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What's a Good Biology SAT Subject Test Score?

Learn What Biology Exam Score You Need for College Admission and College Credit


Cell Biology and the Brain

Cell Biology and the Brain

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More SAT Subjects: Biology | Chemistry | Literature | Math | Physics

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:

As this limited data shows, a strong application will usually have SAT Subject Test scores in the 700s. Realize, however, that all elite schools have a holistic admissions process, and significant strengths in other areas can make up for a less-than-ideal test score.

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)
800 99 98
780 98 95
760 96 90
740 93 84
720 89 77
700 83 69
680 77 62
660 70 55
640 63 47
620 56 40
600 48 34
580 42 28
560 35 23
540 29 18
520 24 14
500 19 11
480 15 9
460 11 7
440 8 5
420 6 4
400 4 3

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