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.

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. 

TESTLOCATIONDATEREGISTRATION INFO
ACTOn CampusSeptember 9, December 9, April 13www.actstudent.org / School Code: 220685 / Test Center Code: 234820
ACTOff CampusOctober 28, February 10, June 8www.actstudent.org / School Code: 220685 / Test Center Code: 234820
SATOn CampusOctober 7, November 4, December 2, May 4www.collegeboard.org
SATOff CampusAugust 26, March 9, June 1www.collegeboard.org
AP ExamsOn CampusMay 2024Students in AP-level courses will receive information from the Testing Coordinator in the fall. Registration deadline November 15th Register with join code at myap.collegeboard.org

Testing Information and Resources

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.

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 is 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 www.collegeboard.org.

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 www.actstudent.org.

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.

  • Visit the College Board and ACT websites for a list of all test dates.
  • Contact the Testing Coordinator for more information.
  • Visit College Advising for general information about standardized tests and the college process.

Juniors and seniors who qualify for a fee waiver should contact their college advisor or email advising@deerfield.edu for a special code to register online. Fee waivers do not cover late registration fees.

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.

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 amazon.com)
  • 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.

Successful candidates will typically have SAT test scores of at least 700 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, as well as in Mathematics, or an ACT score of at least 32. Applicants should also have earned 5’s in three or more Advanced Placement tests in appropriate subjects.

Additionally, students applying to specific courses of study may have to take a written or verbal exam or submit written work for evaluation. For details about testing required:

Oxford Testing Information

Cambridge Testing Information

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. If English is a student’s second language, they may need to submit TOEFL scores as part of their college applications. Students should check the requirements for each college they plan to apply to ensure they are able to fulfill all requirements.

The TOEFL exam is administered online. Information about the test and registration can be found here.