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Using American SATs to get into UK universities

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If you want to continue home-educating all the way through to university, A-levels are very challenging and can be expensive to take from home education. Some UK students have taken American SAT university entrance tests in the UK, and have found these to be a cheaper and easier way to gain entry to UK universities.

Because UK universities are popular with international students, most publish admissions requirements for applicants with US qualifications and examples are below under UK Universities' Info for US Applicants. Where a university will accept SATs alone or with a High School Diploma, this is cheaper than taking A-levels as an external candidate, and some who have done it feel that it is less work. Other universities require Advanced Placement Tests, which are comparable to A-levels and so this route may not be any more straightforward than taking conventional UK qualifications. Some greatly prefer the US approach with a broader curriculum, or have been using US-based curriculums for earlier years and so wish to continue this approach.

If your heart is set on a particular course or a particular uni, then check before taking this path to ensure that the university will accept these qualifications from a UK applicant. But if you do not have time to complete A-levels, or cannot find an exam centre to accommodate your options, then this may be a way to get to university.

If you're completely new to taking exams from home education, please see our Quick Start Guide first, then join the HE Exams community to get support from fellow home-educators.

There is a lot more information, including exam centres and available subjects, on the College Board website.

Can you use SATs as alternatives to GCSEs?

It depends what you want the GCSEs for. This page is about university applications and there is a clear pathway for using SATs to apply to university which some UK home educators have had success with. However, if you want to go to Further Education (FE) college or sixth form at age 16-19, to do A-levels or Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications, then requirements are different.

If you go to a state-funded college at 16-19 and do not have GCSE passes at grade 4+ in English and maths, you have to continue studying those subjects and work towards either GCSE or Functional Skills in them, alongside your other studies. There are some alternative qualifications which are accepted instead, including IGCSEs, but SATs are not accepted as an equivalent for this purpose if you took them in the UK. Overseas qualifications may be accepted if you were living abroad when you took them, and if the college can satisfy itself that they are equivalent to GCSE level. However, if you were resident in the UK then the only qualifications accepted for this purpose are those specified in the funding guidance. For more information, see IGCSEs and 16-19 College Funding.

FE Colleges and sixth forms set their own admissions requirements. It is possible that some would accept you with SATs instead of GCSEs, but you would need to check with each college individually. Because you would need to study for maths and English qualifications alongside your other courses, you might be limited in which courses you could take.

Employers may accept SATs as GCSE alternatives; a child of one of our group members in Scotland was able to get a job with the Scottish government on the basis of her SATs, once she'd provided information on the qualification. However, you would need to discuss this with each potential employer as it is up to them whether they accept alternatives to UK qualifications.

US University Entrance Tests and UK equivalents

To understand using US entrance tests for UK universities, it is helpful first to understand how US admissions work. Runnymede College, a UK independent school which prepares pupils for US university applications, advises:

Competitive American universities and colleges require the same academic standards as competitive British universities. Less competitive universities may accept applications with five IGCSEs but without A levels. Students who have taken A levels are given credits for them as if they had taken the U.S. Advanced Placement Test...

Most U.S. Universities and Colleges now require admissions test. Registration must be completed about six weeks before the date of the test, and tests should be taken as early in the year preceding college entrance as possible. All American college admission tests are multiple choice tests and they do not include any prescribed course of study.

The test most frequently required is the College Board Admissions Testing Program, commonly known as the College Boards. This is made up of two parts: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I) consisting of three hours of mathematical and verbal questions, and SAT II – one, two or three one-hour tests in specific subjects.

The subjects a candidate should take are sometimes indicated by the College but usually the candidate is left free to choose. Most institutions ask for SAT I. Highly competitive institutions require both. These tests are taken on Saturdays early in December, January and late April/May...Since the SAT consists of both English and Maths tests, we advise our students to take their SATs either in the spring just before GCSEs or in the autumn of Year 12, when both subjects will be fresh in their minds. No special preparation is required for these tests. However, we have .. specimen tests which we recommend candidates to work through. Since the SAT can be taken any number of times, we also advise taking it a second time in the spring of Year 12 or the autumn of Year 13.

We strongly recommend anybody intending to try for an American University to take the SAT IIs. .. We recommend students to take the SAT II in the subjects they are studying to A level, where possible. The content is similar to, but rather broader and less deep than IGCSEs. We recommend taking them in April/May or Year 12 or November of Year 13.

..We do not recommend students .. to take the Advanced Placement Tests since all U.S. Colleges will give advanced placement for good A levels.

Source: Runnymede College

UCAS on applying to UK universities with US qualifications

(note that this is aimed at overseas applicants, not UK applicants with US qualifications. Although it is reasonable to expect requirements to be the same for UK applicants, please do check.)

Please note that UK universities create their own entry requirements using AP exams and generally require a high school diploma in addition.

Universities and colleges may wish to make offers using a range of indicators – including GPA, AP results, ACT/SAT scores – for example requiring an overall GPA of 4.0 together with qualifying scores on two AP tests (3 and above). UK universities generally require a high school diploma in addition to AP exam grades.

Source: UCAS - Key Issues for UK Admissions.

Durham University has produced a helpful equivalence table which shows how their requirements for applicants with US qualifications compare to A-levels.

Durham University equivalence table for A-level grades and USA qualifications.

High School Diplomas for home-educated children:

US Universities generally require entrance exams scores (SAT or ACT) in addition to a high school diploma. Home educated students in America usually went about getting a diploma in a couple ways:

  1. By keeping track of their courses the last 4 or odd years (high school years) and issuing their own or one by an online high school
  1. Getting a GED (a test taken that is equivalent to a diploma - though it is not generally looked upon as highly, so having other skills like extracurricular activities is a plus).

Note that University applications are not the same in the US as in the UK. There is no standardised application system. Each University handles applications however they want but many have begun to welcome home educated students.

Obtaining a High School Diploma from homeschooling

Scottish Universities

A number of home-educated children have gone to Scottish universities via this route; because Scottish degrees are four years as standard, they dovetail better with the US system than the usual three-year degree elsewhere in the UK. Although, it should be noted, that with strong A Level results, some Scottish universities will allow a candidate to join a degree course at the start of Year Two.

Dundee University explains:

Four Year Honours

As with most Scottish universities, the majority of our undergraduate degrees traditionally take four years study to complete. This is different from those in the rest of the UK, and the additional year is designed to give you a broader education in the early years with a greater degree of flexibility, and in many cases, the opportunity to try out new subjects.

Online Discussion Groups

All routes to university are discussed on the HE Exams support groups.

There is also a Facebook support group, HE Success Without UK Exams, for home-educated students applying to UK uni with US SATs, where you can discuss this route with others who have experience of this.

Case Studies

M has three children who bypassed GCSEs and A-levels, and instead applied to university with American SATs:

Both my girls took the US College Board SAT, bypassing both GCSEs and College..My daughter was just accepted straight into university to study for an honours degree in Applied Biology and Zoology. Another was accepted for an honours degree in English.  My son did not want to go to college to gain qualifications because he feels passionately about his home education and always knew he had been educated to university standard, so we set about contacting universities of his choice in order to ascertain what was required for entry. They all said they would accept US college board SAT scores and so we worked towards that. This is a much cheaper option as it does not require individual exams but rather one exam testing, Math and English. It costs $85 and books can be purchased cheaply from Amazon and even better this year practice tests and study aids are all free on Khan academy. My son applied through UCAS and was accepted straight in university based on his scores and was even offered full merit scholarships to universities in the US.

Most unis list the entry requirements on their websites now. Because the applications are being submitted through UCAS, my children have never been questioned as to why they have SAT scores, the universities just accepted them. In this last case,.. I called them first to ensure they knew her place would be funded through SAAS (the Scottish funding agency) and also that they knew ( being very nice about it of course) how to apply SAT scores. When she then submitted her UCAS application, the university offered her a place within days.

My other daughter who is going to Stirling university to study English, simply completed the UCAS application and was offered her place without any contact.

How you are doing / using SATS? Is it possible to do it for a year as an alternative to Advanced Scottish Highers?
You mention books what are these called? Where do you have a syllabus or past papers ?
With SATS do you get treated as an overseas student?

 I really don't think you would need a full year to prepare for SAT's. Have a look on Khan Academy, my girls have found that invaluable for test prep. Test prep books can be purchased on Amazon and unfortunately the college board redesigned the test in March of this year so there are no past papers as such to go on but my son says the questions look much the same as the test he took two years ago. All of the work is covered on Khan Academy where it can be done for free. They also let you write an  essay for the essay part ( which is no longer compulsory for the new SAT) and send it to them for marking. We bought this book which my daughters liked for the information it had on the essay in addition to the explanations.


As far as university applications, yes you are treated like an international student in regards to the application. We completed the UCAS form as usual, listed the subjects we had covered ( we use a US Catholic home study school) and the grades. Then in the qualification parts we listed my son's SAT score ( he received unconditional offers from Stirling, GCU, Dundee based on his  score) and in my daughter's case we completed it saying she is due to sit SATs this year and she has received conditional offers subject to achieving the required SAT score. My son is studying Psychology and my daughter will be studying English.

For us, it is a much much cheaper option and I honestly believe that due to the English skills my children have learned by doing learning this way, they are much better prepared for university than were my older school educated children.

SATs are not study courses like GCSEs, but are rather tests to let the universities ascertain what level of competency the student has reached. SATs are merely meet an entry criteria for universities that satisfy them that the student has the capabilities for the course. That's why I always recommend trying some practice tests and if the student does well on them or has worked through Kahn Academy prep which is free, then for $85, it is by far a much cheaper route than a whole lot of individual GCSE's. It does not take the place of studying courses, it only limits what the student is tested. 

Comments from home educators

Kat Patrick, US and former UK home educator:

I believe the SATs are cheaper plus easier to self-study as private candidates - no coursework and plenty of straightforward study guides to memorise, and each one is just one day, not several papers spread out - also easier to cope with due to their primarily multiple choice nature. They are not all-consuming studies so students can continue to enjoy the subjects they love in home-based studies, keeping the baseline more broad and varied than an exam syllabus.

Comment from S:

All the information required for SAT subject tests - topics covered etc is found on the CollegeBoard website.  Practice tests are available on various websites.

We looked into SAT subject tests when DD was midway through IGCSEs.

There are a couple of things to check first before going down the path.

Firstly whether your student's prospective universities are going to accept them.  Second, and what I found most frustrating, was finding a test centre.  There are 27 centres in England listed on the CB website search engine. Of the eleven/twelve schools I rang only one would accept a candidate that was not a student at their own school. I gave up after that.

The curriculum required for each subject, is what is normally offered in an honours level high school subject in the USA.  There are booklets available on Amazon for all the subjects. The range of subjects is pretty limited - there are 20 subjects and 12 of them are languages.

It seems many UK universities accept the SATs for admission but not in isolation. As always with anything 'different' it pays to check the small print.

A quick look at some major universities' admission pages reveal that most seem to want a lot more than the SAT1 results. There are SAT subject tests which are similar to AS/A level tests other than the prevalence of multiple choice questions (which the USA seem to favour). The subject tests cannot be taken on the same day as the SAT1 tests and there are different dates for different subject tests so a single morning of exams doesn't look promising.

If children have a university/Further Ed path in mind, it is best to check first what that institution requires and reverse-engineer the process so you can give the University what it wants.

There is a document somewhere on the CIE website which lists which US universities will take students with just IGCSEs.  The list is quite extensive and from recollection there were some surprising names on the list.

Comment from K:

A few years ago we looked into the possibility of following an American programme rather than IGSEs , as sitting SATS seemed a much easier way to get a child into Uni, but we were not keen on what came before that, i.e. achieving a High School Diploma. We felt that GCSE qualifications would be more useful both in terms of employment in the UK (even just Saturday jobs) or in the case of a child who chose not to go to Uni but instead wanted to take an apprenticeship (as my two oldest sons, to our surprise, ended up doing in order to avoid debt from Uni). My question is, would you say the HSD is a necessary pre-requisite to the SATS, or might someone take GCSEs and then swap? Just wondering how flexible it is to move between the two.

Also, we looked at Oxford entry requirements (DS 3 is keen on a course there) and from what I can gather, at least three excellent AP or SAT subject results are required in addition to the general SATS score. Our thinking was, that sounds pretty much like 3 A level subjects, and A levels seem easier, practically speaking, to achieve than the US equivalents.

Comment from one member:

It is really tricky to work it out, and I've come to the conclusion that a high school diploma without accreditation isn't worth as much. It seems that it's worth even less without SATs and subject tests. It's a problem to gain recognition (and credits) for previous work (ie. IGCSEs), and an accredited diploma, if you haven't done the full 4 years of US high school with a physical or an on-line high school accredited school. So far all the Unis I've contacted (Dundee, Sterling, Edinburgh) have wanted: An Accredited High School Dip, SATs and 2 subject tests....


I agree that without other proof, universities here would not accept a parental diploma. However, in some cases the SAT scores are the other proof they require. For instance for a psychology degree and English degree, the universities my children were accepted for, cared more about their SAT scores. For my other daughter who is starting her degree in Applied Biology and Zoology, we had to have her diploma in addition to her SAT scores. I did however find it interesting that they did not ask specifically for her science grades!

For us, it has been a much easier route to take.

Another comment:

Had a very interesting chat with a local veteran home-edder, who told me that her oldest (now mid-20s) sat the American SATs in London , to apply for UK university entry.  He did not have any other qualifications and they felt that the SATs were assessing potential rather than having covered a course, so it sounded like a shortcut to uni entry. He sat the tests (English, maths, reasoning) with only a couple of months' preparation, and phoned round unis.  Many dismissed the idea straight away, but one asked him to come for a chat and then offered him a place to start that year, even though he was only 17 and had been enquiring about the following year !

UK Universities' Information for US Applicants

When you are applying to universities with SATs, you need to contact the International Admissions department, rather than the standard UCAS / home applicants advice lines.

Most UK universities have information for US applicants which is easy to find. Search for the university name plus 'USA applicants'. Often they will publish entry requirements for standard 3-year degrees, and also for 4-year 'Associate' or 'Foundation' degrees. These have an additional year to get students ready for the regular degree course, for people who don't have the standard entry requirements - eg they may have come from a country where they finish high school aged 17, or may not have got the grades they needed.

Here is a selection of examples - chosen at random. For comparison purposes you can look them up on The Times Higher Education rankings.

The universities are listed in alphabetical order, not including 'University of...'

Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth information for US applicants

Minimum final GPA of 3.0-3.2 (depending on subject to be studied)


SAT 1100+ (minimum 550 in Maths and 550 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing)


ACT Composite scores of 25 (depending on the subject to be studied)

To include either of the following or combination of:

Minimum of 2 SAT subjects with scores of 550+ (subject specific requirements for some degree programmes)

Minimum of 2 AP tests with scores of 3+ (subject specific requirements for some degree programmes)

Bristol University

Bristol University :

We will consider applicants with the following:

A High School Diploma (or equivalent) with a GPA of 3.2 minimum (3.4 for competitive courses)

and a total of THREE in any combination from the following list:

(N.B. Each AP counts towards the THREE. E.g. 3 AP's OR 2 AP's and 1x SAT I is acceptable)

  • SAT I with a minimum of 650 in both elements (630 in 3x elements pre March 2016 SAT)
  • ACT with a minimum score of 24
  • Any AP subject(s) with a score of at least 4 (more commonly 5)*
  • A full year Honors level course at B+ or a full year college level course at B+ or better. 

Cambridge University

Cambridge info for US applicants

Applicants from the USA should note that offers are usually made on an individual basis.

Typically, suitable evidence of preparation for entry would comprise five or more Advanced Placement (AP) Scores at grade 5 in appropriate subjects.In addition, high passing marks on your school qualification (eg the relevant US High School Diploma) and a high score on the SAT (I) Reasoning Test or ACT, are expected. Please note that SAT II (Subject) Tests are not normally viewed as being equivalent to AP Tests. Applicants taking these tests are required to disclose all tests taken and scores achieved (including retakes). ..

Colleges are aware that applicants from the USA will sometimes be able to provide application profiles which include a combination of different qualifications types (eg AP Tests, A Levels, IB Higher Level Courses). Colleges will assess these on a case by case basis, but applicants should be aware that a very high level of attainment will be required.

Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

Our requirement is for at least five AP Test scores at grade 5. Applicants do not have to complete five AP Courses to meet this requirement, as a Test can be sat without completing the relevant Course. Advice on how to study for and take AP Tests is available on the College Board AP website.

We welcome AP Capstone and would encourage applicants to undertake AP Research and Seminar courses as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education. However AP Capstone courses won't normally be a requirement of any offer made, and AP Capstone scores will not usually count towards the five or more grade 5 score requirement.

When choosing which AP Tests to sit for, prospective applicants should consult the course pages on the Cambridge website to identify close subject matches. Please note that for Cambridge courses which ask for Mathematics and Further Mathematics A Level, Calculus BC is strongly preferred. For courses which ask for Physics A level, the two Physics C Tests are preferred.

AP Tests do not have to be completed in a single sitting to fulfil this requirement.

SAT (II) Subject Tests

SAT Subject Tests are not normally viewed as being equivalent to AP Tests and cannot normally be used as substitutes to meet the AP typical offer level. In cases where an applicant’s school does not routinely offer APs, applicants are advised to contact their prospective college for advice about how SAT IIs might be viewed in their application. Strong performances in SAT Subject Tests will strengthen an application; Colleges will pay close attention to percentile data as well as raw marks.

SAT (I) Reasoning Tests

A high pass equates scores of 750 in each component to give a combined score of 1,500 for most Science courses and Economics (Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, Natural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine); and 730 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 730 in Mathematics, to give a combined score of at least 1,460 for all other courses.

Applicants are asked to send in results from full sittings of the SAT rather than individual section scores from separate sittings.

ACT Tests

An ACT composite score of at least 32 (for Arts and Humanities) or 33 (for Sciences) out of 36 is accepted as equivalent to the SAT Reasoning Test scores outlined above. Further information can be found on the ACT website.

Dundee University

University of Dundee info for US applicants

U.S High School graduates who hold a minimum SAT composite score of 1200 (individual scores for Reading & Writing and Math will be assessed in a holistic manner and within the context of the overall application) or a minimum ACT composite score of 27 will be considered for entry to most programmes. 

Entry to some degree programmes will also require SAT subject tests or APs in specific subjects. Please see our undergraduate course pages for more information.

Durham University

Durham International Applicants - Undergraduate Degrees

See the equivalence table from Durham at the top of this page.

For example -


AAA A combination of 3 or 4 AP or SAT Subject examinations at scores of 5 (AP) and/or 700+ or better (SAT) in different subjects. If students apply with 4 APs they can have the score of 5,5,4,4, otherwise they need 5,5,5.

East Anglia - UEA

UEA source page for US applicants

High School Graduate Diploma & AP Exams

Holders of a US High School Diploma alongside 3-5 AP Exams will be considered for direct admission to Undergraduate Degree courses. For details of subject and grade requirements; use the table below to compare our A level requirements to the US High School Diploma and AP Exams. The number of AP Exams required will be variable depending on the course and the combination of AP Exams being undertaken.

SATs, ACTs and SAT Subject Tests

We welcome applicants who are able to present SAT and/or ACT qualifications in support of their application, alongside one or more of the options noted above. Please contact our Admissions Team if you need any further information.

(NOTE: these are general guidelines only; requirements for entry may vary depending on competitiveness of particular programmes.)

Exeter University

Undergraduate applicants from the US should have successfully completed their High School Diploma, and should hold Advanced Placement tests (APs) and/or SAT subject tests (previously ‘SAT II’). If your chosen programme has no specific A level subject requirement, we can also accept the ACT...

SAT Subject Tests are also admissible as A level equivalent, unless:

  • you are applying for a degree requiring A level Mathematics, for which a SAT subject test in Maths is notconsidered equivalent. You will need to hold AP Calculus. 

Please note SAT Reasoning results are only considered as providing additional contextual information... 

Associate degrees and advanced entry 

 Finally, we will consider you for entry to an undergraduate programme if you have completed the first year of your Associate Degree or 4 year college degree.  Students with a completed Associate Degree or 2+ years of a full college degree may be eligible for entry to the second year of an undergraduate degree.  In all cases we will need to see evidence of your most recent college transcript.  

Combinations and equivalencies

APs and SAT subject tests are accepted, whether alone or in combination, to meet our three-A level equivalence requirement, using the following A level grade equivalencies.

  • Preferred AP subjects: a score of 5 = ‘A’ grade; a score of 4 = ‘B’ grade.
  • SAT subject test: 700 = ‘A’ grade; 650 = ‘B’ grade.

Additionally, we will accept two non-preferred AP subjects in lieu of one preferred AP subject or one SAT subject test, with the following grade equivalency:

  • Two non-preferred AP subjects: scores of 5 and 5 = ‘A’ grade; scores of 5 and 4 or 4 and 4 = ‘B’ grade.

[More detail on the Exeter US Applicants page - above is a summary.]

Glasgow University

Glasgow University US entry requirements

US curriculum

Method 1

  •  SAT: 1280 or ACT: 27 AND
  • 2 AP examinations (in relevant subjects): 4+ or 2 SAT subject tests (in relevant subjects): 600+

Method 2:

  • 3 AP examinations (in relevant subjects): 4+ or 3 SAT subject tests (in relevant subjects): 600+

Greenwich University

University of Greenwich information for applicants from USA

For standard entry to our Bachelor's programmes, you will need to have met the following:

  • High School Diploma (GPA 3.0) 
  • ACT - 24 or higher 


  •            AP-3 or above in 2 advanced placement tests                           


  •              SATR (Pre-March 2016 -1650/ Post-March 2016 -1100                                                     

For entry to our four-year extended degree programmes, you will need to have met the following:

  • High School Diploma with a minimum CGPA 2.5
  • ACT - 20 or higher


  • AP-3 or above in advanced placement tests


  • SATR (Pre-March 2016 -1360/ Post-March 2016 -480{Reading& Writing})    

Keele University

Keele University Applicants from the USA

Foundation Degree:

  • 2 APs at grade 3  OR
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests (SAT II) at 500 each OR
  • a combination of SAT Subject Tests plus AP's (totalling 2) OR ACT 21.

Bachelor's Degree :

  • 3 APs at grade 4  or 544  OR
  • 3 SAT Subject Tests (SAT II) at 600 each  OR
  • a combination of SAT Subject Tests plus AP's (totalling 3)    OR
  • for courses with no subject specific requirements ACT 28

University of Kent

Kent source page - US applicants

For entry to a Kent undergraduate degree programme, US students typically need to have:

  • A High School Graduation Diploma with a minimum final GPA of 3.2/4.0

PLUS one of the following:

  • SAT with a score of between 1290 – 1380 depending on the subject you are applying for OR
  • ACT with a score of between 27-29 depending on the subject you are applying for OR
  • 3 SAT Subject Tests with scores of between 600-700 depending on the subject you are applying for OR
  • 2 Advanced Placement (AP) tests with scores of between 4-5 depending on the subject you are applying for

Applicants will also be considered with the following:

  • A combination of SAT Subject Tests and Advanced Placement (AP) tests.
  • An Associate Degree with a GPA of at least 3.2/4.0
  • 1 or 2 years of a US Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.2/4.0
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma and Certificates as per standard University of Kent requirements
  • College-level classes/honors classes on a case-by-case basis

King's College, London

KCL information for US applicants

1) Applicants must study three subjects in-depth, including any subjects stated in our online prospectus as ‘compulsory’ for your programme. We will therefore ask for three subject tests at  Advanced Placement, or  three subjects at SAT-S (or a combination of any three AP/SAT-S different subjects).  [see table of equivalent grades for A-levels, SATs and APs on the page]

2) In addition, applicants who apply with AP/SAT-S subjects must achieve strong scores in either the SAT-R or ACT. Students taking the SAT-R are not required to take the optional writing portion of the exam. IB students are not required to submit the SAT-R or ACT; Diploma Points listed above will satisfy this requirement. 

London Metropolitan University

London Met Source for US students

High School Diploma with B in relevant subjects and a Cumulative Grade Point Average of  B (3.0) and one of the qualifications below:

  • SAT 1 with 600+ in the maths, critical reading and writing. Sat scores range from 200-800
  • ACT (American College Test) instead of SAT 1 with composite score value of 25
  • Advanced Placement Tests 3 passes with grade 3 and above (4 or 5) in relevant subjects
  • GED (General Education Development Programme) with minimum score of 410 in each of five tests (max score 800, min pass grade 200)

London School of Economics (LSE)

Equivalency of the Advanced Placement (AP) tests with GCE A levels

Below we have listed our various A level grade requirements and their equivalency in the Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Please note that the US High School Diploma by itself (without AP courses) is not sufficient for entry to LSE.

A level grade  Equivalent in the Advanced Placement (AP) tests
A*AA, AAA Five APs at grade 5, taken over a maximum of three years and a minimum High School Diploma GPA 3.7

Subjects may be specified as part of an offer. See the note below about subject combinations.

AAB Three APs at grade 5, and two APs at grade 4, taken over a maximum of three years, and a minimum High School Diploma GPA of 3.7

Subjects may be specified as part of an offer. See the note below about subject combinations.

Mathematics A*/A Calculus BC grade 5

Subject combinations

AP Seminar and AP Research are excluded and do not count towards our AP requirement.

Only one of AP Calculus AB or Calculus BC may count towards an offer. For programmes requiring A level Mathematics, only Calculus BC is acceptable.

Applicants should also bear in mind our general preference for a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be offered.

AP Languages and Culture courses may be excluded where students have significant prior exposure to that language.

AP Cambridge Capstone Program

LSE does not consider this programme as part of its minimum entry requirements for American AP exams.

The SAT Reasoning Test (formally called Scholastic Aptitude Tests)

The SAT Reasoning Test does not form part of any entry requirement for LSE programmes.

The ACT (American College Testing)

The ACT does not form part of any entry requirement for LSE programmes.

Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway US Entrance Requirements:

Advanced Placement Tests (APs)

The standard entry requirement for applicants with American qualifications is Advanced Placement Tests.  You will need grades of 4-5 in at least 2 relevant AP Tests.


If you have good results in the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subjects Tests and in High School Graduation Diploma you will also be considered. Specific entry requirements for different academic disciplines may vary, but you will need grades of 600 or above in each section of the SAT Reasoning Test PLUS a score of 600 in two relevant SAT II tests.


Scores of at least 27 in ACT alongside good grades in the High School Graduation Diploma will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Stirling University

Source: Stirling page for US applicants.

We normally require US applicants to hold a combination of the qualifications for entry.  As a minimum, applicants must hold an accredited high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale, minimum B average), one letter of reference, plus one of the following:

  • ACT composite score of 26 or above (with no individual section below 24)
  • SAT - Post March 2016: Score 1200
  • Two AP tests at grade 3 or above (taken in junior or senior year of high school)
  • Two SAT II subject tests with 550-600 in each.

Sussex University

Source: Sussex page

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subjects with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher).

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Warwick University

Warwick USA Applicant info

America (USA)

Warwick IFP: Complete the American High School Diploma with an overall GPA of 3.0/4 in the final year

Undergraduate: In addition to your High School Diploma you need to study either:

3 APs including any subject requirements. The following are A-Level requirements and their AP requirement equivalency.

  • A*AA equivalent to 5,5,5
  • AAA equivalent to 5,5,5
  • AAB equivalent to 5,5,4
  • ABB equivalent to 5,4,4


A combination of 2 APs and 1 SAT Subject Test including any subject requirements and no subject lap over. The following are A-Level requirements and their SAT Grade requirement equivalency.

  • A*AA equivalent to 720
  • AAA equivalent to 700
  • AAB equivalent to 680
  • ABB equivalent to 660

Non-Standard Qualifications

Although these are Warwick's typical entry requirements, we may be able to consider students studying other qualification mixes. To find out if you are eligible for consideration please email NorthAmerica@warwick.ac.uk with your qualifications, your degree programme of interest and information about the qualifications/subjects available at your school.

University of the West of England (UWE)

UWE Entry onto undergraduate programmes - USA

You will be considered for first year entry with a GPA of 3.0 out of 4 in a High School Graduation Diploma (HSGD) plus one of the following:

  • SATR (SAT I) with a minimum score of 1050 out of 1600
  • ACT with a minimum score of 21
  • 2 AP Tests with minimum scores of 3
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests with minimum scores of 550
  • 3 Honours or College Level classes with grades B or higher
  • 30 Community College Credits with a minimum GPA of 2.7 out of 4.0

The scores listed above are the minimum requirement for entrance to UWE Bristol, competitive programmes require higher scores.

Some of our courses require pre-requisite subject knowledge. This must be evidenced via relevant AP tests, SAT Subject Tests, Honours or College level classes.

Westminster University

University of Westminster US Applicant info

We have included typical entry requirements below, but these are simply a guideline. Some courses may also have specific subject or grade requirements, which will be listed on individual course pages.

For entry to Year 1 of Bachelor's degrees (Level 4), you will typically need to have one of the following:

  • High School Diploma with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or GED) plus at least one of the following:
    • New SAT: overall score of 1180 (post-2016) with a minimum of 570 in Maths and 610 in evidence-based reading and writing (essay is not required)
    • Old SAT: 1800 (pre-2016) with a minimum of 550 in each element
    • ACT score of 25+
    • AP exams in relevant subjects (AP tests or SAT subject tests are mandatory for courses that list required subjects in A Levels, eg BSc Biomedical Sciences requires two science subjects
    • A combination of AP exams and SAT subject tests or IB Diploma Courses with no subject overlap will also be considered
    • A minimum three individual IB Diploma Courses with no subject overlap
  • Satisfactory completion of one year of a college/university programme with a GPA of 2.8 or above

Applying to US Universities from the UK

This page is primarily about using US tests as a way to gain entrance to UK universities, but of course you can also apply to university in the USA. This has been a popular route for some home-educated children from the UK, finding the US system more flexible in many ways. Although the fees may seem high, scholarships and bursaries are widely available and are always worth investigating. Here's some advice from Dr Kat Patrick, a home-educating parent who has lived in both countries:

US unis are very geared toward homeschooling applicants and accept transcripts (portfolio of work) prepared by the family. External corroboration is helpful: art award, music exams, even GCSEs, though it will not always be necessary.

The bottom line is that there are more places than students in the US, so there will be somewhere that will accept your child: the question will be if it's a good fit, and if they will provide any aid toward the fees.

There are a number of US universities that don't require SATs, especially small liberal arts colleges. See Guide to SAT Optional Colleges

There is a Facebook support group for British home-educators interested in applying to US universities: Brit HE to US Uni

More Information

UCAS explanation of American Advanced Placement (AP) exams

UCAS explanation of American SATs

Facebook support group for applying to uni with US SATs

Runnymede College Advice on US University entrance. This is a UK independent school which supports pupils to apply to US universities as well as UK unis. They have a very helpful explanation of US entrance tests. Click the box on the bottom right-hand side of the page for US universities.

How to obtain a High School Diploma from homeschooling

Khan Academy free online SAT preparation

If you are planning to use the US system, particularly for US universities, then Lee Binz is your go to advisor:

  • The HomeScholar Helper Blog - Helping Parents Homeschool High School – TheHomeScholar.com