You took an SAT Subject Test™, and you just got your score report. Is it time to celebrate? Learn how colleges use your scores during the admission process and what makes a good SAT Subject Test Score.

How Are SAT Subject Tests Used by Colleges?

SAT Subject Test scores

Many colleges require or recommend one or more SAT Subject Tests. Because the tests are designed to measure knowledge in specific areas, colleges use them as another piece of admissions information, and, in some cases, to decide whether applicants can be exempted from college requirements. For example, a certain score may excuse you from a basic English class or a foreign language requirement. If you're not sure which Subject Tests to take, talk to your college counselor.

SAT Subject Test Scoring

Total Score

Subject Test scores are reported on a scale of 200–800 (an 800 is the highest score possible) for each of the 20 SAT Subjects. You’re given a raw score based on the number of questions you got right minus a fraction of a point for every wrong answer. The raw score is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 200 to 800. Each test has its own conversion scale.

Subscores (only for Language Tests)

If you take a take the audio portion of one of the SAT Language Tests (for example, “French with Listening”), you’ll receive subscores for reading and listening. Subscores are reported on a scale of 20–80.

Percentile Ranks

The percentile compares the score of everyone who took the same Subject Test. In other words, a percentile rank of 60 means that you scored higher than 60% of students who took that Subject Test. Use your rank to assess how competitive your scores are with other students.

What’s a Good Subject Test Score?

It depends on the college of your choice. A good SAT Subject Test Score is one that fits within the range of scores your college usually looks for or accepts. Many colleges are happy with scores of 650 or above, but highly selective schools may want to see a 700 or 750—or even higher. However, if your score falls below the normal score range for your dream school, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get in. Schools are often fairly flexible in what they are willing to look at as a “good” score for a certain student. 

If you’re wondering, “What’s better? A 600 in Math 2 or a 600 in U.S. History?” you should know that scores and percentile ranks from different subjects aren’t comparable. Different groups of students take each Subject Test.

Average SAT Subject Test Scores

Check out some of the average Subject Test scores for the graduating class of 2016.

SAT Subject TestAverage Score
Literature 599
U.S. History 624
World History 615
Math 1 599
Math 2 690
Ecological Biology 616
Molecular Biology 647
Chemistry 668
Physics 667
Spanish 653

Source:  The College Board

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