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SAT II Physics

  1. Aug 25, 2009 #1
    I want to take SAT II Physics test in November. Problem is that I don't have any prior knowledge of the subject. I'm highly interested in it and have an idea about some topics since I'm also studying Mechanics in Math.

    I want to know whether it is possible to self-study for the test and score a decent score before November. Also, from which book/internet resource should I study from? I have easy access to the Barron's book, and also might be able to find Princeton Review. Here are the topics which the book covers, if any of you don't know:


    I want to do this for 3 reasons:
    1. I'm interested in Physics and want a basic and good knowledge of it.
    2. The knowledge of it will help me immensely when doing the Mechanics portions of my Math and Further Math classes.
    3. I'll be able to take a SAT II other than Math IIC and it will help me meet the basic requirement of SAT IIs for many universities (2 subjects)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2009 #2


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    Mechanics, E&M, and modern physics in just 3 months?

    Even at the basic level, cramming all those stuff in a short amount of time (especially when you have no prior knowledge of the subject) will be, in the least, tough.
  4. Aug 25, 2009 #3


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    And you're not going to "learn physics" just by cramming all the materials and taking a test.
  5. Aug 25, 2009 #4
    Well I'm not saying that I want to get an 800 in it. Just want a respectable score and a good basic knowledge of the subject.

    Oh, and I have a strong mathematical background and have a good idea of some of the stuff in mechanics, if that makes any difference.
  6. Aug 26, 2009 #5
    Looking at practice tests as someone who also is interested in the SAT Physics Test, pretty much most of the stuff there is common sense ideas.
  7. Aug 26, 2009 #6


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  8. Aug 26, 2009 #7


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    It definitely is possible to learn physics in 3 months and get 800. There's not a whole lot of memorization, so as long as you have an intuitive feel for the concepts in high-school physics, teaching yourself shouldn't be that hard. The SAT II physics tests mainly for speed: there are 75 questions and it's hard to finish all of them on time, so both knowing and understanding formulas is a must. That said, the questions themselves aren't complicated. There are no long derivations, no 40-line calculations, no need to solve systems with 7 linear equations, etc.

    One thing to note is that getting anything less than 13 questions wrong will pretty much guarantee a 800. Of course, loads of other students will also be getting 800, but College Board doesn't seem inclined to up their standards.
  9. Aug 26, 2009 #8


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    Well the OP said that he hasn't had much exposure to physics before, other than a little bit of mechanics, which made me kind of skeptical a bit.

    I haven't actually taken the test before, but by looking at the questions, they do seem pretty basic.
  10. Aug 26, 2009 #9
    I got the Princeton Review book today and it seems like a really good book for learning the concepts.

    And yeah according to the stats College Board has released 9% of the students get 800 in Physics, and even with omitting about 31 questions you can still score around 700, so that definitely takes some load off.

    And I don't exactly have 3 months. More like 70 days. The test is on November 9. I'll start studying tomorrow and we'll see how it goes.
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