International Students: SAT and ACT tests

Most schools in the U.S. require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Now, to my knowledge there aren’t any American students that enjoy taking these tests, so there’s no reason that you as an international student should be excited about it either. It is however, a requirement for almost any school that you will apply to, so you should prepare yourself appropriately for the tests.

There are more than 1,000 sites around the world that administer the SAT. You can find the testing site closest to you online at

The College Board also provides special information to help international students prepare for the SAT. It can be found at

You can find the information for the ACTs online at

So, here is my last bit of advice: Sign up early for the test, prepare as best as you can, and try not to stress yourself out.


12 Responses

  1. I’ve always found it odd and unfair that U.S. universities ask for competitive SAT/ACT results from applicants who have studied in foreign high schools that do not even offer a U.S. curriculum. This sends a message to the world that, rather than develop an understanding of the foreign educational system that would allow them to fairly interpret the results they receive, U.S. university admissions staff prefer to slap on another hurdle that foreign applicants must jump. That hurdle can be a high one if the applicant is from a system of education that does not stress standardized test preparedness, and the applicant cannot get easy access to good SAT/ACT test-prep courses and test sites, for financial and geographical reasons. There has been a great deal of debate about the usefulness, validity and predictive value of the SAT even within the U.S. system itself, so it continues to baffle me why so many U.S. universities’ admission requirements continue to include the SAT/ACT from students who come from educational systems that have nothing whatsoever to do with the SAT or ACT.

  2. I just have a simple question. If an international student takes a TOEFL test because he did bad on SAT/ACT’s, would it matter or help you in any way

  3. Every school is a little different, but many U.S. colleges and universities will disregard the English portion of the SAT in favor of a strong TOEFL score, especially since SATs are weak predictors of academic success, and this is especially true of English as a Second Language students.

  4. I took SAT test, and I did bad on it. I think SAT should not be a requirement for international student because it is very hard, I mean international students should take a math exam along with toefl.

  5. I am a South African student who is trying to apply into U.S universities and need all the help I can get as far as taking the tests,admission requirement (my high school subject marks and everything else).
    Can anyone help

  6. I agree with SIxto

  7. I’m from India. I just want to know that is it necessary for international students to take the ACT even if he/she is taking the SAT. And can anyone please help me out with anything and everything about getting into US colleges ’cause I’m really confused. The SAT seems ridiculously easy to be the basis for admission into college.

  8. hello everyone! i’m from Kyrgyzstan & i’d like to study in America. Now i’m preparing for SAT but English language part is very difficult i don’t know what to do… please help me….

    • If you don’t have access to a strong English preparation program near you, you may want to look for U.S. colleges and universities with strong English and a Second Language programs. Many of these schools, which include Mason, will admit academically talented students who are still developing their English Language skills. In these cases we admit students provisionally with a requirement to start, for part or all of your classes, in English as a Second Language Classes, offering full admission once you have attained full English proficiency.

  9. I just took the sat today, and it didn’t go well at all, especially on the critical reading part, and my essay wasn’t top nothc either. I’m hoping for a score around 1800-2000. But math went well, hoping for something above 700 there.

    I am applying to Upenn, Columbia, MIT and Princeton. I am a, as you call it in the U.S, a straight a student and very engaged in my school and I’ll get really strong recommendation letters from my english teacher and math teacher. How good do you guys think that my chances are of getting into these schools? Would really appreciate the help!

    • As I’ve writen elsewhere, it is just impossible to predict admission to any school in any year. Your scores, while they may seem low to you, are at least competitive in that range and don’t EXCLUDE you from those schools – but even perfect scores don’t guarantee you admission to them. If you only apply to the most competitive schools, where they will accept only 10-20 percent of applicants, no matter how greta your profile you are at risk of not being admitted – it’s just a statistical reality. My advice in all cases is to find schools at a range of competitive levels that are great matches for you – try some honors programs, for instance at some schools that accept 50-60 percent of applicants – still very competitive and you’ll find it makes no difference in your job opportunities and your bragging rights.

  10. hello, i am form Eucador and I am not really sure what test should I take, the ACT or the SAT, I am not good in the English part please help me

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