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The results of your SATs and/or ACTs are the second most important part of your preparation for the college admissions process-right after your grades.

Most of the colleges and universities in the United States require results from one of these tests as a part of your college application portfolio.

Part of your college search should include learning the range of ACT or SAT scores your schools of interest find acceptable for consideration for admission.

Are there any colleges that do not require the SAT or ACT?

Yes, there are about 800 schools that regard the SATs or ACTs as optional. You will find them listed in alphabetical order or state-by-state at the Web site for the "The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

Some schools require SAT Subject Matter Tests, formerly known as the SAT II exams.

These tests are in addition to the SAT I Reasoning Test, or the ACT.

Check out your schools of interest to see if they require SAT Subject Matter tests.

Then visit our

SAT Subject Matter Tests pages for complete information.

There are other tests, given for other reasons. For American high school students, the SATs and the ACT are the tests you take to be considered for admission to almost all colleges and universities.

There are other tests some can take to earn college credit that enables them to graduate sooner.

Foreign and international students take certain tests in addition to the SATs or ACT.

College Entrance Exams

to become familiar with college entrance tests and their acronyms.

More SAT Questions and Answers are here


No matter which you choose, first you take the PSATs,(Not required, and really only useful for practice and NMS consideration), then it's time to get down to business.

While colleges accept either the SAT I or the ACT, there are differences between the two tests and sometimes a student will perform better on one than on the other.

The SAT I is a test of logic and strategy, while the ACT is considered a knowledge-based exam.

The SAT I consists of three parts:

  • Math

  • Critical Reading

  • Multiple Choice Writing test, which includes a 25 minute essay.

The math test includes questions on algebra, geometry, Algebra II, functions, and a few trig questions.

The Critical Reading sections consist of sentence completion exercises, short reading paragraphs and long reading passages.

The SAT can be described as a test of logic and reasoning.

The ACT exam consists of four sections:

  • Math

  • Critical reading

  • The Science Reasoning test

  • Multiple choice writing test with an optional essay. (HINT: Elect to write the essay.)

The SATs and ACTs are considered to be an indicator of how well applicants will manage academically in the first year of college.

Success on the tests can also help the overall view of college admissions toward your application. In California, scores affect your overall "index" score.

In addition, since some high schools may be better than others, these exams create a standard method of measuring all students.

In California, for instance, for the California State University and the University of California, a candidate may take either or both the SATs and ACTs.

The Cal State system requires that all testing be finished by October 31 of the senior year, and the UC system requires that all testing be completed by December of that same year.

Most public and private schools in the United States accept one or the other of these tests.


There are about 800 colleges and universities that do not require one or the other of the tests.

A while back, a small percentage of private schools announced that they would not be requiring the SATs and ACTs. Gradually, and quietly, many of these schools have reinstated their requirements for one or the other of the tests, for a variety of reasons.

  • One reason for the use of the tests is that students compare their scores with the averages listed by each school to get a feel for whether or not they are a fit for that particular school.

    Check out the admissions requirements for each of your schools of interest so you know their testing requirements, important dates, and preferred test results.

    Should I study for the SATs and ACTS?

    Yes, you should study for the SATs and ACTS. Your competition will be studying, and remember that they are second only to your grades in importance.

    GOOGLE Search for SAT/ACT Information

    To return to our SAT index, go back to the main SAT page

    Study for the SATs and Acts on your own, with help from our plan

    Take the free SAT online at CollegeBoard, write the essay, print comprehensive report

    Top SAT tips and strategies

    Learn about the ACTs and sign up

    Sign up for the SATs

    More SATs Questions and Answers

    SAT Subject Matter Tests (Formerly the SAT IIs)

    Colleges Not Requiring ACT/SATs

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