Biology E vs. Biology M

October 11, 2006 at 6:43 am 3 comments

Posted by Dee

The Story: At the end of junior year, I show up on SAT testing day to take the US History, Math Level 2, and Biology E/M SAT Subject Test exams. The first two tests were completed and in the final hour of the exam seating I moved on to taking the Biology exam. And then I was asked which emphasis I wanted to take.

What?! The College Board is giving me a choice on an SAT exam?!

But, which exam to choose? The Ecological (E) emphasis or the Molecular (M) emphasis? In the 20 seconds before the proctor got irritated with my indecision, I had to weigh my knowledge of each subject while managing my panic in thinking that I may choose the wrong one!

The Moral: Don’t do what I did in respect to the Biology E/M exam! Choose which emphasis you will do before you get there!

But, how do you choose? Which emphasis do colleges like better? Is one easier than another? These questions I did not feel I was able to answer alone, so after Facebooking over a dozen college friends who took the Biology SAT Subject Test to solicit their advice, I think I’ve arrived to some appropriate and helpful answers.

Which emphasis do colleges like better?

Colleges don’t care. What they do care about is how well you do on the test though. So, choose the emphasis that you know is your forte.

Is one easier than another?

The consensus seems to be this: the Ecological emphasis material is generally simpler than Molecular, so the questions are written to be more difficult where as the Molecular questions are not made as difficult because the subject matter is naturally harder; this way the two are balanced. The Molecular emphasis though is known to have a more difficult curve than the Ecological emphasis; this is due to factors regarding the other students taking the Molecular emphasis and how well these students generally do on it.

The Bottom Line: Definitely go into the Biology E/M test knowing ahead of time which emphasis you are choosing, and go for the emphasis you are most comfortable with. Most of the students I spoke to supported doing practice questions from both sets of exams to get a feel for the type and difficulty of questions asked too. Take these considerations into mind when making your decision.


Entry filed under: Academics, Biology, College Board, Mathematics, SAT, Subject test, Testing, Tips/Tricks, US history.

A few words on SAT Subject Tests Yes, there’s a CD player policy

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sam Jackson  |  October 12, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    I did the Biology E because we were studying Ecology at the time, whereas we hadn’t touched most Molecular stuff since the fall. This made it a pretty easy choice for me.

  • 2. Lisa  |  May 24, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Take the E. Its very easy.

  • 3. Mia  |  June 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I did M….but it was so hard…i know i probably got a 630…..that is like a really bad score rite?


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