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What's a Good Physics SAT Subject Test Score?

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

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

Is your Physics SAT Subject Test score good enough to get you into a top college or to earn college credit? This article will provide a general overview of what defines a good Physics SAT Subject Test score.

The chart at the bottom of the page shows the correlation between Physics SAT scores and the percentile ranking of students who took the exam. Thus, 77% of test takers scored a 740 or below on the Physics SAT Subject Test.

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 Physics SAT Subject Test, the mean score is 643 (compared to a mean of about 500 for individual 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 Physics SAT Subject Test to award course credit or to place students out of introductory level courses. A good score on the AP Physics exam, however, often will earn students college credit (especially the Physics-C exam).

Data source for the chart below: the College Board website.

Physics SAT Subject Test Scores and Percentiles

Physics SAT Subject Test Score Percentile
800 92
780 88
760 82
740 77
720 71
700 64
680 57
660 51
640 44
620 38
600 32
580 26
560 22
540 18
520 14
500 11
480 8
460 6
440 4
420 2
400 1
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