Standardized Testing

While an increasing number of schools have made standardized tests optional (and a few have even become “test blind”), for most colleges, having a strong SAT or ACT score can help you in the admissions process and there are still some who require test scores. Therefore, it is important to understand colleges’ testing requirements, and it is recommended that students plan for and take standardized tests as part of their college application process.  

All colleges accept the ACT or SAT, and have no preference between the ACT and SAT. As a first step, we recommend taking practice SAT and ACT exams to see which test is better for you. Register for a free practice exam with Revolution Prep, or contact the College Advising Office for more information.  

Questions about Testing?


College Advising, Boyden Library

2023-2024 Deerfield Academy Standardized Testing Schedule

Below are the dates of the 2023-2024 SATs and ACTs. Deadlines to register for the SAT and ACT are generally about five or six weeks prior to the test—please visit the websites below and register on time!  Students in AP-level courses will receive registration information about the AP tests from Deerfield’s Testing Coordinator in the fall. 

Testing Information and Resources

Helpful Links

Fee Waivers

Juniors and seniors who qualify for a fee waiver should contact Ms. Brightman for a special code to register online. Fee waivers do not cover late registration fees.

Students with Accommodations

If you require accommodations for standardized testing, contact Ms DeLuca. For more information, read our accommodations policy. The process takes four to six months, so please plan accordingly.

Standardized Test Preparation

Familiarity with the organization and types of questions on any standardized test will be helpful, as it will allow a student to focus on the content of the questions without having to spend extra time during the exam to figure out the directions. Some basic and common-sense strategies are useful in preventing extra stress and wasted time during those important hours.

There are many types of test preparation available for the SAT and the ACT. These include:

  • Books (such as Princeton Review and Barron’s) that students use to prepare on their own (many of these are available in Room 207 of Boyden Library, and are also widely available at local libraries, local bookstores and
  • Self-paced online courses (including free self-paced online SAT instruction through Khan Academy),
  • in-person and online courses
  • one-on-one tutoring

Some students are motivated to prepare on their own, while others may find that they are more comfortable and confident with a formal course. At the very least, students should familiarize themselves with the format of the exams by using the booklets with sample questions provided by the testing service (ACT and SAT) (practice test booklets are also available in Room 207 of the library). Preferably students should take a full-length practice test and score it. Look over the questions answered incorrectly or not answered. Are there specific areas in which a student can improve? How well was the test time managed? There are also sample questions, test taking tips, and other resources available on the College Board and the ACT web sites.


Deerfield works with Revolution Prep to provide test prep options to Deerfield students looking for live instruction. Revolution Prep offers one-on-one tutoring and small-group courses, all of which are offered live online using a video platform. Financial aid is available for the small group courses; please contact your College Advisor if you have questions about financial aid. The College Advising office communicates with students and families to keep them apprised of these options.

PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is given each October to juniors (sophomores may opt in), and Deerfield handles the registration. You do not need to sign up for the PSAT online, but if you are a sophomore and would like to opt in, please contact the testing coordinator. Scores from the third year of high school are used for National Merit Scholarship Qualification (NMSQT), and are for student, college advisor and parent reference only. These scores are not sent to colleges. The PSAT is similar in structure and content to the SAT; strong performance on the PSAT might indicate a preference for the SAT (over the ACT) when the time comes to choose which test to take in the junior winter/spring.

Starting in the fall of 2023, the PSAT is now administered as a digital exam that students can take on their school issued computers. We will help students download the College Board’s digital application, called Bluebook, to their device. By downloading the app before the test day, students have time to familiarize themselves with it before taking the exam. The digital PSAT also uses a new system called adaptive testing to assess students’ skills more efficiently. With adaptive testing, the difficulty level of exam questions changes based on each question that a test taker gets right or wrong.

How adaptive testing works on the PSAT
The first module will consist of a variety of easy, medium, and hard questions. The difficulty of the second module will be determined by your performance on the first module. This means that the second module on both sections will be either easier or harder than the first module.

SAT is one of the two major exams associated with college admissions; the other is the ACT.  Many years ago, the SAT was more commonly taken by students on the east or west coasts, and the ACT was primarily taken by students in the Midwest; now there no geographic distinction, and colleges will accept either test with no preference. The SAT is a content-based test with sections on reading, writing and language, and math (its writing section has been eliminated). As of March 2024, the SAT is also now administered digitally the same way as the PSAT using the College Board’s Bluebook app and the adaptive testing format. Students are responsible for registering themselves for the SAT by visiting

ACT (American College Test) is an alternative to the SAT and has recently overtaken the SAT as the exam most frequently taken by high school students.  It is a content-based test with sections on reading, English, math, science, and an optional writing section. The ACT requires students to answer more questions in less time than the SAT, so speed is important. Students are responsible for registering themselves for the ACT by visiting

Research shows that the large majority of students do about the same on both tests; however, a small number will do better on the ACT or the SAT, so we recommend students take a practice test of each to see which test is preferable, based on a score comparison and the student’s experience with the test format. 

SAT Subject Tests were discontinued in 2019.

To learn about the differences between the SAT and the ACT and how they compare, take a look at the chart below (for more information, see Revolution Prep).

Q: Are all scores automatically sent to schools?

SAT: No. Students can select which scores they send to colleges by sitting (test date) for the SAT. The score-reporting feature is optional—if students do not use it, all scores will be sent automatically. Note that some colleges require that students send all scores.  

ACT: No. Students must select which scores they send to colleges by sitting (test date) for the ACT. To send more than one test date, students must send multiple reports. Note that some colleges require that students send all scores.  

Q: Are there other uses for the exams?

A: Yes: some scholarship programs require or request test scores in their application process. 

Q: Do schools “superscore” the tests (consider the highest score in each section)? 

SAT: Most schools superscore the SAT. 

ACT: Many schools, but not all, superscore the ACT. 

Q: How can I compare my scores?

A: The ACT and the College Board offer concordance tables to help you compare your scores: 

SAT Concordance Table

ACT Concordance Table

Need more information?

SAT: The College Board (866) 756-7346

ACT: ACT, Inc.  (319) 337-1270

Deerfield Academy Code is 220685

  1. It is YOUR responsibility to register for the SAT and ACT!
  2. Online registration is the easiest way for most students to sign up for the SAT exams and the ACT exam. You will need a valid major credit card and photo  to register. Be sure to have your scores sent to Deerfield when you register.
  3. Make sure you meet the test registration deadlines!
  4. International students should enter their address as Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, Deerfield, MA 01342 in order to avoid international charges.
  5. It is vital that you know the testing requirements of each college to which you plan to apply. For test optional schools, consult with your college advisor about which tests to send to which colleges. For example, if a college is test-optional you may choose not to send your scores if they are not competitive.
  6. Always use the exact same name and address when you sign up for any test! If you sign up as John Smith the first time then as W. John Smith the next time, the computer registration and reporting systems will treat you as two different people, which will make sending scores to colleges much more difficult.
  7. Students eligible for extended time testing must see Deerfield’s testing coordinator, for help with the extended time application process. This must be done as soon as possible because it can take up to six months for execution of the entire process for extended time.
  8. Fee Waivers:  If you qualify for a test fee waiver (or think you might) for either test, please email Ms. Brightman to get your code for online registration.
  9. You will receive an admission ticket for all testing sessions. Check the information for accuracy and that you are assigned to the correct testing site. If you are not, or if you have other questions, contact Deerfield’s testing coordinator, well ahead of the test date. Remember to bring your photo ID, admission ticket, and calculator with you to the test.
  10. Each time you sit for one of the exams, you will be offered the chance to send your results to a small number of colleges for free. We advise that you do not do this the first time you sit for the exams. Your scores will usually rise in subsequent exams, and it will be best for you to send all of your scores at once when you decide on your final list of where to apply and if you want/need to submit scores to colleges.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

Look for instructions from the Testing Coordinator in the fall to sign up for and take any AP tests for which you are qualified.

Sophomores may take the PSAT in October. Email the Testing Coordinator to opt in. 

Junior Year

  • October: PSAT (Deerfield will register students.)
  • September through December: Some juniors may decide to register for and take the SAT and/or the ACT.
  • February: Possible ACT date; may fall over Long Winter Weekend (when DA is closed), so note where you will be.
  • March: SAT test date. The March test date usually falls during spring break so it cannot be taken at Deerfield; register for a test site near home.
  • April: ACT test date; many juniors plan to take this test
  • May: SAT test date; many juniors plan to take this test
  • June: SAT and ACT offered; usually after school closes, so check dates carefully and plan to test wherever you’ll be.

Your college advisor will help you decide which tests to take and when.  We recommend juniors complete the year with one SAT or ACT. Please see the ACT and SAT websites for up-to-date test dates and registration deadlines.

Fall of Senior Year

Retake the SAT or ACT as needed. Early Decision/Early Action applicants can generally still take the September, October and November exams and have their scores available for colleges in the early round.

The surest way for colleges to see your SAT or ACT scores is for you to arrange for official score reports to be sent directly from the testing service ( or, as applicable). Scores do not appear on Deerfield’s transcripts. Some colleges accept “self-reporting” for standardized test scores. Follow colleges’ instructions carefully and ask your college advisor if you have questions. If you are sending scores officially through the testing service, here are some tips:

  • Use the correct CEEB code. Every college and other organization (scholarship agencies and the NCAA) that might want to see your scores has a four-digit code listed in the back of the registration booklet or online. The CEEB code for Deerfield is 220685.
  • SAT and ACT registration forms have spaces to put these codes when you register. A certain number of official reports are sent free of charge as part of the price of registration. You can always add others later online for a fee. To register for either exam, visit and/or
  • Score Choice/Super Scoring. Score Choice for the SAT gives you the option to choose which scores (by test date) you send to colleges—in accordance with an institution’s stated score-use practice. Almost all colleges will “super score” the SAT, i.e. they will take your best individual  “EBRW” and math scores even if they are from different test dates, in order to determine the highest total score. Some schools super score the ACT (meaning they will average the highest available subscores to determine the composite), in which case you should send score reports for each test date in which you scored a high score on a subsection; check admissions offices websites for their policies.
  • Score reports for all SATs are cumulative up to the date of the request. Therefore, if you request a report for the November testing date of your senior year, it will include all tests taken up to that point unless you use score choice. To send your SAT scores, visit
  • Score reports for the ACT are not cumulative. You must obtain a separate report for each testing date if you would like to send more than one set of ACT scores to colleges. To send ACT scores, visit
  • Dates by which colleges should have your scores: For students applying under any early decision or early action plan, scores should be sent by November 1 at the latest. However, if you are an early applicant and need to take a test in November, colleges will usually accept scores from this test date if the college is listed as an automatic recipient as part of your test registration. For most students applying regular decision or Round 2 early decision, scores should be sent in December.
  • Rushing Scores: You always have the option to rush scores if you are worried new scores will not arrive in time for a particular decision deadline, but it is the opinion of the college counseling office and most admission officers that rushing scores is not necessary. Remember that scores are sent electronically and arrive instantly so rushed scores will not get there much faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

For current students, talk to your faculty advisor.  For new students, ninth-graders should contact Mrs. Koyama, tenth-graders and juniors should contact Ms. Hemphill,  and seniors/PGs should contact the College Advising Office.

Students who want to play a sport in college at the Division I, IA, or II level, must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center by the end of their junior year. For more important information about NCAA academic requirements, please visit Athletic Recruiting.

Naviance is an online college search tool that helps students research potential colleges, keep track of their prospective and active applications, and estimate the likelihood of admission based on the results of previous Deerfield students’ grades and testing profiles as compared to each individual student’s personal academic record. All students are given access to Naviance in the fall of their junior year, and parents are given their own log-in information shortly afterwards.  Naviance is the site through which Deerfield submits the school’s portion of a student’s application materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation), so it’s important that students keep their application information up to date on Naviance.

There is no specific requirement for frequency of meetings, but most seniors meet with their advisor every two or three weeks to discuss their progress. Advisors may request more frequent meetings if a student is falling behind in the process, or around crucial times of the year (such as application deadlines).  Juniors will begin meeting with their advisor in late fall of junior year; they are encouraged to check in with their advisor about once a month.  Students can schedule meetings by visiting the College Advising Office on the second floor of the Boyden Library, emailing their college advisor, or using Outlook to request a meeting.

The College Advising Office sends a message to all sophomores each winter to invite them to schedule a meeting with a college advisor. In the summer before students’ junior year, the College Advising Office will send additional information about what students should be doing to prepare themselves for applying. In the late fall of their junior year, students begin the process in earnest, starting by filling out an information sheet that will help them, in conjunction with their college advisor, begin compiling a list of schools.

Deerfield is highly conscious of the needs of its student-athletes, and offers a wide range of NCAA eligible classes. The College Advising Office and Deerfield coaches are accustomed to assisting students seeking to play sports in college, and they are experienced in guiding students through the recruiting process. They will work with students to be sure they meet the NCAA requirements, and are in the best position possible to be recruited.

Contact College Advising
Fax 413-772-1128

Boyden Library, Second Floor
PO Box 87
Deerfield, MA 01342