Many states mandate that their public high school students take a specific exam during their junior year. More than 20 states currently choose the ACT or SAT tests for this purpose. Some even require the SAT or ACT for high school graduation. Nearly every college and university in the U.S. accepts ACT and SAT scores, often using them as a measure for determining scholarship and grant awards.

The ACT is required in these states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Arizona (+Writing)
  4. Hawaii (+Writing)
  5. Kansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. Louisiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Montana (+Writing)
  10. Nebraska (+Writing)
  11. North Carolina
  12. Utah
  13. Wisconsin (+Writing)
  14. Wyoming

You can learn more about the ACT with our Ultimate Guide.

The SAT is required in these states:

  1. Colorado (optional Essay; students attending college-level courses in CO must earn an English score of 479 and a Math score of 500)
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware (+ Essay)
  4. Illinois (+ Essay)
  5. Michigan (+ Essay)
  6. New Hampshire (+ Essay)
  7. New Mexico
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Washington DC
  10. West Virginia (+ Essay)

You can learn more about the SAT with our Definitive Guide.

Some states require students to take either test: 

  1. Indiana (fulfill the graduation requirement; schools provide the SAT for free)
  2. Ohio (the school/district chooses which test)
  3. Oklahoma (+Writing or + Essay, the school/district chooses which test)
  4. Tennessee (either test can be taken to fulfill the graduation requirement; schools choose and provide one test for free)

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Learn more: Do Colleges Prefer the ACT or SAT: Taking the Right Test