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Top Tips to Complete the Common App Testing Section

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2020 6:00:00 PM
Girl Showing Frustration with Common App Application

Most of the Common App is pretty straightforward to complete, but one question we hear quite often from our students is “How should I complete the Testing page?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward.

You should fill in your test scores and dates on the Common App Testing Section based upon the type of scores you wish to self-report.

First, you are asked if you want to self-report your scores. Regardless of your response in the Common App, you must send official score reports from College Board and/or ACT to all colleges that require an official SAT or ACT score report – and be sure to officially report the number of scores each college requests (e.g., all your scores, your single best score set, your best score sets). There are a growing number of colleges that accept self-reported scores rather than an official score report when you apply. You’ll send an official score report to one of these colleges if you are accepted and decide to matriculate there. Check each college’s website to determine if you need to send an official score report when you apply.

If you don't want to self-report your scores

If you respond, NO, that you don’t want to self-report any scores, then you’re done filling out the Common App Testing Section. This does give the college a little more work to do, but it’s an OK option.

If you want to self-report your scores

If you respond YES and self-report your scores on the Common App, be sure that what you self-report is accurate. Here’s what the Common Application will ask you to enter into the Testing page:

  • Common App Testing Section Example of How to Select Tests to ReportWhich scores you’d like to self-report: SAT, ACT, SAT Subject, AP, IB, TOEFL, PTE, IELTS.
  • How many scores of each type you wish to report, what those scores and test dates (MMDDYY) are, how many additional times you plan to test and when (MMDDYY).
  • For AP and IB scores: enter all your passing scores, even if you’re not happy with them, along with the test name and date (MMYY). Also list all future tests and dates (MMYY) you plan to take at the end of senior year.
Common App Example of Reporting SAT Test Scores

 

Common app Example of Reporting AP Test Scores

 

If you have competitive scores (at or above the mid-point of a college’s mid-50% SAT or ACT range for accepted students), you should self-report them. Test-optional does not mean test-blind: if you submit scores, they’ll be considered – and if they’re especially good, they’ll give you quite a boost! (If a college is test-blind, your scores will not be considered… but very few colleges are test-blind.)

Because you submit one application at a time, you can choose the appropriate self-reporting options for each college. Keep reading….

Want to self-report scores to some colleges, but not to others? Do the following:

For a college to which you want to self-report, whether or not scores are required:

  • Respond YES, that you do want to report scores
  • Indicate which tests you’d like to report (SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP, IB, TOEFL, PTE, IELTS)
  • Enter the scores, test dates (MMDDYY), the number of future tests you plan to take, and the future test dates (MMDDYY)
  • If you have good SAT Subject Test Scores (typically in the 700s), self-report them even if the college does not require them
  • Finish the application and submit it to that college

For test-optional colleges:
If you don’t want to self-report your SAT or ACT scores, but you do want to report other scores, like AP or IB, you must respond YES, you do wish to self-report:

  • How to Remove a Test Score from the Common AppSelect only the tests whose scores you want to report, but don’t select SAT or ACT. If you had selected one of those to complete a previous application, you can de-select it for the college application you’re working on by clicking on the x next to the test name
  • Enter the number of tests to report, including tests you expect to take
  • Enter the details for each test – date (MMYY), name of test, score

If you select “No, I do not wish to self-report,” then any scores you had previously entered are hidden for that school’s application, but NOT erased. So, when you submit your application to a test-optional college, the admissions office won’t see your scores.

ATTENTION: You must also respond NO to the question "Please indicate if you are submitting scores" on that college’s Questions page. If, at any point, you change the self-reporting option from “No” back to “Yes,” the scores you entered into a previously submitted application will reappear on the screen.

 

Let’s illustrate how to complete the Common App Testing Section with an example.

Suppose Judi has the following test scores:

  • SAT: Total: 1370 | EBRW: 650 | Math: 720
  • ACT: Composite: 31 | English 31 | Math 34 | Reading 29 | Science 30
  • Judi’s ACT is better than her SAT, as her SAT is “equivalent” to an ACT of 30, so for the colleges to which she does report scores, she’ll share only her ACT score
  • To keep things simple, let’s assume that Judi doesn’t want to report AP, IB, SAT Subject Test, or any other scores
  • Judi is applying to Duke, SMU, and University of Florida. Here are the testing policies for those three schools, with our instructions on what you should enter on the Testing page and on the college’s Questions page:
  Duke SMU U Florida
Testing Policy Test-optional for 2021 Test-optional for 2021 Testing required

College’s mid-50% score ranges

1450-1570 

33-35

1280-1460 

29-33

1280-1440 

27-32

Testing Page:

Do you wish to self-report scores or future test dates for any of the following standardized tests: ACT, SAT/SAT Subject, AP, IB, TOEFL, PTE Academic, and IELTS?*

NO

(she’s below the mid-50% range and she’s not testing again)

YES

(she’s in the middle of the mid-50% range so she’ll self-report ACT)

YES
(scores are required;

she’ll self-report ACT)

Questions Page:

Please indicate if you are submitting scores
NO YES This question isn't asked; UF requires scores.

One more example for Judi – same SAT & ACT scores as above, but:

  • Judi wants to share her AP scores and future AP test names. Only one row above changes:
  Duke SMU U Florida

Testing Page:

Do you wish to self-report scores or future test dates for any of the following standardized tests: ACT, SAT/SAT Subject, AP, IB, TOEFL, PTE Academic, and IELTS?*

YES
(Select only

AP Tests)

YES

(Select ACT and AP Tests)

YES

(Select ACT and AP Tests)

Score at the Top understands this is a very complex process, so if you need additional help, give us a call! We can help you on a comprehensive basis and have hourly packages available.

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Topics: College Admission Common Application Test-Prep College Application Educational-Consulting

 

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