Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Language subject tests can be tricky – you are most likely not completely fluent in the language you are testing in. Maybe you’ve had some practice at home, or maybe you took it for a few years in school. Either way, if you are not fluent the day you sign up for the test, it’s time to make peace with the fact that you won’t be fluent on the day of the test either. So how do you make the most of what you do know to maximize your score?

Immerse yourself

The best way to learn a language is to live it and use it, but you almost definitely don’t have that kind of time. However, you can take opportunities to force yourself to engage with your target language. Watch television shows in your language – Netflix even lets you change the language of the entire platform. This is helpful even if it is a show or movie that you have already seen, because you don’t have to worry about following the basic plot and can really listen.

Additionally, try to read a few news articles a day in your target language, BBC offers news in many. Finally, if you truly want to make yourself interact with the language, change the language setting on your phone to whichever you are trying to learn. This tactic can be slightly frustrating, but I have found that it works well, because you probably already know which buttons do what on your phone without reading them, and you get gain some additional vocabulary.

Practice under test conditions

A major component of this test is based on reading passages and answering questions about them. When you read passages for homework or on your own, it’s simple and convenient to look up unfamiliar terms. This is not a bad habit, since it helps develop new vocabulary. However, you will also want to practice for the test, where these resources will not be available to you. This will develop your skills at understanding through context, so when you get to the real thing, an unfamiliar term won’t stop you from understanding the majority of a reading and successfully answering questions about it.

Figure out which version of the test is right for you

The Spanish SAT subject test is offered with and without listening sections. The listening version is only offered in November. It is important to know your own abilities when making this decision. If you are consistently weaker at conversational usage, for example, you would probably be better served taking the test without listening. Whichever version you choose, make sure to read the description on line and do at least a few practice tests to insure that format and type of question don’t catch you by surprise on test day.

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the author

Mary is a first year college student at Wellesley, originally from Rochester, NY. She is an Assistant News Editor for The Wellesley News, and hopes to major in International Relations-Political Science. In her spare time, she can be found trying to be clever on twitter (@marym19), idolizing Leslie Knope, and eating nutella straight out of the jar.

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