SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M

The SAT Subject Test in Biology is the name of a one-hour multiple choice test given on biology by The College Board. A student chooses whether to take the test depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools in which the student is planning to apply. Until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests; and from 1995 until January 2005, they were known as SAT IIs. Of all SAT subject tests, the Biology E/M test is the only SAT II that allows the test taker a choice between the ecological or molecular tests. A set of 60 questions is taken by all test takers for Biology and a choice of 20 questions is allowed between either the E or M tests. This test is graded on a scale between 200 and 800. The average for Molecular is 630 while Ecological is 591.[1]


This test has 80 multiple-choice questions that are to be answered in one hour. All questions have five answer choices. Students receive one point for each correct answer, lose ¼ of a point for each incorrect answer, and receive 0 points for questions left blank.[2] The student's score is based entirely on his or her performance in answering the multiple-choice questions.

The questions cover a broad range of topics in general biology. There are more specific questions related respectively on ecological concepts (such as population studies and general Ecology) on the E test and molecular concepts such as DNA structure, translation, and biochemistry on the M test.[3]


The College Board suggests a year-long course in biology at the college preparatory level, as well as a one-year course in algebra, and lab experience as preparation for the test. The test requires understanding of biological data and concepts, science-related terms, and the ability to effectively synthesize and interpret data from charts, maps, and other visual media.[3] However, most questions from this test are derived from, or are similar to, the pre-2012 AP Biology multiple choice questions. By taking an AP class or a class with similar rigor, one's chances at doing well on this test should improve.

See also


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