The examination requirement

At UC, we use admissions test results not only to assess your academic preparation and achievement, but to help us determine your qualifications beyond what we see in your grades.

All prospective freshmen must submit scores from either the ACT with Writing, the SAT (taken prior to March 2016) or SAT with Essay (taken March 2016 or later).

A few guidelines

  • If you're applying for admission to the fall term, be sure to take your admissions tests no later than December of your senior year/last year prior to high school/secondary school graduation — preferably earlier — to ensure that your application receives prompt and full consideration. It is unlikely that scores from tests taken after our December deadline will arrive in our office in time for our review process.
  • Report ACT and/or SAT scores on your admissions application, then request that an official copy of the scores be sent to us from the testing agency. You can have your official score report sent to one UC campus, and all campuses you apply to will receive it.
  • In the College Board's Score Choice module, ensure that all scores are sent to UC. We require all scores and will use the highest scores from a single administration.
  • For the ACT with Writing test, we will focus on the highest combined score from the same test administration.
  • For the SAT or SAT with Essay, we will focus on the highest total score from a single test date.
  • We do not require results of tests taken for the purpose of talent programs in middle or junior high school (e.g., Johns Hopkins Center for Talent Youth, Duke University's Talent Identification Program, UC Berkeley's Academic Talent and Development Program, etc.). Those test scores do not have to be sent to us.
  • We do not accept test substitutions.

International students

  • If you are currently residing or attending school in a country where the ACT with Writing, the SAT or SAT with Essay is offered, you are required to take one of the tests, self-report your scores on your application and submit official test results to UC by the stated application deadlines.
  • We're sympathetic to the fact that students living in certain countries where these tests are not offered (e.g., the Islamic Republic of Iran) are challenged to fulfill this requirement. However, given the large number of applications we receive from students throughout the world, we very rarely make exceptions to the requirement.
  • If you’ve completed all your secondary school/high school in a country where English was not the language of instruction, you must demonstrate English proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.

    If you’ve had some secondary education in the U.S., you may also need to demonstrate English proficiency.

    Be sure to look at the international undergraduate admission section for more information about what you need to do and when.

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and SAT Subject Tests

  • We recommend that students who complete Advanced Placement courses complete the related AP examination to demonstrate subject mastery. Similarly, International Baccalaureate scores and scores from SAT Subject Tests can be used to showcase academic mastery. In order to receive unit credit toward the baccalaureate degree, you must submit an official copy of your AP or IB scores directly from the testing agency. This can be done in the summer following high school graduation.

What about the new SAT?

If you're currently in 10th, 11th or 12th grade, you have the option to submit scores from either the old SAT or new SAT with Essay exam. 

If you’re currently in 9th grade or below, you must take the new SAT with Essay exam (or if you choose, ACT with Writing).

You can read our FAQs for more information on the new SAT exam.

Submission deadline

Freshman applicants for fall 2017 must arrange to have official score reports sent to us by December 2016. If you plan to take an exam in December, indicate the planned test date on your admission application.

And don't worry - if you report your scores to one campus, they will be shared with every campus to which you've applied.

Good to know

SAT Subject Tests aren't required, but they're recommended for certain selective majors. 

See our subject test recommendations