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ScholarMatch Guide to Standardized Testing

Step 1:Decide if testing is right for you

Due to COVID-19, many colleges and universities changed their test policies. Each campus has a different test policy.

Most policies fall into the categories below

Click each to learn more.

Test free

Test optional

Test flexible

Test required

Neither SAT or ACT scores will be considered in admission decisions.

Students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. Strong SAT or ACT scores may weigh positively in admission decisions.

You will need to submit either SAT or ACT scores to apply for admission.

Students may submit other test scores in place of the SAT or ACT, including International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement exams.

We recommend researching the test policy at each campus on your college list to determine if testing is right for you.

Check the admissions page of the college's website.

Other tools:

NACAC College Admission Status Update

List of Test Optional or Test Free Campuses

Using test policies to make your decision

You'll need to take the ACT or the SAT or adjust your college list.

Research the college's average SAT and ACT scores. If you believe you can meet or exceed these, submitting test scores may benefit your application.

Consider if you're already planning to take International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement exams to determine if you want to add an additional test.

You don't need to register for the SAT or ACT. Direct your focus towards other components of your application.

Test free

Test optional

Test flexible

Test required

Trying to decide whether to pursue test preparation for test optional schools? You can take a practiceACTorSATto get a sense of your current level.

Do you plan to test?



Yes, I plan to register for the SAT or ACT.

I'm not sure.


No, I do not plan to test.

Great! Keep on viewing to learn more about registering for and preparing for the SAT or ACT.

Keep reviewing to learn more about the SAT and ACT to help you make your decision.

Congratulations on making the right choice for you. SubmitMilestone 3to let us know more about your plans.

Step 2:Decide which test you plan to take


You've decided to test. Now it's time to choose between the SAT or ACT. There are some key differences between each test.


Compare the SAT and ACT

Step 3:Register for the test you have chosen

How to register

Ask your school counselor for fee waiver codes. You may be able to register for free!

Make sure the personal information you enter matches what is on your school or government identification.

Register for the SAT

Register for the ACT

Step 4:Prepare for your test

Preparing for your test

You can and should retake the test you choose. Each time will help improve your score. We recommend up to three times. Most colleges consider only your highest score.

Khan Academy SAT Prep


Step 5:Take your test and send your scores

Taking your test

Sending your ACT Scores

SENDing your SAT SCores

Make sure you have your school or government identification with you on test day.

After you receive your scores, be sure to send them to the colleges on your list.

Make sure you have printed your entry ticket. You will not be able to enter the testing site without it.

Test scores are just one component of your college application. Whether you test or not, there are many ways to show colleges your unique strengths.Let ScholarMatch know your testing plans by completing Milestone 3.

Milestone 3