Set a Target Score
Set a Target Score
You can make the job of pacing yourself much easier if you go into the test knowing how many questions you have to answer correctly in order to earn the score you want. What score do you want to get? Obviously, you should strive for the best score possible, but be realistic: consider how much you know about biology and how well you do, generally, on these sorts of tests. You should also do a little research and find out what counts as a good score to the colleges to which you’re applying: is it a 600? 680? Talk to the admissions offices of the colleges you might want to attend, do a little research in college guidebooks, or talk to your guidance counselor. Find out the average score of a student admitted to the schools of your choice, and set your target score above it (you want to be above average, right?). Then take a look at the chart we showed you before. You can score:
  • 800 if you answered 79 right and left 1 blank
  • 750 if you answered 73 right, 4 wrong, and left 3 blank
  • 700 if you answered 67 right, 8 wrong, and left 5 blank
  • 650 if you answered 60 right, 12 wrong, and left 8 blank
  • 600 if you answered 54 right, 16 wrong, and left 10 blank
Suppose the average score on the SAT II Biology for the school you’re interested in is 650. Set your target at about 700. To get that score, you need to get 67 questions right, while leaving yourself room to get 8 wrong and leave 5 blank. In other words, you can leave a number of tough questions blank, get a bunch more wrong, and still earn the score you want. As long as you have some idea of how many questions you need to answer, bearing in mind that you’ll likely get some questions wrong, you can pace yourself accordingly. Taking practice tests is the best way to work on your pacing. See how many questions you can leave blank and still get the score you want, and you’ll have a better sense of what to aim at on the big day.
If you find yourself effortlessly hitting your target score when you take the practice tests, don’t just pat yourself on the back. Set a higher target score and start gunning for that one. The purpose of buying this book and studying for the test is to improve your score as much as possible, so be sure to push your limits.
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