Standardized Test Requirements & Placement/Credit for College-Level Work
All applicants are required to submit all official results of either the SAT or ACT Test.* While we're interested in the general pattern of your scores, we give most weight to the highest score you've received on any of the exams. You can view our standardized test averages here.
For those applying to join the Fall 2021 first-year class and beyond, SAT Subject Tests are neither required nor recommended, and these scores won’t be considered in our admission review process.
We’ve outlined our standardized test requirements, as well as our policies regarding placement or credit for college-level work below.
*Carnegie Mellon University has adopted a test-optional policy for one year, removing the SAT/ACT standardized testing requirement for first-year Fall 2021 applicants. Please see Information for Fall 2021 Applicants below for more information.
Standardized Testing Requirements
There continue to be challenges to the college admission process brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most common concerns we hear from prospective students has to do with disruptions to standardized testing in the upcoming admission cycle. It’s become clear that students who want to take either the SAT or ACT may find it difficult or even impossible due to limitations associated with testing center availability and capacity related to social distancing requirements. Recognizing that standardized testing opportunities may not be available to all potential applicants, Carnegie Mellon University has adopted a test-optional policy for one year, removing the SAT/ACT standardized testing requirement for first-year Fall 2021 applicants.
Pursuant to this one-year policy, students who are unable to take either the SAT or ACT or choose not to submit their standardized test scores will be considered equally for admission along with those who submit scores. We also recognize that candidates who do submit scores may not have been able to take the SAT or ACT more than once as planned.
This test optional policy is a one-year accommodation being made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will review and evaluate our process during the admission cycle for Fall 2021 and make a determination regarding future standardized testing requirements for admission to Carnegie Mellon at its conclusion.
Carnegie Mellon is committed to a holistic approach to admission. No single grade, factor, score or activity guarantees or disqualifies any candidate admission to Carnegie Mellon. We treat every applicant as an individual, taking great care to make our admission decisions fairly, thoroughly and in context. We’re interested in students who can be successful at Carnegie Mellon while taking full advantage of all the university has to offer and enriching our campus community.
Carnegie Mellon requires either the SAT or ACT Test from every applicant.*
We prefer that all testing for Early Decision applicants is completed by November 1 and for Regular Decision by January 1.
We believe that college admission testing in the 9th and 10th grades adds to the anxiety of a process that students won’t encounter for several years. As a result, we’re generally not in favor of any 9th or 10th grade SAT or ACT Test scores (although tests taken the summer after 10th grade are appropriate). While they may measure subject knowledge at the time the tests are taken, that level of knowledge gradually degrades and doesn’t fully represent the subject knowledge students bring to college first-year courses. Should students present tests taken two or more years in advance of their first-year experience, we'd need to take the timing of the test results into consideration. The greater the amount of time prior to students' first year of college, the less we can rely on the test results as a fair representation of their knowledge entering Carnegie Mellon.
Carnegie Mellon accepts either official electronic score results or a student's official score report verified and forwarded to the Office of Admission directly by their school counselor.
The Carnegie Mellon SAT code is 2074 and the ACT code is 3534.
*Carnegie Mellon University has adopted a test-optional policy for one year, removing the SAT/ACT standardized testing requirement for first-year Fall 2021 applicants. Please see Information for Fall 2021 Applicants above for more information.
We require the TOEFL or IELTS from all non-native English speakers.* Carnegie Mellon requires a TOEFL score of 102 or better on the IBT TOEFL or an IELTS score of 7.5 or better. Sub-scores are also carefully reviewed, with consideration given to those with sub-scores of 25 or higher on the TOEFL or 7.5 or higher on the IELTS.
Should a student take the TOEFL more than once, we'll use the set of TOEFL scores corresponding with the highest overall score. We don't use TOEFL MyBest scores, which ‘superscore’ subsection results from more than one test administration of the TOEFL.
Please plan on taking the TOEFL or IELTS no later than December of your senior year. Make sure that the name you use for test registration is identical to your name listed on your passport and in your admissions application.
*The TOEFL/IELTS will continue to be required for non-native English speakers for Fall 2021.
Placement/Credit for College-Level Work
Carnegie Mellon may grant advanced placement and credit for scores of four and five on exams taken in the CEEB Advanced Placement program. Send your AP scores to the Office of Admission in early summer and the appropriate academic dean will evaluate your scores and let you know if AP credit was awarded. View the AP and IB exams with the corresponding scores and credit usually awarded.
Carnegie Mellon also recognizes the International Baccalaureate Examinations. We may grant advanced standing and/or credit in various fields for scores of six or seven on the higher level exams. Send the results of the IB exams to the Office of Admission in early summer and the appropriate academic dean will evaluate your scores and let you know if credit was awarded. View the AP and IB exams with the corresponding scores and credit usually awarded.
We may grant placement or credit for college work you’ve completed in high school. Have your college transcript(s) sent to the Office of Admission for transfer credit and advanced placement evaluation. Please also send course descriptions for each course we’re to evaluate.
As a safeguard for engineering and science students for whom calculus credit is granted, who may feel uncomfortable with the material, you may move into a lower level course in the sequence and we’ll adjust your credit.
Carnegie Mellon recognizes the Cambridge GCE A-Level (advanced level) examinations in various higher-level subjects and may grant advanced placement and/or credit for exemplary grades. View the Cambridge exams with the corresponding scores and credit usually awarded.
Please note that we do not accept GCE "O" level examinations for placement.