Considering the high stakes nature of the SAT & ACT, the number of students who have been caught (or not caught) cheating on their tests over the years hardly comes as a surprise. One of the classic cheats has been to hire a youthful-looking professional to test in one’s place. No wonder the testing organizations have been ramping up their efforts in recent years to ensure that the person taking a test is the person who should be taking it!
Of course, heightened security leads to heightened anxiety, particularly when test day already evokes such anxiety. One major source of stress has been the photo submission requirements.
Both the College Board and ACT require you to provide a recent photo of yourself in order to complete your test registration. The submitted photo is used for identification and test security purposes. Relieve anxiety on test day by making sure your photo fits the following guidelines:
- The photo must be a full face-and-shoulders shot, squarely facing the camera.
- Your photo must be a clear recent image of you (and ONLY you) against a plain background.
- Your photo must be properly focused with no bright sports, dark spots, or shadows.
- Your photo must not be digitally altered.
- You must use a portrait, not landscape, photo that is correctly oriented.
- You must be facing the camera.
- Both of your eyes must be visible: no dark glasses.
- You may not wear hat or head covering. If you wear a head covering daily for religious reasons, adjust it to provide a full-face view.
Also, be sure not to submit a photo of a photo or just scan your driver’s license or school ID. These images will not be of high enough quality to meet acceptable photo requirements.
Once you find the right image, you may either upload an approved file format or send a printed photo by mail within the designated deadline for your target test date. Follow the guidelines provided by each testing organization:
College Board: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/policies-requirements/photo
ACT, Inc: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/registration/photo-submission-requirements.html
Last but not least, improve your check-in experience on test day by making sure your appearance is consistent with both your submitted photo and photo ID. For example, don’t grow a full beard or shave one off the day before the test. Making it harder for the test supervisor to confirm your identity will only make test day harder for you too!