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Updated: SAT and ACT test dates in a test-optional landscape

The application process to US universities can be complex and requires applicants to start the process early, ideally in year 10. This is because US universities assess an applicant from year nine and undertake a holistic admission process reviewing many components in the application process, including submitting either an SAT or ACT test score. US universities do not have a preference as to whether a student sits the SAT or the ACT. Both are private external tests measuring maths, English, and reading. The ACT has a separately scored science section.

Due to COVID-19 and testing date cancellations both in the US and globally, many US universities have temporarily amended their admission requirements to be ‘test-optional’. This means an application for admission may still be reviewed without the submission of an SAT or ACT test score. It is at the student’s discretion or ‘optional’ if they submit the test result as part of their application. However, if you are considering applying to highly selective universities, as many students we work with are, you may consider preparing and sitting one of these tests.

If you choose not to sit either the SAT or ACT test, you may still apply and will be considered for admission. And yes, test-optional means test-optional. Universities still accept qualified applicants even without test scores and the holistic admission process allows this to be possible.

The exceptions

There are a few institutions that are not test-optional for the upcoming application cycle and will require applicants to submit an SAT or ACT test score in order to be considered for admission. Some of these institutions include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as they have reverted to their pre-COVID policy of requiring a test result as well as public universities in the state of Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

What about redesigned/digital SAT?

In late January the College Board announced they will redesign the SAT. These changes will be implemented internationally beginning with the March 2023 test, and the following year for US testing centres. To date, very little information and no test prep material has been released about the redesign. Potential first year teething issues and the complexities of admission teams dealing with two very different SAT testing formats between the US and internationally may leave international students considering sitting the ACT instead. The ACT was already redesigned in 2017 when it moved to be an adaptive computer-based format.

If you have specific questions about your US university pathway opportunities or testing requirements, I encourage you to book an initial consult to discuss this further.

2022-23 Testing dates (anticipated)

27 August 2022 11 June 2022 1 October 2022 16 July

3 December 2022 10 September 2022

11 March 2023 22 October 2022

6 May 2023 10 December 2022

11 February 2023

15 April 2023

Registration fee for the SAT is US$108. and the ACT is US$171.50

Registration for tests held in July onward open in June.

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