SAT Subject Test in Physics

The SAT Subject Test in Physics is the name of a one-hour multiple choice test given on physics by The College Board. A student chooses whether to take the test depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools in which the student is planning to apply. Until 1994, the SAT Subject Tests were known as Achievement Tests; until January 2005, they were known as SAT IIs; they are still well known by this name.

The Sat Subject Test in Physics has 75 questions and consist of two parts: Part A and Part B.

Part A:

* First 12 or 13 questions.
* 4 groups of 2 to 4 questions each.
* The questions within any one group all relate to a single situation.
* 5 possible answer choices are given before the question.
* An answer choice can be used once, more than once, or not at all in each group.

Part B:

* Last 62 or 63 questions
* Each question has 5 possible answer choice with 1 correct answer
* Some questions may be in groups of 2 or 3

Major Topics % on Test
Mechanics 36-42
Electricity and Magnetism 18-24
Waves 15-19
Heat, Kinetic Theory and Thermodynamics 6-11
Modern Physics 6-11
Miscellaneous 4-9

The test has 75 multiple choice questions that are to be answered in one hour. All questions have five answer choices. Students receive 1 point for every correct answer, lose ¼ of a point for each incorrect answer, and receive 0 points for questions left blank. This score is then converted to a scaled score of 200-800. The mean score for the 2006-07 test administrations was 643 with a standard deviation 107. Sample percentile ranks for the 2008 are available from the College Board. The College Board's recommended preparation is a one-year college preparatory course in physics, a one-year course in algebra and trigonometry, and experience in the laboratory. The student is not allowed to use any textbook or notes during the test. Although there are math questions including trigonometry, the use of a calculator is not allowed. No formula sheet or scrap paper is given (or can be brought). All scratch work must be done directly in the test booklet.


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