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Testing Policy

Standardized Testing Policy

Macalester requires applicants to submit results from either the ACT or SAT (essay sections not required for either exam). Research nationwide, and within the Macalester context, consistently shows that students’ high school academic performance is the best predictor of success in college. Admissions Committee members pay particular attention to each applicant’s curricular opportunities and performance in context (as measured by grades, teacher assessments, and other data). How an applicant performed on one or more standardized exams supplements our evaluation of a candidate’s academic credentials and potential. For example, Admissions Committee members might evaluate a student’s ACT or SAT math scores to contextualize that applicant’s performance in high school math courses. Test scores are only one component of the application review; never are they used as a sole criterion for admission.

Submitting your Examination Scores

All applicants to Macalester must submit scores from either the ACT or the SAT. Results from SAT II subject tests and AP examinations are not required, but Admissions Committee members will consider them if submitted. In addition, non-U.S. citizens applying for admissions must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English test, unless English is the first language or primary language of instruction (waiver requests can be made through the student’s Applicant Portal).

The submission of official scores may present a financial barrier to some students. As we do not wish to constrain applicants from their ability to apply to a diverse set of institutions, we will accept self-reported test scores. Admitted students who decide to attend Macalester will be required to submit official score reports.

Self-reported test scores may be submitted in the following ways:

  • Enter scores in the testing section of the Common Application or the QuestBridge Application.
  • Data enter your test scores into the applicant’s online portal (available after submission of an application to Macalester).
  • Submit screen shots or scanned copies of score reports via email to

Official test scores may be submitted in the following ways:

  • Direct submission from the testing agency (SAT or ACT). Macalester’s testing codes are 2122 (ACT) and 6390 (SAT)
  • On official transcript sent by student’s high school counselor, registrar, or other school

Verification of Self-Reported Standardized Test Scores

Macalester will verify the accuracy of enrolling students’ self-reported scores that were submitted during the admissions process. This will happen soon after a student confirms their intent to enroll. At that time, students will be required to submit official test scores through the methods outlined above. Any discrepancy between official and self-reported scores may result in the withdrawal of our offer of admission.

How the Admissions Committee will use your standardized exam results

We strongly encourage, but do not require, that applicants submit all testing results. Results from multiple examinations will be super-scored by the Admissions Committee. More specifically, the Admissions Committee will consider an applicant’s best SAT math section from across multiple sittings along with their best SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. Similarly, Admissions Committee staff will consider an applicant’s highest sub-sections from multiple ACT test dates, and the highest ACT composite score submitted.

In holistic admissions review, we do not exercise testing minimums, as evidenced by this distribution of scores for admitted students:

Middle 50% of testing ranges for admitted students*:

SAT EBRW: 670-750
SAT Math: 680-780
ACT: 30-34

*The middle 50% statistic describes the distribution of admitted students’ test scores. It means that 25% of admitted students scored below the ranges outlined above, 50% within, and 25% above.

Preparing to take standardized exams

We believe that the best way to prepare for the ACT and SAT is to do your best work in the classroom. There is no better predictor of this success than your performance in high school coursework. Your results on standardized exams supplement the work you do in school.

If you are interested in learning how to practice for exams, a number of free resources exist. Based on our knowledge of what is available, we recommend The College Board’s free practice resources, available in partnership with Khan Academy.