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UCs Suspend the SAT/ACT Requirement: What You Need to Know



On May 21, 2020, the UC Board of Regents voted unanimously to suspend the SAT/ACT test requirement for all California freshman applicants until 2024. This was obviously big news – especially to me, a test prep specialist – and when my boyfriend texted me the link to CNN’s article on the topic, I dropped everything to check it out.


However, when I finished reading, I was still left with a lot of questions. Did this change mean that all of my students who were planning to take the test would suddenly decide not to? Would there be any benefits for submitting test scores, or would UC admissions counselors just ignore them? What exactly is supposed to happen in 2025? With a little digging, I found my answers and decided to create a guide that would clear things up for students, parents, and other educators as they try to understand this major change.

For those California residents hoping to attend a UC in Fall 2021 or 2022, all UC campuses will be “test-optional.” Check out this Q & A to see what that means:

Q: Does a student applying for Fall 2021 or 2022 need to submit SAT/ACT test scores in order to be considered for admission?

A: NO! Students can still be accepted into the UC system without submitting test scores.

Q: Does this include the SAT Essay/ACT Writing test that UC has required in the past?

A: Yes! These portions won’t be necessary either.

Q: Can a student be punished for not submitting test scores?

A: Nope!

Q: Can a student submit test scores if they want?

A: YES!

Q: If a student submits scores, can those scores still be used to determine admission? A: Actually, yes! During this two-year period, test scores can STILL be used to determine whether or not a student is admitted into their school of choice. As I mentioned earlier, students can’t be punished for not including scores, but as you can see, sending in high scores can still benefit them in the process.

Q: Are test results good for anything else?

A: Other than being used for admission decisions, high test scores can also earn students scholarships and can even be used to determine which courses they’re placed in after enrolling. Another important point is that test scores can be combined with high school GPA to determine whether or not a student is in the top 9% of CA high school graduates and eligible for the admissions guarantee. For more information on how that works, check out this page.

For those hoping to attend a UC in Fall 2023 or 2024, all UC campuses will be “test-blind.” Check out this Q & A for more info:

Q: Does a student applying for Fall 2023 or 2024 need to submit SAT/ACT test scores in order to be considered for admission?

A: Nope!

Q: Can a student submit scores if they want? A: Yes!

Q: If a student submits scores, can those scores still help them get admitted?

A: NOPE! The big difference between Fall 2021/2022 and Fall 2023/2024 is that test scores can no longer have an effect on whether or not a student is admitted into a UC.

Q: Are test results good for anything then?

A: Yes! Just like they were for Fall 2021/2022 applicants, test results can still be used for scholarships, post-enrollment course placement, and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.

Fast-forward to the future: the year 2025. What’s going to happen then?

Q: Are SAT/ACT scores in the picture at all?

A: Not for California residents! SAT/ACT test scores won’t be considered for anything – not admission, scholarships, post-enrollment course placement, or the statewide admissions guarantee.

Q: What kind of test will applicants have to take, if any?

A: The UC Board of Regents has decided to spend the next year either creating or selecting a totally NEW test – one they think will work better than the SAT or ACT in determining college readiness. If this test is ready for applicants to take by the 2025 enrollment season, it will become an admissions requirement.

Q: What if the “NEW test” isn’t ready by then?


A: The Board will probably be very bummed out. However, the SAT/ACT will NOT be used as a substitute. Of that much, we’re sure.

I hope this post has demystified the UC’s plan for phasing out the SAT/ACT requirement. If you still have questions or just want to know more about getting help with testing, academics, or college apps, feel free to email us at info@thinqueprep.com.

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