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 up to individual colleges to decide the status of the tests (compulsory, optional, or not required) after their campuses return to normal. So be sure to check the test requirements of your shortlisted colleges in the year you are applying.
If the SAT/ACT tests remain optional at Harvard, you will not be disadvantaged in the application process if you choose not to take them. But if you do decide to take one or other of the tests, the typical scores of a Harvard admit are:
- SAT: a score of between 650-800 in each of the two main sections
- ACT: a composite score of between 29-36
US colleges accept the SAT and ACT equally – it doesn’t matter which one you take. The best way to decide is to take a free online practice test in both of them, and go with whichever style of exam you prefer.
If you want to take the tests, the best way to get a good score is regular practice. Here are the links to the free practice material:
For the SAT, there are also free online practice tools provided by the Khan Academy. https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
ACT Test practice
Additional free online practice tests for the ACT are provided by Union Test Prep
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 around £15 – £20 per book.