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Testing: AP, ACT, SAT, PSAT

All ACT, SAT and PSAT administrations at Terra Linda High School for the foreseeable future, are canceled, due to the pandemic, in order to protect the health and safety of student test-takers coming from a multi-county area throughout the state, proctors and other school employees, and their family and friends.  We will post information here when we are able to resume.  We thank you for your understanding.  TLHS students, your counselors and the CCC/College and Career Center staff are here to help you with your college list and applications; you will still have plenty of excellent choices!

The SAT subject tests and SAT essay have been permanently eliminated nationally as of January 18, 2021.

Please review our Planning Checklist and Curriculum Guide for more information regarding college testing requirements and timelines. 

In most years, many four-year colleges require freshman applicants to take the ACT or SAT.  In those cases, we recommend that students take the PSAT in October of sophomore and junior years, and the ACT and/or SAT in spring of junior year; most students will then retake an ACT or SAT in the fall of senior year (generally November at latest).  Check with each prospective college to confirm its testing requirements.

Students who are planning to attend community college after high school are not required to complete the ACT or SAT, but must take placement tests in English and Mathematics at the campus they decide to attend.  

Take an SAT/ACT Diagnostic test such as the one below for more insight into which test is best suited to you.


On May 21 the University of California announced that it will never again require an ACT or SAT: test scores will be optional for the Class of 2021 and 2022; not accepted for California students for 2023 and 2024; and then they will either have an alternative UC assessment in place for 2025 and beyond, or rely on a combination of "high school grades and a dozen other factors in its comprehensive review system."  

The CSU's announced on April 17, 2020 that they have also eliminated their testing requirements for the Class of 2021.  They are test-blind/test-free, meaning that they will not even accept ACT/SAT scores.

The same is true for a growing list of many other colleges adding this new policy just since March, below (some of which are extending this policy for three years, up to the high school Class of 2023, at bottom):

* examples in California include (in addition to the UC's and CSU's): CalTech, Chapman, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, LMU/Loyola Marymount, Pomona, Redlands, Santa Clara, Scripps, and USC (note: Cal Lutheran, Dominican, Mills, Occidental, Pitzer, USD, USF, and Whittier already were test-optional)

* other Western states: the University of Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, BYU, Colorado College, the University of Denver, Evergreen State, Ft. Lewis, the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, Hawai'i-Pacific, the College of Idaho, the University of Idaho, Idaho State, Lewis & Clark, the University of Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, UNLV, Nevada-Reno, New Mexico, the University of Oregon, Oregon State, Portland State, Puget Sound, Reed, Seattle U, the University of Utah, and the University of Washington, Washington State, Western Washington, and Willamette already were test-optional)

* elsewhere in the country: Alabama, Amherst, Auburn, Babson, Baylor, Boston U, Bradley, Brown, Carleton, Carnegie Mellon, Centre, Colgate, Columbia (of NY), Cooper Union, Cornell (of NY), Dartmouth, Davidson, Delaware, Drexel, Duke, Elon, Emory, Fordham, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Grinnell, Hamilton, Harvard, Haverford, IIT/Illinois Inst. of Tech, Iowa, Johns Hopkins, Kentucky, Lehigh, Louisville, Loyola-New Orleans, Macalester, Maine, Manhattan, Maryland, UMass, Miami (of FL), Miami (of OH), Michigan (for some; check their website!), Middlebury, MIT, North Carolina, Northeastern, Northwestern, Oberlin, Ohio State U, Ohio U, Oklahoma, Olin, Penn, Princeton, Rhodes, Rice, RIT, RPI, St. Louis U, SMU, Southwestern, Spelman, Stevens Inst., Swarthmore, Syracuse, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Trinity (of TX), Tufts, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Vassar, Vermont, Villanova, Virginia, Wellesley, William & Mary, Williams, Wooster, and Yale.

Newly test-optional for at least 3 years, including the Class of 2023 (partial list, there will be more!): Amherst, Bates, Butler, Centre, Charleston, Colgate, UConn, Davidson, Drexel, Elon, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, UMass, Middlebury, College of New Jersey, Notre Dame, Oberlin, Penn State, Pomona, Rhodes, Tufts, Vermont, Wellesley, William & Mary, Williams...and all of the UC's!

Newly test-optional for at least 2 years, including the Class of 2022 (there will be more!): 

Alabama, Boston College, Boston University, Columbia (NY), Cornell, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, NYU, Occidental, Penn, Rice, Texas Tech, Tulane, Wash U

And here is the complete list of over 1,400 accredited 4-year colleges with test-optional policies, many of which have been test-optional for years.  

Test-blind/test-free (test scores not accepted or considered in any way):

Caltech; UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz; Columbia College (IL), Hampshire, Loyola-New Orleans, Reed, USD/University of San Diego

We will post further updates here as they become available.  But students please check with your individual colleges on their websites, and read the emails they send to you; some of the colleges you choose to apply to - of course you do not have to apply to them - may still be requiring an ACT or SAT when you apply.


Future dates still on the schedule (all are subject to change with little to no notice) include: 


2020-21: April 17, June 12, July 17

2021-22: September 11, October 23, December 11, February 12, April 2, June 11, July 16


2020-21: May 8, June 5

2021-22: August 28, October 2, November 6, December 4, March 12, May 7, June 4


FEE WAIVERS: If you are a Senior or Junior who is eligible for a fee waiver for the ACT or SAT, please email Brad at  I can provide you with an electronic/digital one during the school closure; it must be used by you, and is not transferable to another student, because when you show up to take the exam, they will verify the fee waiver number versus your form of identification.  


SAT/College Board 


SAT/ACT Diagnostic Test  

ACT/SAT conversion/concordance tables

AP  |  AP Credit Policy Search for colleges


PSAT/National Merit Scholarship program (based on minimum scores by state, with multiple stages: Commended--->Semifinalist--->Finalist--->$2,500 Scholarship winner)



Khan Academy  Official online SAT Practice

Marin SAT Prep  Local SAT preparation 

Revolution Prep  Group and individual tutoring 


Princeton Review


COM Placement Testing

Accuplacer Information and Practice