Most of the Common App is easy to complete, but not its Testing section. So, we’re going to provide you with step-by-step instructions on what to do and how to do it.

Before proceeding, you should know that a growing number of colleges accept self-reported scores rather than official score reports when you apply, with official score reports required only if you’re accepted and decide to enroll there. Check each college’s website to determine if you need to send an official score report when you apply.

On the Common App Testing page, the first thing that you’re asked is if you want to self-report scores, and if you don’t, respond No, and you’re done with that page. That gives the colleges a little more work to do, but that’s okay.

Regardless of whether you answers Yes or No for self-reporting scores, 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 send each college the number of official scores that it requests (e.g., all your scores, your single best score set, your best score sets).



If you respond YES and self-report scores on the Common App, be sure that what you self-report is accurate.


Here’s what the Common App will ask you to enter into the Testing page:

  • Which 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, and how many additional times you plan to test and when (MMDDYY).
  • For AP and IB scores, enter all of 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.

Because you submit one application at a time, you can choose the appropriate self-reporting options for each college. If you 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 the college doesn’t require you to.
  • 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, such as AP or IB, you must respond YES, you do wish to self-report:
  • Select 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 that tests’s name, as shown here
  • 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
  • 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.)
  • If 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 this with an example. Suppose Max has these scores:

  • SAT: Total: 1370 | EBRW: 650 | Math: 720
  • ACT: Composite: 31 | English 31 | Math 34 | Reading 29 | Science 30
  • Max’s composite ACT score of 31 is better than her SAT score, as her 1370 Total SAT score is “equivalent” to an ACT score 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 Max doesn’t want to report AP, IB, SAT Subject Test, or any of her other scores
  • Let’s also assume that Max is applying to Duke, SMU, and University of Florida. Here are the testing policies for those three schools, with our instructions on what Max should enter on each of those college’s Testing page and on its Questions page:


 DukeSMUU Florida
Testing policyTest-optional for 2021Test-optional for 2021Testing required
College’s mid-50% SAT score and ACT score ranges1450-1570






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?


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


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


(scores are required, so she’ll self-report ACT)

Questions Page:

Please indicate if you are submitting scores

NOYESThis question isn’t asked; UF requires scores


One more example for Max – same SAT & ACT scores as above, but Max wants to share her AP scores and future AP test names.

Only one row from above changes:


 DukeSMUU 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?


(Select only AP Tests)


(Select ACT and AP Tests)


(Select ACT and AP Tests)



This blog was submitted by Jason Robinovitz, an educational consultant from Score At The Top Learning Centers & Schools, a family owned group of tutoring companies and schools in South Florida. In his role, he oversees each Center’s day-to-day operations, ensuring the delivery of top quality educational support and guidance services to client families. As team leader for a staff of more than 100 educators, Jason is in charge of strategic decision-making, including best practice policies, customer service, staffing, training, marketing, systems, and technology.


Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Michael Jordan