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What Does Test-Optional Mean?


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 take a holistic admission process reviewing many components in the application process, including submitting either an SAT or ACT test score.


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 top tired universities, as many students we work with are, you may consider preparing and sitting one of these tests with an expectation to do well and demonstrate your academic fluency. This is of course, provided the tests are running in your city as NSW lockdown orders and remote learning in Sydney are not paving an optimistic view for test dates running as scheduled in greater Sydney.


If you choose not to sit either the SAT or ACT test, you can 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.


Students completing their HSC or IB in 2022 or 2023 should continue to watch this space as US universities announce their future testing policies for your respective admission intakes.

I appreciate it’s confusing!


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.


Related article: No Testing Required for 2021-22 US University Admissions


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