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SAT II Test Prep

The SAT Subject tests are multiple-choice exams which each focus on a specific subject within the areas of English, math, history, foreign languages, and science.

Overview of Biology E/M Level 1 SAT II Tests

The Biology E/M Level 1 SAT II tests measures students’ ability to understand and apply the principles of biology, interpret results obtained by observation and experimentation, draw conclusions from experimental data, and solve problems with simple numerical calculations using the metric system. Calculators are not permitted, so the math will be fairly straightforward. Students who have taken one year of biology and one year of algebra may be good candidates for these tests, but we generally recommend taking the test at the end of the year in which Biology is taken. 

The Biology-E test (Ecological Biology) includes questions about biological communities, populations, and energy flow, while the Biology-M test (Molecular Biology) includes questions about biochemistry, cellular structure and processes, such as respiration and photosynthesis. You’ll decide which of these two tests to prepare for and take, but your decision isn’t official until you sit down to take the test, and choose either E or M. CATES suggest that students take a diagnostic test in both exams (we have real tests from past years) to see which test feels better for the student, but also to help us figure out on which test the student can make the most improvement.

To determine which test—Biology E or Biology M—is a better fit, feel free sign up for a diagnostic during one of our Free Mock Tests.

Format & Scoring

The Biology E/M Level 1 SAT II tests are one-hour tests that features 80 multiple-choice questions, each with five answer choices. There are 60 questions that are common to both tests, and 20 questions that are specialized for either the E or M test versions. The College Board awards one point for every correct answer, deducts one-quarter point for every incorrect answer, and neither awards or deducts points for unanswered questions. Like all SAT II Subject Tests, the scores on the Biology E/M Level 1 SAT II tests range from 200 to 800, with 800 being the highest possible score.

Percentiles

 Biology-EBiology-M
800 99th 98th
750 94th 88th
700 83rd 70th
650 66th 50th
600 47th 33rd
550 31st 20th
500 18th 12th

Content

 Biology-EBiology-M
Cellular and Molecular Biology:
  • Cell structure and organization
  • Mitosis
  • Photosynthesis
  • Cellular respiration
  • Enzymes
  • Biosynthesis
  • Biological chemistry
15% 27%
Ecology:
  • Energy Flow
  • Nutrient Cycles
  • Populations and Communities
  • Ecosystems and Biomes
  • Conservation Biology
  • Biodiversity
  • Effects of human intervention
23% 13%
Genetics:
  • Meiosis
  • Mendelian genetics
  • Inheritance patterns
  • Molecular genetics
  • Population genetics
15% 20%
Organismal Biology:
  • Structure and function
  • Development of organisms (emphasis on plants and animals)
  • Animal behavior
25% 25%
Evolution and Diversity:
  • Origin of life
  • Evidence of evolution
  • Patterns of evolution
  • Natural selection
  • Speciation
  • Classification and diversity of organisms
22% 15%

CATES Approach to the Biology E/M SAT II Subject Test

At CATES, we advise our students to take the Biology E/M Level 1 SAT II tests at the end of the year in which they took bio (often their freshman year), or the beginning of the following year.  While many students in a college-preparatory biology course have reviewed most of the material by the end of their freshman year, at CATES we find students can benefit from using the time over the summer to prepare for the fall (October or November) test dates. The summer allows students more time for additional practice and get better acquainted with some of the more obscure material on the test. As you can see, the test contains an overwhelming amount of content, and chances are you haven’t gone over every piece of it in detail in your classes at school. A comprehensive prep program is essential to scoring well on the Biology E/M SAT II.

At CATES, we begin with a diagnostic test to assess the immediate and long-term content and strategy needs. From there, we devise a customized study plan—complete with specifically chosen test prep materials geared towards the individual student’s needs—and teach students the content and strategies to maximize their score. We show the students the ins and outs of the exam, how to handle specific question types, how to manage time throughout the subsections of the test, and the particular test-taking challenges individual students must overcome in order to reach the target score.

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