Yes, there’s a CD player policy

October 12, 2006 at 2:03 am Leave a comment

Posted by Dee

I made the mistake of taking the French Language with Listening SAT Subject Test.

I took the exam as a high school sophomore because I was in French 4AP and had heard from peers that they had heard the SAT Subject Tests with Listening were easier than the regular Language tests. (No one ever told me what the basic rationale was for thinking that this was so; I can only guess that perhaps they thought ‘less smart’ people were taking the exam which would make it easier for a smarter person to be at the top part of the curve.) According to the College Board, colleges like to see a student take the Language with Listening exam so that they get a “fuller picture of your ability” and so that it’s easier for them to place a student in college language courses, but honestly, no college I know of demands the Language with Listening exam over the regular Language SAT Subject Test, and they certainly don’t seem to discourage taking just the Language exam.

Even though I did get above a 700 on the SAT Subject Test, and it was a score high enough to skip out of my college language requirements, I’d like to caution students against taking Language with Listening just because it’s supposedly easier.

Besides the fact that I don’t think it’s necessarily true that Language with Listening is easier, I would avoid taking Language with Listening first for the simple reason that you do not want to have to deal with the damn CD players and headphones, and any problems that come up because of them.

Apparently they changed the device policy from back when I took the exam, because three years ago they only allowed tape cassette players with headphones. It was incredibly cumbersome getting the thing to work properly, and even when it did work I got so nervous about missing something and then not being able to rewind back that I felt as though it truly threw me off.

I also caution against the Language with Listening exams because they can only be taken during the November test date, and only during the first hour of testing. I definitely feel that if I would’ve waited until a later test date to do my language SAT Subject Test, I may have known more material and scored higher. Also, if you’re not at your best in testing in another language at 8 a.m., this might be another contributing factor against doing the Language with Listening exam.

If you do decide to take the Language with Listening exam, here’s some advice:

1. Get new batteries, or at least check to see the ones you have are working!
2. Bring headphones.
3. You are not allowed to use a CD player with “recording or duplicating capabilities.”
4. Bring a backup CD player because if yours breaks, your score for the language exam will be cancelled.
5. This should be a duh, but you can’t share CD players, the volume can’t bother fellow students, and if your CD doesn’t work, ask the proctor for another one!

Granted, some of the language exams you must do with the listening portion, but I’d avoid it if you can. (See the post titled, “A few words on SAT Subject Tests” for which specific tests include the listening portion and which are offered with reading only.) I’d love to hear from anyone who had a positive experience with the Language with Listening exam; leave a comment!


Entry filed under: Academics, AP, AP French, CD player, College Board, French, German, Headphones, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Reading, Reading comprehension, SAT, SAT II, Spanish, Subject test, Testing, Tips/Tricks.

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