SAT II SUBJECT TEST-MATH
The Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test covers the same material as the Mathematics Level 1 test — with the addition of trigonometry and elementary functions (precalculus). If you performed well in these courses, taking this test gives you the opportunity to highlight your abilities and showcase your interest in higher-level mathematics.
- Offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June.
- Calculator use permitted.
Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions
|200-800||60||50 (Multiple Choice)|
- Number and operations
- Algebra and functions
- Geometry and measurement (coordinate, three-dimensional, and trigonometry)
- Data analysis, statistics and probability
- More than three years of college-preparatory mathematics, including two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and elementary functions (precalculus) or trigonometry or both
Topics on the Test
|Content||Approximate % of Test|
|Number and operationsOperations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences, series, vectors||10%–14%|
|Algebra and functionsExpressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modeling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, periodic, piecewise, recursive, parametric)||48%–52%|
|Geometry and measurementCoordinate: Lines, parabolas, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, symmetry, transformations, polar coordinatesThree-dimensional: Solids, surface area and volume (cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, prisms), coordinates in three dimensionsTrigonometry: Right triangles, identities, radian measure, law of cosines, law of sines, equations, double angle formulas||48%–52%10%–14%4%–6%12%–16%|
|Data analysis, statistics, and probabilityMean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, standard deviation, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear, quadratic, exponential), probability|
Choosing Between Math Levels 1 and 2
If you have taken trigonometry or elementary functions (precalculus) or both, received grades of B or better in these courses, and are comfortable knowing when and how to use a scientific or graphing calculator, you should select the Level 2 test. If you are sufficiently prepared to take Level 2, but elect to take Level 1 in hopes of receiving a higher score, you may not do as well as you expect. You may want to consider taking the test that covers the topics you learned most recently, since the material will be fresh in your mind. You should also consider the requirements of the colleges and programs you are interested in.
Areas of Overlap on Math Level 1 and Math Level 2
The content of Level 1 has some overlap with Level 2, especially in the following areas:
- Elementary algebra
- Three-dimensional geometry
- Coordinate geometry
- Basic trigonometry
How Test Content Differs
Although some questions may be appropriate for both tests, the emphasis for Level 2 is on more-advanced content. The tests differ significantly in the following areas:
- Number and Operations. Level 1 measures a more basic understanding of the topics than Level 2. For example, Level 1 covers the arithmetic of complex numbers, but Level 2 also covers graphical and other properties of complex numbers. Level 2 also includes series and vectors.
- Algebra and Functions. Level 1 contains mainly algebraic equations and functions, whereas Level 2 also contains more advanced equations and functions, such as exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric.
- Geometry and Measurement. A significant percentage of the questions on Level 1 is devoted to plane Euclidean geometry and measurement, which is not tested directly on Level 2. On Level 2, the concepts learned in plane geometry are applied in the questions on coordinate geometry and three-dimensional geometry. The trigonometry questions on Level 1 are primarily limited to right triangle trigonometry (sine, cosine, tangent) and the fundamental relationships among the trigonometric ratios. Level 2 includes questions about ellipses, hyperbolas, polar coordinates and coordinates in three dimensions. The trigonometry questions on Level 2 place more emphasis on the properties and graphs of trigonometric functions, the inverse trigonometric functions, trigonometric equations and identities, and the laws of sines and cosines.
- Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability. Both Level 1 and Level 2 include mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, data interpretation and probability. Level 2 also includes standard deviation. Both include least-squares linear regression, but Level 2 also includes quadratic and exponential regression.
Seek advice from your high school math teacher if you are still unsure of which test to take. Keep in mind you can choose to take either test on test day, regardless of what test you registered for.
Please note that these tests reflect what is commonly taught in high school. Due to differences in high school classes, it’s likely that most students will find questions on topics they’re not familiar with. This is nothing to worry about. You do not have to get every question correct to receive the highest score (800) for the test. Many students do well despite not having studied every topic covered.
Using Your Calculator to Solve Problems
- Think about how you are going to solve the question before picking up your calculator. It may be that you only need the calculator for the final step or two and can do the rest in your test book or in your head. Don’t waste time by using the calculator more than necessary. For about half of the questions, there’s no advantage, or perhaps even a disadvantage, to using a calculator. For the other half of the questions, a calculator may be useful or necessary.
- Read the question carefully so that you know what you are being asked to do. Sometimes a result that you may get from your calculator is NOT the final answer. If an answer you get is not one of the choices in the question, it may be that you didn’t answer the question being asked. You should read the question again. It may also be that you rounded at an intermediate step in solving the problem, and that’s why your answer doesn’t match any of the choices in the question.
- The answer choices are often rounded, so the answer you get might not match the answer in the test book. Since the choices are rounded, plugging the choices into the problem might not produce an exact answer.
- Don’t round any intermediate calculations. For example, if you get a result from the calculator for the first step of a solution, keep the result in the calculator and use it for the second step. If you round the result from the first step and the answer choices are close to each other, you might have a problem.
- Bring a calculator that you are used to using. It may be a scientific or a graphing calculator, but if you’re comfortable with both, bring a graphing calculator. The most important consideration is your comfort level with the calculator. Test day is not the time to start learning how to use a new calculator, even if it has more capabilities.
- Verify that your calculator is in good working condition before you take the test. You may bring batteries and a backup calculator to the test center. Remember, no substitute calculators or batteries will be available at the test center. You can’t share calculators with other test takers.
- If you are taking the Mathematics Level 1 test, make sure your calculator is in degree mode ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about it during the test.
- If your calculator malfunctions at the test center, and you don’t have a backup calculator, you must tell your test coordinator when the malfunction occurs. You can choose to cancel your scores on the test.
- If you are using a calculator with large characters (one inch high or more) or a calculator with a raised display that might be visible to other test takers, you will be seated at the discretion of the test coordinator.
- You may not use your calculator for sharing or exchanging, or removing part of a test book or any notes relating to the test from the test room. Such action may be grounds for dismissal, cancellation of scores or both. You do not have to clear your calculator’s memory before or after taking the test.