What's a Good Biology SAT Subject Test Score?

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

You're going to want a score over 700 on the Biology SAT Subject exams.
You're going to want a score over 700 on the Biology SAT Subject exams. jepoirrier / Flickr

In general, you're going to want a Biology SAT Subject Test Score in the 700s for highly selective colleges and universities. A lower score won't exclude you from serious consideration, but the majority of admitted students will have scores of 700 or higher.

What Biology SAT Subject Test score you are going to need, of course, 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.

While no such tool exists for the Biology exam, you can use this free calculator from Cappex to learn your chances of being admitted based on your GPA and general SAT scores.

The table 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, 72% of test takers scored a 700 or below on the Ecological Biology exam, and 61% 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 616, and for the Molecular Biology exam, the mean is 647 (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.

Also realize that the majority of colleges do not require SAT Subject Tests, and schools such as Princeton recommend but do not require the exams.

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 table below: the College Board website.

Biology SAT Subject Test Scores and Percentiles

Biology SAT Subject Test ScorePercentile (Ecological)Percentile (Molecular)
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "What's a Good Biology SAT Subject Test Score?" ThoughtCo, Jul. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/biology-sat-subject-test-score-788682. Grove, Allen. (2017, July 12). What's a Good Biology SAT Subject Test Score? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/biology-sat-subject-test-score-788682 Grove, Allen. "What's a Good Biology SAT Subject Test Score?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/biology-sat-subject-test-score-788682 (accessed January 17, 2018).