Testing requirements vary from college to college. All colleges accept test scores from either the SAT or ACT. A growing number of colleges have become "test optional," which means they do not require applicants to submit standardized test results. Other colleges now accept a variety of subject test scores, AP test scores, graded papers, etc. in lieu of SAT or ACT scores. It is important to be aware of the testing requirements of each college on your list.
SAT Subject Test requirements vary considerably as well. Many institutions welcome SAT Subject Test results but do not require them. Since a number of colleges add or drop Subject Test requirements from year to year, it is important to research the requirements of each of the colleges to which you will apply. Not meeting testing requirements—especially when applying to highly selective colleges—may weaken your application in relation to other applicants or render it "incomplete."
If applying Early Decision or Early Action, it is especially important to be aware of testing requirements, especially for Subject Tests. The October, and sometimes November SAT test dates, are early enough for scores to be considered in the early plans of some, but not all, colleges and universities.
Students who qualify for and plan to take extended time tests must contact Episcopal's Academic Support Center
to make arrangements. Both the SAT and ACT programs have very specific and somewhat rigid qualification standards for extended-time testing qualification.
Registration deadlines are important! Students are required to register for all admission tests ahead of time, and the testing agencies are very strict about registration deadlines, which are well in advance of the testing dates. Testing centers—and especially the one located near EHS—fill up early, so register for the tests as early as possible. The T.C. Williams High School test center in Alexandria (test center #47115), is the closest site to register for standardized tests.
Please note: Students must send their own scores directly from the test website to each college they apply to.
Many colleges require students to have all scores sent directly from the SAT and/or ACT website.
There are six types of tests commonly used by colleges and scholarship sponsors to evaluate a candidate’s ability and achievement.
Taken in October of sophomore and junior years.
The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is used primarily as a practice test to prepare students to take the SAT in the junior and senior years.
National Merit Scholarships and recognition are based on results of the PSAT given in the fall of the student’s junior year (also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or NMSQT).
You do not get two chances at posting a National Merit score. Students who repeat a year, for example, and take the test officially a second time, will find their scores flagged (with an asterisk) to indicate their ineligibility for National Merit recognition.
At EHS, the PSAT is taken for practice by sophomores.
SAT Reasoning Test
Taken in winter and/or spring of junior year and fall of senior year
SAT Subject Tests
Taken in junior spring and/or November or December of senior year
These one-hour tests are designed to measure a student’s level of achievement in a particular subject, such as English, foreign language, history, mathematics, or science.
Up to three Subject Tests can be taken on one test date. Certain Subject Tests are offered only on specific dates, and students need to carefully plan their test schedule.
We recommend that students take the Subject Tests in May of junior year and/or in November or December of senior year. Students must closely check Subject Test requirements at each college. While many colleges do not require SAT Subject Tests, some require two or three of the tests for admission, and others use them for placement. Failure to meet these requirements can place a student at a minor or even significant disadvantage in the admission process.
Most institutions do not specify which Subject Tests a student should take, but some do have very specifically defined requirements.
American College Test (ACT)
Taken in spring of junior year and/or fall of senior year
The ACT consists of four sections covering English use, reading, mathematics, and natural sciences reasoning. Since most colleges also require the ACT’s optional writing section, EHS students should plan to take that portion of the test.
Most colleges throughout the country accept both the ACT and the SAT. Thus, it is sometimes an advantage to send colleges scores from both tests. Many institutions will base an admission decision on a higher ACT or SAT score when students submit both.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Colleges usually require students whose native language is not English to take the TOEFL.
Because the verbal portion of the SAT does not always provide an accurate measure of the non-native speaker’s fluency in English or verbal abilities, the TOEFL can provide colleges with a more accurate indication of a student’s command of English. Many colleges require international students to submit a TOEFL score, in addition to SAT scores.
Register early for this test since test centers tend to fill up quickly.
Most colleges publish the minimum TOEFL score required for admission.
Advanced Placement (AP) Tests
Some colleges accept AP exam scores in place of standardized test scores. Also, when colleges review high school transcripts, they note enrollment in Advanced classes. Higher scores on AP exams earned during junior year can enhance their admission profile.
AP exams are given in May and cover the equivalent of college-level material in a specific Advanced course. The exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. While placement and credit policies vary from college to college, scores of 4 and 5 – and sometimes 3 – can earn students advanced college credit and/or placement.
Advanced Placement scores are not on the EHS transcript. When requested, we will report AP scores to colleges on the transcript. Strong sophomore or junior AP scores may enhance your application.
LEARNING DIFFERENCES AND EXTENDED TIME TESTS
The SAT and ACT tests are offered in different forms to accommodate students with learning differences or disabilities. Students who qualify for these tests may take them with extended time and in other special needs formats.
At many institutions, there are no special tracks or special programs for students with learning disabilities. Other colleges can offer extensive programs and accommodations. Admission committees will consider a student’s academic record at Episcopal to be an important predictor of the student’s success in college.
Taking Non-Standard Tests
The Educational Testing Service of the College Board offers non-standard administration of the SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests and the Advanced Placement exams to qualified students. Please note the process for requesting extended time for the SAT (from College Board) is a separate process from requesting it for the ACT.
Approval for accommodations is separate from, and not guaranteed by, approval for academic accommodations by Episcopal High School.
The ACT has established policies regarding documentation of an applicant's disability and the process for requesting accommodations. For details, visit www.act.org/aap/disab/policy.html
No distinction is made on the score report for students who have taken the SAT or ACT exam with extended time. Scores appear exactly as scores from regular administrations.
In order to qualify for accommodations on College Board and ACT tests, students must have a complete psycho-educational evaluation. Please contact Episcopal's Academic Support Center
for more information on required documentation.
Please note that the process for requesting extended time from the College Board is a separate process from requesting it for the ACT.