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Testing Policy

Standardized Testing Policy

Beginning with the fall 2021 admission cycle, submission of ACT or SAT test results is optional.

U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident Special Populations:

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

International Students:

Required of all international applicants

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

If your first language is English, or you attend 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


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

National University Entrance Exams

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

Results from SAT II subject tests 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. 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 [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 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 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 ask that applicants who choose to submit ACT or SAT test results 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.