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You thought you were in the clear. You've finally taken the SAT, the test you've been primed for since kindergarten.

But now you find out about the SAT IIs.

Don't panic!

Though you may be initially upset at the prospect of taking yet another test with those three dreaded letters, you should realize there are several benefits to trying the SAT IIs.

What are the SAT IIs?

They are an extended version of the SATs, except they cover more specific subject areas, such as languages, sciences, writing and history.

Even though it means more prep work, the SAT IIs can be a big asset to your college application. If your strong points don't happen to be in math or vocabulary, but you really shine in biology, you have a chance to take a test to showcase that particular talent.

Not everyone has to take the SAT IIs. And the number of SAT II tests that colleges would like you to take varies greatly. Some colleges want one, some two. The most competitive schools, such as the Ivy Leagues, will usually require three. Or the schools that you wish to apply to may not require any at all.

Check your college applications for information on how many tests that institution wants its applicants to take. If you're still not sure, call the college or ask your guidance counselor.

Signing up for the SAT IIs is nearly the same as for the SATs. You still have to fill out that enormous booklet, but be sure to specify that you are taking the SAT IIs.

For a standard fee, you are allowed to take three tests on one date. Any additional tests will cost more. However, you do not have to take all three; you can choose one or two.

There are many things to consider when choosing which tests to take. The writing test is always a good choice. Colleges like to know that students can write, and though the test has elements of the verbal section of the SAT, it also includes composition, spelling and grammar.

There are two levels of math offered. If you have taken the general Regents sequence of math, it's best to stick with the first level, Math IC. If you are an AP calculus whiz, the Math IIC is the better choice.

Consider what your college major will be. If environmental science is what you want to study, the biology test is a good choice. If you want to go into classics, take the Latin test.

The SAT IIs give students a shot to show their strengths, but if it doesn't work out for the best, they can always have their scores erased.

Because the test can only help you, go for it.

Caroline Brancatella is a senior at Nardin Academy.

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