Standardized Tests

What tests do I need to take?

A complete application includes official scores of the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT (with Writing, where offered). We recommend, but do not require, that you take two SAT Subject Tests.

Please note that the College Board English Language Proficiency Test does not count as a subject area test or as a substitute for the SAT Reasoning Test.

We recommend, but do not require, that applicants who intend to pursue a B.S.E. degree take one SAT Subject Test in either physics or chemistry and one SAT Subject Test in mathematics (Level I or II).

When the redesigned SAT is available in March 2016, will you still allow students to submit the “old” SAT?

We will accept either version of the SAT, or the ACT with Writing. We do not have a preference for the “old” or “redesigned” SAT. The “old” SAT, or redesigned SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing are treated equally.

How do admission officers use standardized test results?

We use the scores along with your grades and teacher references to make an informed assessment of your academic strengths. No one is admitted or refused admission on the basis of scores alone. For the SAT Reasoning Test, we look at your highest score on each of the three sections (critical reading, mathematics and writing), even if you earned them on three different test dates. For the ACT, we look at your highest composite score. For the SAT Subject Tests, we look at your two highest subjects. If you've taken the same subject test more than once, we look at your highest score.

Why do you require the writing/essay portion of the SAT or ACT?

Writing is an essential component of a Princeton education.  Evidence-based reading and writing are critical tools in a college-level curriculum and the results of a writing exam are helpful in determining a student’s grasp of these concepts.

Score Choice

Applicants are welcome to use the score choice option for standardized test score submission. Princeton will consider the highest individual section results across all sittings of the SAT Reasoning and the highest composite score for the ACT with Writing, as well as the two highest SAT Subject Test scores. We encourage applicants to submit all official test scores as soon as they are available.

Will you combine the highest component scores from the old and new SAT?

No. We will consider the highest component scores from either the old or new test. The two tests are significantly different and therefore we will not combine scores from the two different tests. Likewise, we do not “superscore” the ACT to create a new composite score. We will consider the highest component scores across multiple sittings of the ACT, if the student submits the scores to us via a testing firm.

Does Princeton accept ACT scores?

Yes. We will accept results of the ACT (with Writing, where offered) or the SAT Reasoning Test. Two SAT Subject Tests are recommended but not required.

Learn more about what to include in your admission application.