College Admissions Intelligence
Practical guidance from a private college counselor
What is a Good Score on the SAT Subject Test?
That depends on a number of factors.
The maximum score on each test is 800 points. In the table below, you can see the mean scores (arithmetic average) for each of the available SAT Subject Tests in 2017. You can also see the standard deviation for each, which gives you an idea how wide the range of scores was for that particular Subject Test in 2017.
This will help you understand what a good score might look like in a given subject, but keep in mind that you’re not competing against others who took the same test as you so much as you are competing against others who are applying to the same colleges you are.
If you’re applying to Caltech, for instance, your score on the Math Level 2 would have to be considerably higher than the mean score below (their “middle 50% range” is a perfect 800).
One final point. Remember that college admissions officers will view these scores, as they try to view everything about your application, in context. If you’re a native Chinese speaker, a 780 on the Chinese subject test won’t dazzle them. If you started taking Chinese in high school and scored 700 on the same test, however, they will be more impressed.
Math Level I
Math Level II
Modern Hebrew (Reading)
So what is a good SAT Subject Test score for Ivy League Schools?
I get this question occasionally, especially from students who are aiming high. Before I address it, however, I want to reiterate that SAT Subject Tests are much less important than your regular SAT scores and the other major components of your application.
Now to answer the question. Most schools post the range of regular SAT scores achieved by the applicants they have already admitted (the middle 50%), and with highly selective schools those scores are very high. It's safe to assume that the range of SAT Subject Test scores will be equally strong.
While no one can tell you exactly how high your score must be to get into an Ivy League school (or other selective non-Ivies), I can safely say that —with certain exceptions —the people you're competing with tend to score in the upper half of the 700s.
The SAT, the ACT, and the SAT Subject Test
A Free Three-Minute Crash Course
If you want a quick, painless overview of these standardized tests, watch this brief video from Collegica's Junior Toolkit.
Cassie Nichols attended Princeton University, where she was an NCAA All-American and Academic All-American athlete, as well as captain of the Princeton women’s water polo team. After college, she conducted educational research at Yale University, taught literature and the college essay at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, and earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of The College Essay Trap, a veteran private college consultant, and is one of the founders of Collegica.