Is MIT Test Optional?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Male student typing in a table on a library.

Is MIT Test Optional?

Is MIT test optional? For the 2022–2023 application cycle, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has updated its testing requirements. This affects prospective first-year students as well as transfer students who hope to enroll at MIT in 2023.

In 2020 and 2021, the Institute did not enforce its long-standing requirement because the widespread COVID-19 pandemic rendered it unsafe for the majority of high school students to take their exams. However, now that there is a safe and effective pediatric vaccination, an expanded free in-school SAT program (where the vast majority of students now take the test), and a digital version of the SAT, most prospective students are able to retake the exams.

Both incoming first-years and transfers to MIT are required to take either the SAT or the ACT. MIT’s research shows that standardized tests help them better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants. MIT wants to be confident that an applicant has the academic preparation and noncognitive skills (such as resilience, conscientiousness, time management, and so on) to do well in our challenging, fast-paced academic environment. Standardized tests help them do this.

In a nutshell, although we just wanted to confirm if MIT is test optional, research conducted at MIT has demonstrated that in the majority of cases, it is not possible to us to make accurate predictions about whether or not students will do well at MIT unless we consider standardized test results in addition to grades, coursework, and other factors.

These findings are statistically reliable and have not changed significantly over time. They also remain unchanged when socioeconomic factors are controlled for and demographic groups are compared. And it turns out that the mathematical portion of the test is the one that is most important.

Students taking an exam on their desks in a classroom.

Standardized tests also help them identify students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and do not have access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT. These students may not be able to demonstrate their readiness for MIT without these opportunities.

MIT believes that a requirement is more fair and transparent than a policy that allows students to choose whether or not to take the test. They do not mandate that you take the writing portion of the ACT or the optional essay on the SAT.

Writing and communication are very highly valued at MIT, despite the fact that neither the ACT writing section nor the SAT optional essay is required for admission. They are of the opinion that students in any field should be taught how to write prose that is clear, organized, and eloquent, as well as how to present facts, data, and ideas in a way that is convincing.

As MIT is not test optional, as a result, all undergraduate students at MIT are required to satisfy a communication requirement. This requirement incorporates instruction and practice in writing and speaking into all four years of the undergraduate program at MIT, as well as all of its individual components.

What are the Admission Requirements for MIT?

MIT’s admission rate for the class of 2025 comes in at 6.7 percent, putting MIT at the same level as many Ivy League schools. MIT is especially famous for its top STEM programs in fields like engineering and computer science, but it does have programs in other fields—even in humanities subjects, such as creative writing.

Young woman using a laptop in a desk.

Whether MIT is test optional or not, as MIT has a holistic admission process, it requires you to have great skills along with the MIT SAT Score. You need to have a wide range of skills that encompass both your academic work and the activities you participate in outside of school to define your overall personality. In order to improve your odds, you should strive to distinguish yourself from the competition by compiling an impressive portfolio and achieving a perfect score on the SAT.

MIT SAT Requirements

Every university has its own specific criteria that must be met before admitting students, and these standards can shift depending on the specifics of each applicant’s situation. In light of the fact that you are interested in enrolling at MIT, you should consult the MIT Admissions Requirements in order to become familiar with the prerequisites for enrollment there:

  • The average SAT score required for admission to MIT is 1500; however, in order to be considered for admission, your score must be higher than this. In many situations, it is possible for it to go either higher or lower than this range. In order to improve your chances of being accepted, you need to set your sights as high as you possibly can.
  • SAT Test Scores Are No Longer Required: Beginning in 2022-2023, MIT will no longer require SAT test scores. If you have already taken the SAT, you have the option of sending your SAT score; however, this is not a requirement that must be met in order to apply.
  • Additional Criteria: If you are not sending in your SAT scores, it is strongly recommended that you have a solid high school GPA, a portfolio, and various volunteer roles, among other things.

MIT SAT Scores

It is possible that the SAT scores required for admission to MIT will change from year to year; however, when looking at the trend, it can be seen that students should aim for scores of 1500 or higher in order to improve their chances of being included in the shortlist.

Students answering a test on a desk.

In addition to that, MIT provides a waitlist option for its students. To summarize, in order to hit the target, you absolutely need to have a score higher than 1500. The submission of SAT Scores will no longer be required beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.

MIT ACT Scores

Since MIT has changed its test optional policy, this highlights your application will be rejected if you get a score that is too low, similar to how it works for the SAT; however, if you get a score that is too high, your application will be considered. At MIT, the average score for the ACT is 35. With a score like this, MIT is in the running for some of the most competitive ACT scores.

A score of 34 on the ACT corresponds to the 25th percentile, and a score of 36 corresponds to the 75th percentile.

Even though MIT most likely states that they do not have a minimum ACT score requirement, if you apply with a score of 34 or lower, you will have a very difficult time getting accepted, unless you have something else in your application that is very impressive. Because there are so many applicants with scores of 35 or higher, a score of 34 will appear to be academically lacking.

MIT GPA Requirement

Your academic performance in high school must have been of an exceptionally high caliber for you to be awarded admission to MIT. This does not imply that you should switch to more manageable coursework in order to ensure perfect grades.

MIT examines the courses that you take during your senior year of high school and wants to see that you have challenged yourself by taking the most challenging courses that are available to you and scoring well in those courses. If your school offers Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, you should take those instead of the options that are easier.

Teacher talking to a student while they are doing school works.

You should continue your mathematical education past the pre-calculus level. 97 percent of MIT’s admitted students graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes, and all admitted students graduated in the top 25 percent of their classes, according to MIT. This indicates that you should set a goal of obtaining a weighted grade point average of at least 4.13. You should work toward getting a grade point average that is even higher if you want to improve your chances.

What are the Application Requirements for MIT?

MIT, much like the majority of other top-tier educational institutions, employs a holistic admissions process. This indicates that they take into account all of the potential factors, not just the scores on standardized tests or the MIT grade point average requirements. Because the admissions committee at MIT wants to learn as much as they can about you through your application, every step of the process is an opportunity for you to improve your candidate profile.

Before you get started, you should give some thought to how you should present yourself, particularly in the MIT essays. Think about the things you want to accomplish, what you’ve already done, and your skills. When trying to figure out how to get into MIT, it’s important to highlight these characteristics because they reveal aspects of your personality that numbers cannot and are important factors to highlight.

The following are the steps that need to be taken to finish your application to MIT:

  • Create a MyMIT account by going to my.mit.edu and following the prompts –
  • MIT has its very own application system that it uses. There is a non-refundable application fee of $75. If you are in need, you might be eligible to have your fees waived.
  • Send in Part 1 – Applications for MIT’s Early Action program must be received by November 1st. The application deadline for MIT’s Regular Action program is on January 5.
  • Interviews at MIT must be scheduled before the application deadline, which is December 10 for the Regular Action program and October 20 for the Early Action program.
  • Evaluations of Teaching Staff – MIT calls for a minimum of two evaluations of teaching staff. The MIT Early Action application period closes on November 1, 2018. The application deadline for this through MIT’s Regular Action program is January 5.
  • The deadline for the Secondary School Report portion of the MIT Early Action application is November 1. The application deadline for this through MIT’s Regular Action program is on January 5.
  • Submit Part 2 – Your MIT essays, activities list, honors you’ve received, test scores, and information about your secondary school coursework are all included in Part 2 of the application.
  • Standardized tests: Since MIT is not test optional, as a guide if you are applying to MIT Early Action, you must take your tests on or before the November test date. If you are applying to MIT Regular Action, you must take your tests on or before the January test date.
  • Mid-year Grade Report – After the completion of your first semester, trimester, or second quarter, your guidance counselor or principal should fill out this form for you. Send the form as soon as it is possible for you to access your grades.
  • Submit all financial aid materials to the Financial Aid Office by February 15 in order to meet the regular MIT application deadline and by November 30 in order to meet the MIT early application deadline.


  • Send in your music and/or art portfolios – The deadline for submitting an application to MIT for Regular Action is January 1, and the deadline for MIT Early Action is November 1. If you are interested in sending in a portfolio for evaluation, the deadline is January 1.
  • Get in Touch with the MIT Coaches and ROTC If you are an athlete who is thinking about competing at the varsity level, MIT strongly encourages you to get in touch with the MIT coach who oversees your particular sport.

You should make it a priority to respond to all of the essays that are required by MIT as part of your “how to get into MIT” plan. There are five short-answer essay questions, and there is also one open-ended text box where you can include information that is not mentioned anywhere else in your application.

Because each essay is a wonderful chance for the real you to shine through, we highly recommend that you have others proofread your responses; however, you shouldn’t let them edit so much that it takes away from your distinctive point of view. You should also focus on meeting the average SAT scores required by MIT as well as the assumed MIT grade point average requirements.

When is the Application Deadline for MIT?

Early action and regular action are the two application processes that can be used to apply to MIT. You will not improve your chances of being accepted to MIT by submitting an application through the early action program.

Nevertheless, this demonstrates that you have a strong desire to study at MIT. Whether you intend to apply through early action or through regular action, you need to pay attention to the deadlines for submitting your application.

Early Action (EA)

November 1 All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.
November 1 Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher
November 1 Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript
November testing date Standardized tests: SAT or ACT. We strongly recommend English proficiency exams for certain non-native English speakers who plan to apply.
Mid-February February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)

Regular Action (RA)

January 1 All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.
January 1 Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher
January 1 Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript
December testing date Standardized tests: SAT or ACT. We strongly recommend English proficiency exams for certain non-native English speakers who plan to apply. (We will also accept English proficiency exams for Regular Action applicants through the January test dates.)
Mid-February February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)

At AdmissionSight, we know there are a lot of other questions students and their families may have about the admissions process. Feel free to set up an appointment today with AdmissionSight to answer any and all of the questions you have. Reach out today to learn more about the admissions process.


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