Which States Require the SAT? Complete List (2023)

Which States Require the SAT? Complete List (1)

The College Board offers a program called SAT School Day, which, as the name suggests, allows schools to offer the SAT to students during the week, generally for free.

In some states, all high school juniors are required to take the SAT under this program, while in others only some are. Read on to learn more about this program and what it means for you.

Why Do Some States Require the SAT?

When statewide testing started, Colorado and Illinois decided to partner with ACT, Inc., to use the ACT as the assessment for 11th graders. This plan was meant to eliminate an extra test for students who were already planning to apply to college while also encouraging those who weren't planning for college to consider it. Over the next decade and a half, the two states became 20, and the ACT replaced the SAT as the most popular college admissions test in the US.

In 2010, the College Board introduced a similar program (called SAT School Day) that was meant to increase access to the SAT for low-income students. Although the program caught on in a few places (most notably Delaware), the SAT wasn't as widely accepted as an assessment test because it's generally considered to test aptitude rather than knowledge. For the 2014-15 school year, only three states offered the SAT free to all juniors, though certain districts or schools did so in a handful more.

However, the redesigned SAT (released in 2016) seems to be shifting the momentum. One of the primary goals of the overhaul was to align the SAT with Common Core standards, making it far more appealing as an assessment test than the older version of the test.

Which States Require the SAT?

In total, 20 states (plus Washington, DC) are contracted with the College Board to administer the SAT to some or all high school juniors for free. Let's go through the exact situation for each state, one at a time. (Note that these statements only apply to public school students.)


As of the 2016-17 school year, all Colorado juniors in public schools are eligible to take the SAT through Colorado's SAT School Day.


As of the 2015-16 school year, all juniors attending Connecticut public schools will take the SAT.

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In 2016, the SAT replaced Delaware's Smarter Assessment state test for 11th graders.

District of Columbia

Although it's not required, the SAT is offered for free to all juniors and seniors in Washington, DC.


Each year, Idaho offers a free administration of the SAT to high school juniors.


Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, all Illinois juniors must take the SAT. Additionally, beginning in spring 2022, some public school students in grade 12 may be required to take the SAT, depending on their fulfillment of high school course requirements and prior completion of the SAT.


Beginning in 2022, Indiana public high school juniors are required to take the SAT in order to graduate. SAT School Day testing will be offered in the spring.


Michigan administered the SAT to juniors statewide for the first time in the 2015-16 school year. Previously, students were given the ACT. The SAT is required for Michigan public school students who are in 11th grade.

New Hampshire

As of spring 2016, all New Hampshire juniors must take the SAT.


To graduate high school in Ohio, students must meet threshold scores on the SAT or ACT.


Students in Oklahoma must take either the SAT or ACT, with the choice of test being determined by each individual school district.

Rhode Island

Since the 2017-18 school year, all Rhode Island 11th graders must take the SAT.

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South Carolina

Students in South Carolina aren’t required to take the SAT or ACT in order to graduate, but South Carolina public schools do offer an SAT school day to all high school juniors.


Students must take either the SAT or ACT.

West Virginia

All juniors must take the SAT unless taking the West Virginia Alternative Summer Assessment.

Other States

There are a number of other states where some schools or districts can administer the SAT to their students (either as an option or a requirement). These states include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, and Washington. Keep in mind that these schools and districts don't require students to take the SAT, nor is it a requirement for graduation.

To find out whether your school offers SAT School Day and/or requires the SAT for graduation, contact your guidance counselor’s office.

Which States Require the SAT? Complete List (2)

What Does Statewide Testing Mean for Your SAT Prep?

The SAT is the same whether you take it on a regular test date or on a state-administered date. Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep in mind if you're required to take the exam.

#1: A Free Test

Because the state foots the bill for its own administration of the exam, you won't have to pay any fees to take the SAT on that date. This discount might or might not be important for you, but if it is, make sure to study for the statewide testing date. This free SAT also comes with four free score reports.

There are other resources for low-income families as well. You might be eligible for two SAT fee waivers, so you'd be able to take the test a total of three times if you don't get the score you want the first time.

#2: Free Study Materials

The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free official SAT study materials to everyone (you'll just need to sign up for a free account). Be sure to do some practice with these materials if you're planning to take the SAT.

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In addition, your school might have teachers include some SAT prep in their classes or offer extra prep opportunities to students who want them.

Keep in mind that there are other free study materials you can use to prep for your SAT School Day test, too. You can find official (free!) practice tests here, and a free SAT study plan here.

#3: No Effect on the Curve

Contrary to popular belief, when you take the SAT will have no effect on your score. The SAT isn't really curved—at least not in the same way your math test in class might be curved.

Instead, your raw score (the number of questions you get right) for each SAT section is equated into a scaled score (between 200 and 800) using a somewhat mysterious process based on the College Board's data and analysis. As a result, you're never directly measured against other students who take the same SAT as you.

Which States Require the SAT? Complete List (3)

What's Next?

If you're definitely planning to take the SAT, check out this full breakdown of the test, learn how to study for the SAT, and get tips on how to find the best official practice materials.

If you're still not sure whether you want to take the SAT or not, try this quiz to see if you might be better at the ACT instead!

What states require the ACT? Check out our full list to learn whether you'll need to take the ACT.

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program. Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts, our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

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Which States Require the SAT? Complete List (4)

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Alex Heimbach

About the Author

Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.


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What states is the SAT mandatory? ›

States Requiring SAT for Graduation
  • Colorado.
  • Connecticut.
  • Delaware.
  • Illinois.
  • Maine.
  • Michigan (except Spring 2021)
  • New Hampshire.
  • Rhode Island.

Which states require the SAT essay? ›

The following states will be administering the SAT with Essay in the 21-22 academic year as part of their spring state-wide assessment system:
  • Colorado.
  • Delaware.
  • Illinois.
  • Michigan.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Oklahoma.

What state does not require SAT? ›

These states include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, and Washington. Keep in mind that these schools and districts don't require students to take the SAT, nor is it a requirement for graduation.

What is the lowest SAT score colleges will accept? ›

Less selective public institutions, as well as many small liberal arts colleges, regularly accept applicants in the 950-1050 range. Public universities in your state might also accept residents with scores on the lower end of the scale depending on their policies and your other qualifications.

Which state has the hardest standardized test? ›

New York, which nabbed the top spot in the study, had already implemented harder tests tied to the Common Core in 2013, as had North Carolina and Massachusetts. That may have contributed to the state's high difficulty score.

Why is the SAT no longer required? ›

Why did colleges go test-optional during COVID? Many colleges were shifting away from requiring ACT or SAT scores long before COVID, arguing in part that exam scores can contribute to inequities in admissions. Given obstacles to taking the tests as the virus spread, the trend accelerated over the last few years.

Do colleges accept SAT without essay? ›

First of all, the SAT essay is technically an optional section, so no, you are not required to take it. That being said, some colleges do require applicants to take the SAT with Essay.

Will the SAT be removed? ›

Moving away from standardized tests is in-step with other major university institutions. The University of California Regents, for example, voted in May 2020 to suspend SAT and ACT testing requirements through 2024 and eliminate them altogether for California students in 2025.

Is the SAT required in Texas? ›

Students are encouraged to submit SAT/ACT scores, but it is not required.

What schools don't use the SAT? ›

Top 100 Colleges That Don't Require The SAT/ACT
  • Brown University.
  • Columbia University.
  • Cornell University.
  • Dartmouth College.
  • Harvard University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • Princeton University.
  • Yale University.
Mar 15, 2023

Is SAT really required? ›

25 states require SAT or ACT scores as part of high school graduation requirements. Check with your high school counselor to determine if your state requires a score from one of these two tests to receive your high school diploma.

Is SAT still required for 2023? ›

But for now, the short answer is that most colleges are not requiring SAT or ACT test scores for the class of 2023. We will have to wait to see what happens for the class of 2024 and beyond. Looking for help with the college search and application process?

What did Elon Musk score on SAT? ›

Elon Musk reacts to GPT-4 scoring 93% on SAT exams.

What is the lowest SAT at Harvard? ›

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1460, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1580. In other words, a 1460 places you below average, while a 1580 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.

How bad is a 940 on the SAT? ›

Unfortunately, 940 is not a good SAT score. In reality, it's a weak score that will keep you from achieving your college admissions goals. Although you're still outperforming the majority of test takers, it's still not enough to get you into the top schools in the country.

What is world's toughest exam? ›

Top 10 Toughest Exams in World To Crack in 2023
  • UPSC. ...
  • Mensa. ...
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) ...
  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) ...
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert) ...
  • GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, India) ...
  • All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam. ...
  • Exam for the Master Sommelier Diploma.
Apr 11, 2023

What is world's most difficult exam? ›

Top 10 Hardest Exams in the World
  • Gaokao Exam in China.
  • IIT JEE Advanced.
  • Civil Services Exam (CSE)
  • GATE.
  • GRE.
  • Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
  • ICAI CA Exams.
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
Feb 17, 2023

What is the hardest exam in America? ›

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

Owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), GRE is among the world's most difficult exams. The exam is administered both online and in person. As a standardized test, GRE measures the overall academic readiness of students who want to attend graduate school.

Is the SAT becoming irrelevant? ›

Is the SAT Becoming Obsolete? No, it's not. According to the 2022 SAT Suite of Assessments Annual Report, 1.7 million students in the high school class of 2022 took the SAT at least once. This is an increase from 1.5 million in the class of 2021.

Why are colleges dropping SAT? ›

While many of the schools converting to test-optional admissions procedures initially did so to accommodate applicants during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the shift away from requiring standardized test scores has now become the prevailing policy across the nation even as threats from the pandemic recede.

Is it bad if you don't finish the SAT? ›

All your other answers will still be graded even if you don't finish the entire section. If you can't answer every question properly, you should still bubble in something for each question, since there is no penalty for guessing.

What is the highest SAT score without essay? ›

The scores from each required section can range from 200 to 800, so the best possible total score without the essay is 1600.

Which schools require SAT essay 2023? ›

  • 11 Colleges That Require The SAT Essay For Admission Consideration.
  • Benedictine University. ...
  • City University London. ...
  • Delaware State University. ...
  • DeSales University. ...
  • Dominican University of California. ...
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. ...
  • Howard University.
Sep 28, 2022

Does Harvard accept SAT without essay? ›

The essay portion of the SAT and ACT is optional. You must take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing part to apply to Harvard. This will be taken into account as yet another aspect when deciding who to admit.

Is Harvard getting rid of SAT? ›

Harvard College will allow students to apply for admission without requiring SAT or ACT scores for the upcoming Harvard College Classes of '27, '28, '29, and '30.

What will replace SAT? ›

Classic Learning Test (CLT)

The Classic Learning Test is a new exam that some smaller schools have opted to use instead of the more traditional ACT and SAT exams. Founded in 2015, the CLT is used by smaller schools and religious institutions and other private institutions.

Are they getting rid of SAT in 2024? ›

College Board has stated that digital testing will replace the paper materials and pencils currently required. A paper PSAT test will not be available starting in the fall of 2023, and a paper SAT test will not be available starting in the spring of 2024.

Can I go to Ivy League without SAT? ›

In addition, all highly selective universities (with the exception of MIT) including The Ivy League, Stanford, Northwestern, and Boston University, all have announced that they will remain test optional through the high school class of 2024.

Will not submitting SAT scores hurt 2023? ›

Just like what its admissions policy explains, submitting SAT or ACT scores is totally optional. Fret not as you will not be disadvantaged in the admissions process should you decide to keep those scores you got a secret.

Will colleges require SAT for class of 2023? ›

More than 1,700 colleges and universities so far are not requiring students to submit SAT and ACT scores when they apply for admission for fall 2023, only a slightly lower number of institutions than the previous admissions cycle.

How many colleges no longer require SAT? ›

In fact, now more than 1,800 schools no longer require applicants to submit scores, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a nonprofit advocacy group commonly known as FairTest.

What math is not on the SAT? ›

Trigonometry is not tested in the SAT math section. The SAT is designed to test basic high school math, from courses up to and including Algebra II. Students who wish to demonstrate more advanced skills may consider taking the ACT, which covers trigonometry, or the two SAT Math Subject Tests.

Is SAT or GPA more important? ›

There are several reasons that the SAT is considered a more valuable admissions tool than your GPA. The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country. GPAs are not standard.

How many times can you take the SAT? ›

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. We recommend that they take it at least twice—in the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year. Most students get a higher score the second time, and most colleges consider a student's highest SAT score when making admission decisions.

Do colleges prefer ACT or SAT? ›

Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based scholarships. Most colleges do not prefer one test over the other. Neither the SAT or ACT is harder than the other. Different students tend to do better on one test over the other.

Can I get into Harvard without SAT 2023? ›

When you apply for admission, you can choose whether or not our review of your application will include your standardized test scores (SAT and ACT). If your scores already are on file before you apply and you choose at the time of your application to proceed without scores, we will not consider those scores.

Why are colleges going test-optional? ›

One of the reasons we made the decision to go test-optional is that it provides students the ability to decide if they feel the test is an accurate reflection of their academic ability. About 60 percent of our students choose not to submit a test score.

Will Harvard require SAT for 2023? ›

Admission Requirements:

Final school report. SAT or ACT (optional for 2022-2023 applicants, but recommended)

What did Mark Zuckerberg SAT score? ›

Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder of Facebook scored the perfect 1600 on the SAT and attended Harvard University. There's no surprise there on the score or prestigious university!

What is Bill Gates SAT score? ›

Gates scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs.

Has anyone ever gotten a 0 on the SAT? ›

While it's impossible for you to get a zero on the test (everyone who takes the SAT will receive at least a 400), you have almost similar odds of doing very well on the test without studying.

What is the lowest Ivy League SAT? ›

Ideal ACT/SAT Scores for Ivy League School Applications

The minimum SAT score to get into an Ivy League school ranges from 690 to 730 for the reading section and from 700 to 730 for the math section. Getting 700 or 710 (or higher) on both of these sections will give you an advantage at most Ivy League universities.

What is the lowest SAT at Yale? ›

Yale University is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of 6%. Students that get into Yale University have an SAT score between 1470–1560 or an ACT score of 33–35. Regular applications are due January 2.

What is the lowest SAT score someone got into Yale with? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Yale, but they really want to see at least a 1470 to have a chance at being considered.

Is 490 a bad SAT score? ›

Poor SAT Score: 900 or lower (bottom 25% of test-takers) Average SAT Score: 1050 (even with 50% of test-takers) Good SAT Score: 1200 (top 75% of test-takers) Excellent SAT Score: 1350+ (90%+ higher than all test-takers.)

What is the lowest SAT Math score? ›

What Is the Lowest SAT Score? On the Redesigned SAT, the lowest possible score is a 400: 200 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 200 on Math.

Is SAT still required in USA? ›

25 states require SAT or ACT scores as part of high school graduation requirements. Check with your high school counselor to determine if your state requires a score from one of these two tests to receive your high school diploma.

Is SAT mandatory for us? ›

While most colleges in the US require SAT scores for admission, some institutions do not need it at the time of application.

Are SAT required for class of 2023? ›

But for now, the short answer is that most colleges are not requiring SAT or ACT test scores for the class of 2023.

When did the SAT become mandatory? ›

After the first SAT in 1926, the exam quickly grew in popularity. By 1935, Harvard University required all applicants to submit SAT scores.

Can I just not take the SAT? ›

Do You need to take the SAT to get into college? Yes. Students can attend college without taking the SAT test. Some schools require the ACT test.

Are schools doing away with SAT? ›

Moving away from standardized tests is in-step with other major university institutions. The University of California Regents, for example, voted in May 2020 to suspend SAT and ACT testing requirements through 2024 and eliminate them altogether for California students in 2025.

Do SATS matter anymore? ›

The SAT is even more important

Colleges are getting more and more applicants every year. They can now use SAT test scores and GPAs to determine which students to accept each year. Students need to prepare for the SAT and the ACT. Read, study and take it again if necessary.

What changes will happen to the SAT in 2023? ›

The SAT is set to switch from a paper and pencil format to a digital format in 2023 and 2024. But when exactly is this change happening? For international students, it's already happened! International students who register for an SAT exam date anytime in 2023 are taking the digital SAT.

What colleges don t require SAT or ACT for class of 2023 in usa? ›

List of test-optional colleges for 2023
  • Adelphi University.
  • Alfred University (2023, 2024)
  • Amherst College (2023, 2024)
  • Appalachian State University (2023, 2024)
  • Babson College (2023, 2024)
  • Barnard College.
  • Baylor University (2022, 2023)
  • Bentley University.
Jan 31, 2023

What is the oldest age to take SAT? ›

Age Limit for the SAT Exam

The SAT should be taken while you are between the ages of 17 and 19. Students under the age of 13 can only register by phone or by mail. Due to internet privacy restrictions, students under the age of 13 cannot register online. Students who register by phone are eligible for a cost waiver.

What happens if you never took the SAT? ›

What Will Happen After Missing the SAT. If you have registered for an SAT test but decided not to show up to take the exam, two things are going to happen to you moving forward: You will get a credit. The registration fee you paid for the SAT test will sit in your College Board account just waiting to be used again.


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