Testing

As part of our holistic admissions process, we use standardized testing to gain more insight into the academic preparation of our applicants. These tests represent one component in our admissions process in conjunction with other academic and non-academic factors.

The College Board and ACT provide many free resources for students to familiarize them with the exams. Learn more about preparing for the SAT and the ACT.

Our testing policy is as follows:

REQUIRED

ACT1 or Old SAT (2400 scale) or New SAT (1600 scale)2

TOEFL (For International Applicants3)

RECOMMENDED
Two SAT Subject Tests (further recommendations below)
  • 1We do not require the writing portion of the ACT
  • 2We do not require the essay portion of the new SAT
  • 3Students who are native speakers of English or who attend school where the language of instruction is English are not required to take the TOEFL

The New SAT

The College Board began offering the new SAT in March 2016. The College Board provides details about the redesigned SAT exam on its website. For students with the option to submit either exam:

  • Penn will accept scores from both the old SAT and the new SAT.
  • We do not require the essay portion of the new SAT.
  • Old SAT scores (e.g., 2400 scale) will only be superscored with other old SAT results.  Redesigned SAT scores will only be superscored with redesigned SAT test results.

Required Testing

The ACT or the SAT is required. Official scores must be sent to Penn directly from the ACT or the College Board. In addition, students whose native language is not English should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service. Results should be forwarded directly by the testing agency to the Office of Admissions.

Tests must be taken by the appropriate application deadline:

  Early Decision Regular Decision
Last SAT Test Date November 2016 January 2017
Last ACT Test Date October 2016 December 2016
Last SAT Subject Test Date November 2016 January 2017

Note: It is possible to take the October ACT and the November SAT for Early Decision and the December ACT and January SAT for Regular Decision. However, when you register, make sure you have the scores sent directly to the University of Pennsylvania. Do not wait until after you receive your scores to send us the results, as they may not be received in time to review them with your application.

Testing codes: SAT – 2926; ACT – 3732; TOEFL 2926

Recommended Testing

SAT Subject Tests are recommended but not required. Applicants who do not take SAT Subject Tests will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

Area of Study RECOMMENDED subject test(s)
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Any two Subject Tests
Nursing Science, preferably Chemistry
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Math Level 2 and a science test (preferably Physics for Engineering Applicants)
Business Math Level 2

Additional Information

  • Score Choice: Penn requires applicants to submit their entire testing history; we do not participate in Score Choice. If applicants have taken both the SAT and the ACT, they must submit their testing history from both exams.
  • SAT vs. ACT: No preference is given to the SAT or the ACT. If an applicant submits both tests, we will pay attention to the higher score from either test.
  • Superscoring: Superscoring: For the old SAT, we will use the highest individual Critical Reading, Math, and Writing scores across test sittings. For the new SAT, we will use the highest individual Evidence-Based Reading and Math scores across test sittings. Old SAT scores (e.g., 2400 scale) will only be superscored with other old SAT results.  Redesigned SAT scores will only be superscored with redesigned SAT test results. For the ACT, we consider the highest individual English, Math, Reading, and Science scores across test sittings. In other words, we superscore the ACT and we superscore within old and new SATs but not between old and new SAT tests.