Is your Biology SAT Subject Test score good enough to get you into a top college or to earn college credit? The answer will vary a bit from college to college, but this article will give a general overview of what defines a good Biology SAT Subject Test score.
The chart at the bottom of the page shows the correlation between Biology SAT scores and the percentile ranking of students who took the Ecological Biology and the Molecular Biology exam. Thus, 83% of test takers scored a 700 or below on the Ecological Biology exam, and 69% scored below 700 on the Molecular Biology exam.
SAT Subject Test scores can't be compared to general SAT scores because the subject tests are taken by a higher percentage of high achieving students than the regular SAT. Primarily elite and highly selective schools require SAT Subject Test scores, whereas the majority of colleges and universities require SAT or ACT scores. As a result, the average scores for SAT Subject Tests are significantly higher than those for the regular SAT. For the Ecological Biology SAT Subject Test, the mean score is 591, and for the Molecular Biology exam the mean is 630 (compared to an average of about 500 for sections of the regular SAT).
Most colleges do not publicize their SAT Subject Test admissions data. However, for elite colleges you will ideally have scores in the 700s. Here are what a few colleges say about the SAT Subject Tests:
- MIT: The middle 50% of students scored between 720 and 800 on SAT II Subject Tests in science (from MIT's admissions statistics for the class of 2013)
- Middlebury College: "We are accustomed to seeing ... SAT IIs that range from the low to middle 700s" (from Middlebury admission FAQs)
- Princeton University: the middle 50% of admitted applicants averaged scores between 710 and 790 on their three highest SAT II Subject Tests (from the 2006 - 07 Princeton Profile)
- UCLA: about 75% of admitted students scored between 700 and 800 on their best SAT Subject Test; 19% scored between 600 and 690; for admitted students, the average score for the best SAT Subject Test was 734 (675 for the second best subject) (from the UCLA Profile of Admitted Freshmen)
- Williams College: For the class of 2013, 33% of students scored between 750 and 800; 22% scored between 700 and 740; 21% scored between 650 and 690; 13% scored between 600 and 640; and 8% scored between 550 and 590 (from the Williams class of 2013 profile)
Very few colleges use the Biology SAT Subject Test to award course credit or to place students out of introductory level courses. A good score on the AP Biology exam, however, often will earn students college credit.
Data source for the chart below: the College Board website.
Biology SAT Subject Test Scores and Percentiles
|Biology SAT Subject Test Score||Percentile (Ecological)||Percentile (Molecular)|