SAT 2 Biology

The Information Hub for SAT Biology Test

The Biology test syllabus of SAT 2 includes the Biology topics that are taught in the American high school Biology course. It is also known as the Biology E/M test of SAT 2. The Biology E tests the additional topics of Ecology and Evolution whereas the Biology M tests the topics of Molecular Biology and Evolution. You can opt for either the E or the M set of questions but not both.

Subject Area Distribution

The Biology test paper lasts for an hour, divided in two segments. There are a total of 80 questions, of which 60 questions are common, irrespective of the elective you choose. You can expect the maximum number of questions from Organismal Biology, which accounts for approximately 22–26 questions. The rest of the topics, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Classical Genetics, ecology, Evolution and Diversity, carry about 10 questions on an average. The second part of the test counts for approximately 25 percent of the total number of questions (20 questions) and are from the chosen elective, E or M.

Biology test also includes a Math section. The questions are basic and limited to school level math such as ratio, metrics, and so on. Calculators are not allowed for the Math test and in most cases, you do not need them.


The scoring rule for Biology test is the same as for all the other SAT 2 tests. You get a mark for every correct answer. You lose ¼ mark for every incorrect answer. You get zero marks for not answering a question. The marks are combined to provide your sum total, which is then converted to a scaled score.

Question Format

Although there is no set format for Biology test, a pattern of questions is evident. The test is an assessment of your knowledge of Biology and the questions are framed in different ways to test your knowledge. The following are some of the types of questions asked in the test:

  • Classification Questions: Classification questions have a set of answers followed by statements linked to the answers. The answers are usually key words and the statements describe the key words and test your understanding of concepts. Thus, you generally need to be well versed in a topic to be able to answer such questions because the answers and statements are very closely related.

  • Experiment-Based Questions: These questions are scenario-based questions. The typical experiment-based question might be in the form of a passage of information, a figure/graph, or in the form of tables. This type of question is usually challenging because it tests your laboratory skills and reasoning skills. You must use your knowledge of interpreting scientific data and the concepts of Biology to answer such questions. There are also questions that require you to deduce the meaning of the data provided and answer the questions.

  • Multiple-Choice Questions: These types of questions are typically multiple-choice questions, with a question or statement followed by the possible answers. Some questions might not be conceptual; they may be based on a figure or scenario.

  • Figure-Based Questions: These questions are based on a figure or diagram followed by multiple-choice answers.

Knowledge Category

The question types discussed above can be divided into the following categories:

  • Recall: The questions that fall under this category are based on your knowledge of Biology and whether you are able to recollect the information, you have learned. Classification, Multiple-choice, and figure –based questions test this.

  • Laboratory, Interpretation, and Application: The questions that fall under this category are from the Experiment-based question type. They test your reasoning skills and the applicability of the reasoning to the questions asked.

You now have enough information to help you succeed in the Biology test. Being aware of the question format and the nature of questions is helpful to know so that you can prepare accordingly. However, nothing substitutes hard work and knowledge and this is what the Biology test of SAT 2 aims to assess.