The ACT and SAT

Admissions exams are a way for universities to compare applicants who might come from different backgrounds and educational systems across the USA and the world.

Results are used to support part of a university’s admissions and merit-based scholarship decisions. They can assess, among other things:

  • Verbal reasoning and language analysis
  • Critical reading
  • Writing
  • Mathematics and data analysis

Are they required?

Universities can set their own admission requirements. Most will require the submission of admissions exam scores.

However, some universities are test optional. This means they will not hold it against applicants who do not submit scores. In lieu of a test score, a test optional institution might require you to submit a graded piece of coursework or controlled assessment.

A full list of test optional institutions can be found on

View the pages in this section to learn more about the exams, testing dates and useful tips.