Before applying to any college, students must have a good understanding of what tests may be required for admissions. Many colleges use the results of standardized tests, along with other application items, to determine a student’s college readiness.

In this blog, we will share the required exams for US college admissions and an alternative option that may be appealing for some.

What Tests Are Required For US College Admissions?

Scores from the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or the ACT (American College Test) may be required for admissions. All colleges accept both exams. Ultimately, the decision is up to the individual as to which exam they decide to focus on or feel most comfortable taking. 

It is recommended that students begin (online self-paced, private, group, or self-study) tutorials before making any attempt to take the exam.

Please Note – Additional tests may be required for international students. Contact the admissions office at each college or review the website to determine if any further testing is needed.

Is the SAT Subject Test required? 

The SAT Subject Test (aka SAT II) allows students to demonstrate their mastery over a subject in the areas of math, science, history, English, and foreign languages. We recommend students take the SAT Subject Test after three consecutive years of taking a foreign language course or immediately after completing the course in high school. The required preparation for the AP exam can help students prepare for the Subject Test too.

(Did you know that the College Board is the administers of both the AP exam and the SAT Subject Test?)

We recommend that students review the admissions website of each college to determine if the SAT Subject Test is recommended or required. The college may not require it, but we suggest that you consider taking it anyway, especially when applying to any highly competitive colleges.

Regardless if it is not required, we highly recommend that students who are interested in majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) add this exam to their testing plan. Taking this test is another way to demonstrate your interest in your future course of study. It could also help in standing out in a sea of other applicants.

How do I register for these exams? 

SAT – College Board – – This website includes information on the SAT and SAT Subject Test, registration dates, and how to submit your scores to a college.

ACT – – This website includes information on the ACT, registration dates, and how to submit your scores to a college.

Here is the link to the 2019-2020 Exam Dates and an explanation of the differences between the ACT and SAT.

Not happy with your test scores?

If you are a student that believes your test scores do not accurately reflect your academic potential, then you may want to consider checking out the list of colleges at that offer test-optional and test-flexible plans.

Test-Optional: Applicants are not required to submit SAT, ACT, or Subject Test scores to be considered for admissions.

Test-Flexible: Applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores but are required to submit some type of standardized test, i.e. SAT Subject Test, IB, or AP scores.

Currently, there are over 1,000 colleges and universities that do not use the SAT/ACT to admit applicants. Some popular colleges/universities that have test-option or test-flexible policies include University of Chicago, George Washington University, Wake Forest University, American University, Emerson College, Skidmore College, New York University, and Temple University.  

Now don’t think that because you chose the test-optional or test-flexible path that you are off the hook. Instead of test scores, you may be required to write additional essays, be interviewed, submit graded assignments, have a minimum GPA, or additional letters of recommendation.

Before eliminating the option of taking the SAT/ACT, confirm that you are not removing yourself from being considered for any of the merit scholarship opportunities that are tied to your test results. Some institutions may have restrictions on their test-optional and test-flexible policies, so be sure to review the admissions website carefully. 

USCE TIPS – Review the most recently published average test scores of the incoming freshman class.

#1. If your SAT/ACT scores are under the average, then we recommend taking advantage of the test-optional or test-flexible policy.

#2. If your SAT/ACT scores are within or above the average, then we recommend submitting your scores. It is possible that your score could boost your chances of admissions.

Not sure which testing option to pursue? Let us know down below or contact us today. 

US College Experts is an educational consulting company entirely dedicated to preparing, inspiring, and connecting students to the best college opportunities.

To learn how US College Experts can help you with the college preparation process, email, visit or call 301.744.0456 to schedule your FREE 20 Minute Introductory Call.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons