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Testing Policy

Standardized Testing Policy

The submission of ACT or SAT results is optional.

Required Testing for International Students:

If English is neither the primary (first) language nor the primary language of secondary school instruction, results of an English-proficiency test are required. Duolingo English Test, IELTS, and TOEFL (internet-based and TOEFL Essentials) are all accepted.

  • Self-reported IELTS and internet-based TOEFL test scores will be accepted in the selection process. Admitted students who decide to attend Macalester will be required to submit official score reports.
  • TOEFL Essentials and Duolingo English Test scores must be submitted directly from testing agencies.

English Proficiency Waiver: If the applicant’s first language is English, or the applicant attends a secondary school where the primary language of instruction is English. Applicants may request that the English Proficiency requirement be waived by completing the ENGLISH PROFICIENCY Testing Waiver Request Form in their Applicant Portal.

International Curriculum

  • Cambridge: Applicants in an A-Level curriculum must submit O-Level/IGCSE results and predicted A-Level results.
  • International Baccalaureate: Applicants in an IB curriculum must submit anticipated or predicted IB results.

National Curriculum

Students from countries with national university entrance exams (such as WASSCE, EGSE, KCSE, CAPE, ISCE/CBSE, HLC, Baccalaureate, etc.) are required to submit expected/predicted and official results.

U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident Home-schooled Applicants:

We recommend that home-schooled applicants and candidates applying from secondary schools that provide written evaluations rather than grades submit the ACT or SAT results.

Enrolling Students: 

Because standardized test results will be used for ongoing research into the relationship between standardized testing and success at Macalester, entering first-year students who took the ACT or SAT but didn’t submit scores in the admissions process should submit them over the summer prior to matriculating at Macalester. These scores will only be used for research purposes.

Submitting Examination Scores

Results from IB and AP examinations are not required, but Admissions Committee members will consider them if submitted.

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. Enrolled students who submitted self-reported test scores with the application must 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.
  • Submit test scores in the online Applicant Portal (available after submission of an application to Macalester).
  • Submit screenshots or scanned copies of score reports via email to [email protected]

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 the official transcript sent by the 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 submitted during admissions after a student confirms their intent to enroll. At that time, students must 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 uses standardized exam results

We ask that applicants who choose to submit ACT or SAT results submit all testing results. The Admissions Committee will super-score results from multiple examinations. More specifically, the Admissions Committee will consider an applicant’s best SAT math section from across multiple sittings and 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

The best way for high school students to prepare for the ACT and SAT is by striving for excellence in the classroom. Their performance in high school coursework serves as the most reliable indicator of their success. Their results on standardized exams complement the effort they put into their studies at school.

We recommend The College Board’s free practice resources, available in partnership with Khan Academy, for applicants interested in learning how to practice for exams.