How we use test scores
Standardized tests are required for anyone applying as a first-year student to MIT. However, they are not the only factor, or even the most important factor.
When we receive your application, we review all of your academic information—grades, scores, classes, etc.—to ensure that you are prepared for MIT. In part because of the strength of our applicant pool, the majority of our applicants are very well prepared to succeed at MIT.
What this means is that you shouldn’t stress out too much about your scores, because we admit people, not numbers. With that said, tests are certainly important, and you should prepare for them as best you can.
Standardized test requirements: 2018–2019 and beyond
All applicants must complete one test from each category.
1. Standardized Test
2. Math SAT subject test
3. Science SAT Subject Test
For native English speakers:
We require the SAT or the ACT. In addition, we require two SAT Subject Tests: one in math (level 1 or 2), and one in science (physics, chemistry, or biology e/m). We do not have a preference as to which science test you take or which math level you take.
For non-native English speakers:
You have two options:
- Take the tests required for native English speakers (see above)
- Take the TOEFL and two SAT Subject Tests, one in math (level 1 or 2) and one in science (physics, chemistry, or biology e/m)
If you have been using English for less than five years or do not speak English at home or at school, we strongly suggest that you take the TOEFL, although it is not required.
While MIT will not require the ACT writing section or SAT optional essay, MIT does value writing and communication highly.
MIT believes that students in any field should learn to write prose that is clear, organized, and eloquent, and to convincingly present facts, data, and ideas. As such, all MIT undergraduates must fulfill a communication requirement that integrates instruction and practice in writing and speaking into all four years and across all parts of MIT’s undergraduate program.
If you take the same test (SAT, ACT, or an SAT Subject Test) multiple times, we will consider the highest score achieved in each section. We do this in order to consider all applicants in their best light.
Students are free to use the College Board’s Score Choice option and the ACT’s option to submit the scores of your choice as well.
Testing deadlines and reporting scores
In order to apply for first-year admission, you must take the required tests on or before the November test date for Early Action or the December test date for Regular Action. These are the latest scores that will reach the Admissions Committee in time for review.
Your scores must be reported to us officially from the testing agency; scores you list on your application and scores appearing on your school transcript will not be considered official.
Please allow plenty of time for your scores to arrive at MIT. Keep in mind that it takes at least four to six weeks for us to receive SAT scores. We recommend that you list MIT as a school to receive your scores when you take the test.
If you are an Early Action applicant, and you take the November test—or if you are a Regular Action applicant, and take the December test—you must list MIT as a school to receive your scores or we will not receive them in time for our review.
It is important that you register for tests with the same name as you have indicated on your application or MyMIT account. Your record and test scores will not be linked in our system if the names do not match.
When to take which tests
Obviously, it’s vital that students take all tests on or before the deadlines. Beyond that, however, choose your test dates wisely! For example, if you will be completing high school physics, chemistry, or biology before your senior year, it’s very wise to take the appropriate SAT Subject Tests right afterwards (usually May or June), while the material is fresh in your mind.
Many applicants do take at least one science subject test during senior year, after completing only a portion of the given course. Our admissions committee recognizes this and judges the scores accordingly. As a general rule however, it’s best to take a subject exam after you’ve completed a whole course.
The content of your math courses should determine whether you take the Level 1 or the Level 2 Math test (we have no preference between the two). Before you choose the dates for any of your tests, particularly math, be sure to get advice from your school counselor and your teachers.
We do not have cut off or recommended scores for the ACT, SAT, or SAT Subject Tests as scores are evaluated within an applicant’s context. To view test score statistics from the most recent admissions year, visit our admissions statistics page.
We do have minimum and recommended scores for the TOEFL. These minimums are in place to ensure your level of English proficiency. Because MIT offers no English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, and English is the language of MIT, all students must show that they will thrive in our community.
For the TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT), the minimum composite score is a 90. We recommend scores of at least 23 for each section, and a composite score of at least 100. Similarly, for the TOEFL revised Paper-Delivered Test (rPDT), we recommend scores of at least 23 for each section.