Applying to colleges can be fairly daunting due to the endless application essays, recommendation letters, and transcripts that have to be submitted, and fulfilling standardized testing requirements. Most colleges and universities nowadays require not just an ACT or SAT score, but also SAT Subject Test scores. This can put an even higher strain on your high school senior year.

But the good news is that many SAT subject tests can be taken and if there is a language that you are fluent in and or are highly skilled in then that is your key to success. Taking the SAT Spanish subject test for example can be such a great way to fulfill the subject test requirement but can also show your well-rounded skillset and interests.

A language subject test like the Spanish one can show college application review boards what makes your application unique and perhaps a dive into why you have chosen to apply to a specific major or minor.

For this specific article, we will dive into the SAT Spanish subject test, its format, and the other keys to success. We will also review not just how to find the best revision materials, but the benefits of taking the SAT Spanish test, and most importantly how to score top marks. None the less you will be ready to fulfill the subject test requirement, but also impress college review boards around the country.

Is the SAT Spanish Exam Beneficial?

Taking the SAT Spanish exam comes with its myriad of great benefits. It not just fulfills college subject test requirements like mentioned above but can give you access to college credit if you score at a high range. Scoring high on this exam comes to the point of how competent you are in the language. Scoring above 700+ can give college acceptance review boards a wider look at your Spanish language skillset along with your language placement level.

SAT Spanish prep
Taking the SAT Spanish Subject Test showcases interests and skillsets other than the usual SAT coursework. (Photo by Clarissa Watson on Unsplash)

Thinking about a major or minor in Spanish or a romance languages emphasis, then taking the Spanish subject test can strengthen your college applications. Most of these college-level Spanish courses and majors ask for high competence in two or more Latin-based languages before diving into high-level literature courses.

If you take the SAT Spanish test and score at a high range, you can make a case to test out from novice language and writing classes. If that is the case, you can perhaps start your required Spanish literature courses right in your first year of college instead of in your second or third year. Testing out from level one and two Spanish college courses means that you can use that extra time and money towards other course requirements or use the extra time to learn a second or third language.

The exam can showcase not just your skillset and placement level but can also be mentioned as part of your entrance essays. Entrance essays are a major part of your college applications and show great character when you can explain who you are and hope to become. A great portion of a college application essay is noting your interests and what you want to accomplish in university. Showcasing a high score in the SAT Spanish exam is one thing but explaining in your application essays why you enjoy the language is another. Explaining your passion and fluency in the language can give college admission reviewers a deeper insight into who you are as a person and prospective student.

Is the Spanish SAT Subject Test Hard?

You might be wondering if your Spanish language skillset is sufficient to score at a high range in the SAT Spanish subject test. The first step in finding if you have the right knowledge is making a thorough assessment of the SAT subject exam.

The College Board states that for a prospective college student to be successful in the SAT Spanish exam one should have at least two years in intensive Spanish courses under their belt. This means that close to conversational Spanish should be the aim or at least having a strong basic reading comprehension in the language. Making sure your vocabulary tenses and conjugation skillsets are sharp.

The exam format is also great to review because it will give you an understanding of what standard of knowledge is needed and what will be covered in the exam. Like every other standardized test, the SAT Spanish exam is timed with a total of 60 minutes. In that timed hour, you are expected to answer 85 multiple choice questions for a total of 800 possible points.

Exam topics range from everyday Spanish vocabulary and its structure, grammar, paragraph completion, and overall reading comprehension. The language used in the exam is taken from dialogues and excerpts written to mimic conversations had by those who speak the Spanish language in their everyday lives.

The SAT Spanish exam is offered in two formats: a) regular standardized reading and b) Spanish with Listening. Unlike the regular format, the Spanish with Listening exam includes an audio portion along with the standardized reading version topics. Although the majority of the students can feel uneasy about the audio component of the exam, it is the portion where students tend to score the highest.

Overall, the exam’s difficulty level can be solely based on your Spanish language knowledge level. A better indicator is by assessing your Spanish language skillset. But do not let the exam’s scope daunt you. We always know a lot more than we give ourselves recognition for.

SAT Spanish Test Materials: Where to Find Them

If you think you fall just shy of being successful in the SAT Spanish exam do not worry! There are plenty of SAT Spanish revision materials out there that can boost your score in no time. From endless SAT Spanish practice tests to revision audio files and videos, there are a plethora of studying materials in several places around your community and online.

SAT Spanish prep
Local community libraries are some of the best sources of SAT Spanish revision material. (Photo by Fan Yang on Unsplash)

A great resource for finding revision materials is at your local community and school libraries. These sources of knowledge can be often looked past nowadays because of the large number of other resources that can be easily found online. But do not take these institutions for granted, because they most of the time a better source for quality studying materials.

An incentive to visit your local library to study for the SAT Spanish exam is that it is relatively free. Libraries usually have a great variety of Spanish language textbooks that are great to review the fundamentals of vocabulary and grammar. SAT Spanish subject test study guides are also available and can be checked out with your library card or photocopies of practice tests can be made to enforce your time management skills.

The large culmination of tools and resources available online can be fairly daunting yet can be the best source of knowledge. If grammar and vocabulary tenses are what you need to strengthen then the use of online flashcard tools can come in handy. Flashcard tools like Study Stack are great due to their variety of Spanish flashcard decks that come in a variety of tenses and word groups.

Videos on YouTube are also a great source for Spanish studying. The plethora of tutoring channels online can aid your studying for its instructional nature, and it is relatively easy to find videos in the areas you need to strengthen. Additionally, allowing yourself to listen to the language can be helpful for learning outcomes. It is said that a total of 20% of information is retained when learning in an audio-visual mode and that the best mode of information retention is with a balance of all three modes: listening, visual, and reading.

Acing the Spanish SAT Subject Test

Now that you have gotten an overall snapshot of the SAT Spanish exam from its format to the best resources. You are probably wondering what other tips and tricks to acing the exam could be. Having a fluent to conversational level in Spanish is not all that is needed to score an 800 in the exam. Being a good test taker along with having a strong reading comprehension is the most important.

SAT Spanish prep
Time management is an essential skill to have to be ready for the SAT Spanish Subject Test. (Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash)

As mentioned above both exams are timed for a total of 60 minutes to answer 85 questions. So, it is safe to say that time is of the essence when taking the test. If you make a rough estimate you have less than a minute per question. Strengthening your time management skills is also an area that you will have to take into consideration when preparing for the Spanish language subject test. These time management tips and tricks will get you ready for the exam and answering questions in less than a minute.

If you feel like you still need more thorough instruction, then perhaps a Spanish tutor will be a great aid. Tutors are great in pinpointing what you need to strengthen as well as great resources to strengthen your skillset at a pace you are comfortable in. Studying for standardized test like the SAT Spanish Subject Test can feel less daunting when doing it alongside someone that is paving the way.

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A California desert-native who has a passion for baking from scratch, reading 1950-era novels, listening to soul/jazz, and global trotting.