher is respectable and is worthy of submission. Lower scores would be better suppressed, as they don't show mastery of a subject, and in fact, show the opposite.

Michael Schoch, Answers questions on Noodle

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First off, Noodle has some excellent and honest articles on SAT Subject Tests:

Do SAT Subject Tests Actually Matter?

SAT Subject Tests: Myth vs. Reality

If you did very well on an SAT Subject Test, it's certainly not going to hurt your portfolio to include it. Assuming that you have very high scores, I'd say that you might as well send them. One caveat to this is that you should read the school's website carefully and maybe even call the admissions office--some school specifically request that you not send extra materials. If the school to which you're applying asks you to only send the required scores and you go ahead and send them a battery of subject tests, you may hurt your chances at acceptance. But if they tell you it's OK to send extra scores and if you feel confident about them, then go for it!

The bottom line here is to double check with the schools. Best of luck on getting in! Feel free to write back with follow up questions any time!

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