Preparing for College

Do A-Levels Replace SATs for British Students?

Question: My daughter is an American citizen, but she has been educated in a British school in London where we live. Will American colleges accept her A-Level test results instead of the SAT?

The vast majority of colleges that require the SAT of domestic students will also expect it of international students, as well, no matter what other tests they’ve completed nor the results they’ve achieved. You can ask individual schools if they differ on that policy, but it’s unlikely. The ACT can be substituted for the SAT almost everywhere, but the SAT is probably easier to access in the U.K. Go to www.collegeboard.com for details. (Typically students in British schools in and around London take the SAT at the American School in Saint John’s Wood, but there are several other options, depending where you live.)


The good news, however, is that, while strong A-level results won’t replace standardized test scores, they can often be substituted for the College Board’s Advanced Placement exams and can earn an applicant credit once enrolled. Some students with several high A-level results may even qualify for sophomore status when they matriculate. At Yale University, for instance, freshmen may be awarded the same number of acceleration credits for scores of B or A on their A-level examinations (or for scores of 6 or 7 on higher-level International Baccalaureate examinations) as they would for top scores on the AP tests.

In fact, if your daughter is accepted by several American colleges or universities, she may find that she is awarded varying amounts of credit at each one for her A-level results, and that may affect her final decision, so be sure to ask at every school and never assume that policies are the same across the board.