College Entrance Testing

Five students sitting at a desk taking a test with pencils

College Entrance Testing

The SAT and ACT are academic measurement tools used by some institutions in the college admission process. Both exams are designed to measure college readiness within the academic areas of mathematics, English reading, English writing, and vocabulary. Both measurements are accepted by universities and colleges. It's important to learn about the assessments to consider which one might be the best-fit for you. Some institutions will take your "super score" which is your highest score from each section from different test dates. This may lead to a student choosing to take the same assessment more than once, in hopes of getting a higher overall score. It's also important to research the colleges you are considering, learning how the scores may be used in the admission process, and what your options are when sharing scores with institutions. Additionally, be sure to research merit-based scholarship requirements that may also require a test score.

College Admission Standardized Testing Framework

The COVID–19 pandemic introduced college admission changes to the testing options for the admission into many colleges, several of which have chosen to continue with these options currently. Each institution decides what requirements and options exist around standardized testing and admission into their institution. Testing policies around optional, blind, or flexible reporting differ from college to college (e.g., eligible GPA).

Test-blind college admissions will not consider an applicant's test scores even if they are submitted. Admission decisions are made solely on the basis of GPA, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, research projects, supplemental essays, etc.

Test-optional allows students to decide whether or not they want to submit test scores with their application. Most test-optional schools will consider SAT and ACT scores if they are submitted, but focus on other factors which can be a stronger predictor of a student’s potential.

Test-flexible colleges or universities allow students to choose which type of test(s)–SAT or and/or ACT, they want to submit with their application. Other options include an International Baccalaureate exam or an Advanced Placement test.

Note: Student SAT/ACT test data does not represent admission outcomes related to test scores. These students may have applied test optional or test blind. It is always best to check the admission requirements and statistics on the college or university's website.

Testing Dates


Exam Guides

College Board PSAT Webpage

  • Find out reasons to take the PSAT/NMSQT®
  • How students receive their test scores
  • What to do after taking the PSAT

Test Score Opt-Out Form

The Virginia Department of Education "Regulations Governing Secondary School Transcripts" mandates that local divisions include a student's test record, to include at least the highest score earned on college performance-related standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT on the student's secondary school transcript. Parents, guardians, or others having legal control or charge of a child may elect in writing to have their child's test record excluded from the student transcript (opt-out).

It is important for parents to understand that it is the expectation of four-year colleges, which require an SAT or ACT score for admission, that the test score is sent to the college directly from the testing agency (College Board or ACT). The score which appears on the transcript is for informational purposes only and does not serve as the "official" score for college admissions purposes.

If you do not want your child's college performance-related standardized test scores such as the SAT and ACT to be included on his/her official secondary school transcript, please submit the ACT/SAT Opt-Out Form (PDF) to your child's school counseling department.

You do not need to submit an opt-out form if you wish to include your child's college admission test record on his/her secondary school transcript. You can contact your child's school counselor for more information regarding this option.

Parents can download this form and submit it to the school counseling office if they wish for college entrance testing scores to not appear on the student transcript.

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