The SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test challenges you in the same areas as the Math Level 1 Subject Test with the addition of more difficult trigonometry and precalculus. If you're a rock star when it comes to all things math, then this is the test for you. It's designed to put you in your best light for those admissions counselors to see. The SAT Math Level 2 Test is one of many SAT Subject Tests offered by the College Board.
These puppies are not the same thing as the good ol' SAT.
SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test Basics
After you register for this bad boy, you're going to need to know what you're up against. Here are the basics:
- 60 minutes
- 50 multiple-choice questions
- 200-800 points possible
- You may use a graphing or scientific calculator on the exam, and just like with the Mathematics Level 1 Subject test, you're not required to clear the memory before it begins in case you want to add formulas. Cell phone, tablet, or computer calculators are not allowed.
SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test Content
Numbers and Operations
- Operations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences, series, vectors: Approximately 5-7 questions
Algebra and Functions
- Expressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modeling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, periodic, piecewise, recursive, parametric): Approximately 19 – 21 questions
Geometry and Measurement
- Coordinate (lines, parabolas, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, symmetry, transformations, polar coordinates): Approximately 5 – 7 questions
- Three-dimensional (solids, surface area and volume of cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, and prisms along with coordinates in three dimensions): Approximately 2 – 3 questions
- Trigonometry: (right triangles, identities, radian measure, law of cosines, law of sines, equations, double angle formulas): Approximately 6 – 8 questions
Data Analysis, Stats, and Probability
- Mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, standard deviation, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear, quadratic, exponential), probability: Approximately 4 – 6 questions
Why Take the SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test?
Because you can. This test is for those of you shining stars out there who find math pretty easy. It's also for those of you headed into math-related fields like economics, finance, business, engineering, computer science, etc. and typically those two types of people are one and the same. If your future career relies on mathematics and numbers, then you're going to want to showcase your talents, especially if you're trying to get into a competitive school. In some cases, you'll be required to take this test if you're headed into a mathematics field, so be prepared!
How to Prepare for the SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test
The College Board recommends 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.
In other words, they recommend that you major in math in high school. The test is definitely difficult, but is really the tip of the iceberg if you're headed into one of those fields. To get yourself prepared, make sure you've taken and scored at the top of your class in the courses above.
Sample SAT Mathematics Level 2 Question
Speaking of the College Board, this question, and others like it, are available for free. They also provide a detailed explanation of each answer, here. By the way, the questions are ranked in order of difficulty in their question pamphlet from 1 to 5, where 1 is the least difficult and 5 is the most. The question below is marked as a difficulty level of 4.
For some real number t, the first three terms of an arithmetic sequence are 2t, 5t - 1, and 6t + 2. What is the numerical value of the fourth term?
(A) 4
(B) 8
(C) 10
(D) 16
(E) 19
Answer: Choice (E) is correct. To determine the numerical value of the fourth term, first determine the value of t and then apply the common difference. Since 2t, 5t − 1, and 6t + 2 are the first three terms of an arithmetic sequence, it must be true that (6t + 2) − (5t − 1) = (5t − 1) − 2t, that is, t + 3 = 3t − 1. Solving t + 3 = 3t − 1 for t gives t = 2. Substituting 2 for t in the expressions of the three first terms of the sequence, one sees that they are 4, 9 and 14, respectively. The common difference between consecutive terms for this arithmetic sequence is 5 = 14 − 9 = 9 − 4, and therefore, the fourth term is 14 + 5 = 19.