Testing Requirements for the UCs

UC Testing Requirements

Test Score Submission Requirement and Deadline

Preparing for the SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing


UC Testing Requirements

The UCs accept both SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing scores. Keep in mind that the UCs require the optional essay for the SAT and the optional writing for the ACT.

You can get an idea of how well you will do on these exams by taking the PSAT and ACT Aspire in 10th grade. The UC campuses will only consider your top combined score from one test date (no “superscore”) and they don’t really care how many times you take the exams (although most private colleges frown on excessive test taking, so plan accordingly). If you took both the SAT and ACT, the UCs compare the scores and take the highest one.

The UCs do not require the SAT Subject Tests. However, each UC campus has its own SAT Subject Test Recommendations that you should follow. You may also use SAT Subject Tests to clear a-g subjects; see the a-g subject requirements for details.

Back to Top


Test Score Submission Requirement and Deadline

For both SAT and ACT, you only need to send ONE official score report to ANY of the UC campuses to which you have applied. The scores are shared between the campuses and you do not need to send a separate score report to each UC campus. The score report must reach the UC campus before the end of December.

If you are taking the December test, you should list a UC campus as a score recipient when you register for the test (your registration fee includes four reports) so the score will be sent with the December batch of scores. Do not wait until your December score becomes available, since Rush Reporting (SAT) and Priority Reporting (ACT) cannot be shared between UC campuses or entered into the application system (such score reports are delivered in paper format instead of electronic format).

For the SAT, you can update the score recipient by logging into your College Board account. You have until nine days after test day to make the change. Source: Changing Your Registration Information.

For the ACT, you can update the score recipient by logging into your ACT Web Account. You have until noon, Central Time, on the Thursday immediately following your regularly scheduled Saturday test date to make the change. Source: ACT Test Help – Registration Questions.

Back to Top


Preparing for the SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing

You need to prepare before you attempt the SAT with Essay or ACT with Writing. It’s rare for students to do well without some form of preparation. To get started, I would recommend browsing through test prep books and choose a couple of books that you feel are a good fit with your learning style. If you didn’t get a chance to take the PSAT and ACT Aspire, definitely try the practice tests for SAT and ACT to get an idea of how well you can expect to perform on the two tests. I don’t recommend paying money for a test prep course until you have tried both the SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing (practice test or the real thing). Students tend to do well on one test or the other, but rarely both. So before you empty your wallet to prepare for the SAT with Essay, make sure you try the ACT with Writing. Maybe you won’t need to break the bank after all.

Below are resources to help you prepare for the tests:

Back to Top


How are the Tests Different?

One exceptional resource on how to decide which test is “better” is Global Elite Prep’s Plan Ahead to Alleviate Test Prep Exhaustion, which provides a detailed analysis of the different factors you must consider before choosing which test you should take.

Just need a quick overview of the differences between the two tests? Applerouth summarized a comprehensive comparison of the redesigned SAT and the updated ACT into a nifty chart that can help you determine which test will be the best fit for your test-taking style. Note that the chart excludes the optional essay section of both tests; the SAT essay adds another 50 minutes to the test time and the ACT essay adds another 40 minutes to the test time.

Return to Test Prep Resources Menu / Back to Top


How to Pick a Test Date?

Wondering when is the best time to take the SAT with Essay? Check out Magoosh’s Guide to Finding Your Best SAT Test Date (scroll down past the all of the test dates to see the guide) for deadline considerations, planning strategies, and information about SAT Subject Tests and PSAT.

Wondering when you should take the ACT with Writing? Check out Magoosh’s Guide to Your Best ACT Test Date (scroll down past the all of the test dates to see the guide) for deadline considerations, planning strategies (for all high school students, freshmen to seniors), and study tips.

Return to Test Prep Resources Menu / Back to Top


Free and Low Cost Test Prep Resources

FREE! Chegg offers free SAT and ACT test prep resources. Browse SAT Tips and Tricks and ACT Tips and Tricks for helpful test taking strategies.

FREE! INeedAPencil.com provides free online SAT preparation. The site provides lessons, practice tests, and a variety of support tools.

FREE! Kaplan, a leading provider of test prep services, is offering free SAT and ACT practice tests to you! Simply register for an online practice test or find an in-person SAT or ACT seminar near you.

FREE! Khan Academy has partnered with College Board to address the greatest inequities around college entrance exams: the culture of high-priced test preparation, by providing completely free, best-in-class SAT prep materials to students.

FREE! Number2.com provides free online SAT and ACT test prep courses.

FREE! Princeton Review, a leading provider of test prep services, is offering free SAT and ACT practice tests to you! Proctored tests are offered throughout the year in most areas. Online practice tests are also available.

FREE! SparkNotes offers free SAT and ACT online guides.

FREE! Varsity Tutors offers free SAT and ACT practice tests.

FREE! – See the College Board SAT Practice for sample practice questions, full-length official SAT practice test, and other resources/tools.

FREE! or Low Cost – Check out ACT Test Prep for a free study guide, practice test questions, test tips, and information about The Official ACT Prep Guide (check your library first) and the ACT Online Prep course.

Return to Test Prep Resources Menu / Back to Top


Test Prep Courses

Prep Expert is offering $210 off any SAT/ACT course or private tutoring package to you! Use coupon code “ASKMSSUN” to receive the discount. Enroll online today for a guaranteed improvement of your SAT score by 200 points or ACT score by 4 points, or get your money back! (I get a small commission if you purchase a Prep Expert product or service through these links.)

Return to Test Prep Resources Menu / Back to Top