I'm a sophomore and I want to major in computer science at an engineering school. I was planning on taking Math 2 and Chemistry since most people recommend math and a science test for engineering students. I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it now that none of the schools I'm applying to require it and some schools aren't even considering them and others are placing less value on them. I could focus on other things and ECs with the time I would spend studying. I also would save money by not taking them. I want to apply to selective schools and Ivies so are subject tests actually worth it?
It depends on the kinds of schools you're aiming for. Subject tests are typically most useful at extremely competitive colleges—ones with sub-35% or so acceptance rates that you'll find in the top 50-ish of US News & World Report rankings. At those schools, because most applicants take Subject Tests, they're almost a prerequisite for admission; not having them means you're missing something that a lot of other students have, and because the admissions process amounts to direct competition with other people for a limited number of spots, not having something everyone else has is a big disadvantage.
So, if you are applying to Ivies and schools that are similarly selective—yes, even if they don't say that they're required (they often say that to get more applicants, reject more applicants, and lower their acceptance rates), you really do need Subject Tests to be considered fairly alongside everyone else who will have them as well. At less selective schools, like those anywhere outside the top 50 or especially top 100, not as many of the students you're competing with will have them; because of that, they're less necessary to get an even chance, and can even give you a big boost if you have strong scores.
If a school is in your top 5-7 that requires subject tests you should likely take it. But if you want to go to a selective school Most require it for admittance.
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