Which AP Courses Help Prepare Your Child for SAT Subject Tests
As spring approaches, we know AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests are on your mind. Below we're providing some helpful insights into the relationship between AP exams and their SAT Subject Test counterparts.
AP ENGLISH LITERATURE & COMPOSITION
The AP English Literature & Composition Exam and the SAT Literature Subject Test both focus on fiction and poetry passages. This AP Exam is great preparation for the SAT Literature test. If your child is currently excelling an AP Literature course, the SAT Literature Subject Test could be a great option to take post-AP exam!
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION
The AP English Language & Composition Exam focuses largely on nonfiction passages, whereas the SAT Literature Subject Test focuses on fiction and poetry. If your child is currently enrolled in an AP Language course and would like to take the SAT Literature Subject Test, we recommend setting up some extra fiction and poetry-focused support.
AP US HISTORY
The AP US History Exam focuses on major themes and big-picture events, while the SAT US History Subject Test requires rote memorization of key names, dates, and events.The AP US History Exam will not fully prepare your child for its SAT Subject Test counterpart. To prepare for the subject test, we recommend your child focus his or her studying on historical details from the pre-Columbian era to present day.
AP EUROPEAN HISTORY
The College Board doesn't offer a SAT European History Subject Test. While there is an SAT World History Subject Test, only 25% of the test is focused on European history. The AP European History Exam is not enough to prepare your child for the World History Subject Test. To prepare for this subject test, your child will additionally have to study Africa, Asia, and the Americas (excluding the United States), up to the present day. This is a lot of content for a student to tackle in preparation for a subject test, so this may not be the best option for your child.
AP WORLD HISTORY
Much like the AP US History Exam, the AP World History Exam focuses on major themes and big-picture events, whereas the SAT World History Subject Test focuses more on the memorization of specific details. It should also be noted that it is necessary to work much more quickly on the AP World History Subject Test than on the AP World History Exam. Students often struggle with time on the subject test and therefore find the transition from the AP to be jarring. The AP exam alone will not prepare your child for the subject test. If your child is interested in taking the SAT World History Subject Test, we recommend that he or she complete significant content memorization, work on timing strategies, and take multiple practice tests.
AP SPANISH LANGUAGE & CULTURE | AP FRENCH LANGUAGE & CULTURE
The AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam and the AP French Language & Culture Exam will help your child prepare for the passage analysis and paragraph fill-in questions on their SAT Subject Test counterparts. There are, however, also vocabulary and structure questions on the subject tests that do not have parallels on the APs. We recommend that your child do some extra vocabulary work if he or she is planning to take the subject test.
The AP Latin Exam should be taken as late as possible; most students take it at the end of their senior year. For the AP, your child will study specific pieces by Virgil and Caesar, complete sight readings by various authors, and have a full understanding of Latin grammar. For the SAT Subject Test, however, your child only needs to have finished studying Latin grammar and have some experience reading works by various authors. If your child is a strong Latin student, we recommend that he or she take the SAT Latin Subject Test at the beginning of his or her senior year (before taking the AP exam), and do some focused grammar and reading review in preparation for the SAT.
AP CALCULUS AB & BC
The AP Calculus courses are much more advanced than the SAT Math Level 1 and Math Level 2 Subject Tests. Neither of these AP Exams will prepare your child for the math subject tests, which are more aligned with pre-calculus curriculum. If your child would like to take a math subject test, we recommend that he or she complete focused pre-calculus review and take multiple practice tests before the official test.
Your child will often need two biology courses in high school to cover the breadth of information that appears on the SAT Biology Subject Test. The AP Biology Exam will help your student touch on all of the content that may appear on the SAT Subject Test. The AP Biology Exam, however, focuses more on applications of biology knowledge, while the SAT Biology Subject Test asks more detailed content questions. We recommend your child review basic biology facts and details before sitting for this SAT exam.
While the AP Chemistry Exam does cover the material that will appear on the SAT Chemistry Subject Test, the depth of information learned in the AP course can confuse your child on this subject test. Students who go into the SAT Chemistry Subject Test after an AP course often end up overthinking and overanalyzing simple multiple-choice questions. Your child will have a better chance of succeeding on the Chemistry Subject Test after a rigorous introductory chemistry course. If your child would like to take the Chemistry SAT, we recommend he or she does plenty of strategy and practice work to ensure he or she adjusts to the more simplistic nature of the subject test.
Much like the SAT Chemistry Subject Test, the SAT Physics Subject Test asks questions that are far less in-depth than the ones that appear on the AP. More often than not, we see AP Physics students overthinking the simpler multiple-choice questions on the SAT Subject Test. It will be more effective for your child to take the SAT Physics after a rigorous introductory course than after the AP exam. If your child would like to take the Physics SAT, we recommend he or she does plenty of strategy and practice work to ensure he or she adjusts to the more simplistic nature of the subject test.
Questions? We're here to help. Email our program directors for further insight!