As with all standardized tests, the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1 can play an important role in strengthening a college application or navigating the murky waters of college credit. So, why should you take this test?

Colleges Want the Score

Many higher level universities request or require subject test scores – and make no mistake, if they “recommend” something, you should do it. Schools often specifically want a Math score. This demonstrates your proficiency more deeply than the Math subsections of the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT, and colleges want to know where you stand.

Score Diversity Helps

Your chosen university may not necessarily require that Math score, but it helps to have a Math or Science paired with Literature or US History instead of only taking two humanities exams. If you do well in diverse subjects, you can demonstrate how well-rounded a student you are.

Once Accepted, You Can Use It for Placement

Some universities don’t use the subject test scores for admissions, but apply them in the same way as AP credit and offer credit in exchange for high scores. With Math commonly, the score is used in lieu of a traditional placement test.

It Can Be a Warm-Up

You may have thought about taking the test in Mathematics Level 2 and decided to give it a try. You may not want to head straight into it, though, because that material is more advanced. To make sure you have a firm grasp on the fundamentals, take the Math 1 test at a convenient date near the middle of your junior year. If you are already a calculus student, you may need to consider which of the two would be better for you.

It Might Be More Comfortable

The Math 2 test isn’t for everyone – only people who are completely confident in their mathematical abilities generally take it. But if you want or need a math score, the Math 1 test could be great for you. It has fairly equal sections of algebra and geometry, which together comprise most of the test, as well as basic statistics and numerical operations. After you have completed Algebra II, you will have learned all of the skills necessary for the test, so you might be able to take it as early as the end of ninth grade.

Choosing subject tests can be a critical part of the college application process. If you’re looking to diversify your numbers but you’re not exactly a huge math and science whiz, or if you would prefer to ease into the process, this test could be right for you.