During the Covid-19 pandemic, many US colleges (including Harvard) did not require SAT or ACT standardised tests to be completed. In addition, the College Board (the body that administers the SAT tests) announced that it would no longer be administering the SAT Subject Tests or the optional SAT essay after the June 2021 administration. The main SAT reasoning test (and its alternative, the ACT test) continues to be offered, but it is now up to individual colleges to decide the status of the tests (compulsory, optional, or not required), so be sure to check the test requirements of your shortlisted colleges in the year you are applying. The tests will remain optional at Harvard until at least 2026 (for those applying for the Class of 2030), and you will not be disadvantaged in the application process if you choose not to take them.
If you do decide to take one or other of the tests, the typical scores of a Harvard admit are:
US colleges accept the SAT and ACT equally – it doesn’t matter which one you take. To decide which is the better test for you, take a free online practice test in both of them and go with whichever style of exam you prefer. The best way to get a good score in standardised tests is to set aside a practice session once a week in the three months leading up to the exam. Your score in the practice tests should gradually go up until you are at peak performance for the test date. Here are some links to free practice material:
For the SAT, free online practice tools are provided by the Khan Academy.
For the ACT, check out the ACT Learning Resources.
Additional free online practice tests for the ACT are provided by PrepScholar.
If you run out of the free online practice tests, books of additional tests for both the SAT and ACT are available from online publishers at a cost of £25 – £30 per book.