Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels


It’s the summer before senior year, and you’re all ready to start the college application process: you’ve got your high school transcript, SAT score, and extracurriculars all in a list. You’re browsing through all your prospective college’s requirements and… your heart drops.


  • SAT I score
  • Two SAT II subject scores

Hold on… weren’t those supposed to be optional? You only have a few months left before the deadline, and the list of SAT II subjects isn’t exactly boosting your confidence. Chemistry? You haven’t taken that since freshman year. Literature? You didn’t even pass AP Lang and can hardly remember the difference between a simile and a metaphor. Spanish? No bueno.

In fact, many students each year take SAT IIs without currently taking the course equivalent. Individual studying is totally possible, and yes, you can do it!

1. Gather as many resources as possible

If you’re taking the course equivalent, your teacher might pass out chapter outlines, cumulative study guides, or helpful cheat sheets to help prepare the entire class for the upcoming exam. If you’re studying individually then you’re quite literally on your own. Check out the College Board’s website for the specific topics that will be covered on the exam, and find study resources that line up. Grab a test prep book, utilize the free practice questions on the College Board’s website, and watch a few CrashCourse or other academic Youtube channels. If you’ve taken the course before, try to dig up your old notebook or hunt down your ex-teacher’s website for powerpoints, course materials, and more.

2. Grab a knowledgeable friend or mentor

Self-studying doesn’t mean you’re totally alone. If your best friends happens to be a chem whiz, call her up for any quick questions or even lengthier study sessions. In addition, don’t be afraid to drop by and visit your old chemistry teacher for a few questions on the material. Even if you’re not their current student, teachers are often more than eager to help students with studying outside the classroom (plus, it shows initiative!) If you can afford it, hiring a tutor is also a possibility, but isn’t totally necessary unless you are way lower than your target score.

3. Keep on top of your schedule

Say goodbye to the constant reminders from your teachers. No longer will you hear “Don’t forget, the registration deadline is this Saturday!” every single class period. Now, you’re in charge of reminding yourself. Set a study schedule based around those various deadlines and make sure to cover all the topics. Be realistic: you’ll still need to study for your regular classes, so space your time wisely to avoid being overwhelmed.

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