New ID Requirements for the SAT and ACT

The SAT and ACT are rolling out new identification requirements for the upcoming academic year. Here's what you and your students should know about the changes.

Test IDThe SAT and ACT exams recently made headlines when they announced enhanced security measures that will take effect during the upcoming 2012-13 academic year. Apparently, a few bad eggs were caught paying other people as much as several thousand dollars to take the tests on their behalf. The imposters simply used easily acquired fake IDs to gain entrance on exam day. Both the students who took the tests and the students who paid them to do so were arrested.

In light of this unfortunate case of cheating (and, let's be honest, blatant stupidity), the SAT and ACT will now require students to submit a photograph and provide additional information when they register for the exams. Here are a few things college counselors should be aware of regarding these new requirements:

  • Both exams will require students to submit a photo that will be checked against the photo ID they bring on exam day. Students who don't have an approved form of photo identification may bring a notarized letter with a photo.
  • Students must sign a statement affirming their identity and acknowledging that assuming someone else's identity may be punishable by law.
  • Students must specify their gender and date of birth. One of the students arrested in the aforementioned cheating scandal was a boy who, with the help of a fake ID, was able to take a test for a girl with a gender-neutral name.
  • Standby testing will be done away with. Only students who appear on the roster on the day of the exam will be able to take it.
  • On the day the exam is administered, the photo that students submitted when they registered for the test will be printed on their admission tickets and the testing center's roster. Test proctors will be able to compare that picture to both the photo ID the student presents as well as to the student's face.
  • For the first time, students will also be required to submit the name of the high school they attend, to aid in the identity verification process and so their scores can be sent to the school. The SAT will also submit students' pictures along with their scores. These new procedures will provide an opportunity for administrators and counselors such as yourself to watch for the telltale signs of cheating, such as uncharacteristically high scores.
  • The ACT will begin enforcing these changes after the beginning of the new school year (visit their Newsroom page to learn more). The SAT is already requiring students to submit a photo (visit their Photo Requirements page for details).

While these new requirements and procedures may not entirely eliminate cheating, I do think they make great strides toward that end. At the very least, you and your students should feel more confident that the scores they've worked so hard for aren't being diluted by droves of cheaters.

What do you think of the new identification requirements? Will they help put an end to cheating on standardized tests? Discuss it in the comments.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

act cheating college counselors sat student advice

About Stephanie Farah

Stephanie Farah

Stephanie Farah is a former writer and senior editor for Carnegie and CollegeXpress. She holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in Journalism from the University of North Texas. At various times, she has been an uncertain undergrad, a financial aid recipient, a transfer applicant, and a grad student with an assistantship and a full ride. Stephanie is an avid writer, traveler, cook, and dog owner. 


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2021

For a long time, I've been searching everywhere to find the perfect website I can get scholarships and information from. Needless to say, I could never find the right one. That was, until I found CollegeXpress. Through my journey of finding the right scholarships for me, I was able to find articles about different things. They've all been helpful, especially in times like this! I was even able to connect with some of my favorite colleges! I love CollegeXpress. Thank you!

Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah

High School Student

I was afraid and timid throughout my search for colleges, but I finally found the college that was fit for me and luckily I got accepted. One of the most influential things that helped me was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. They've helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

Lorena Bacallao

Lorena Bacallao

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress was the foundation of my college search process. Because of CollegeXpress, I was able to make a more informed and confident decision as to where it was best to pursue my higher education. I have recommended this website to fellow peers and for first-generation students like me. It’s a website I will continue to promote because of how simple it was to use and how many opportunities were offered to me at my fingertips!

Lu Diehl

Lu Diehl

High School Class of 2022

I never would have found the college I plan on attending without CollegeXpress! I've always been a person of ambition and have been dreaming of studying and working on my passion for law, legal studies, and political science. Washington College is where I plan on pursuing my career. My journey with my education has been difficult, and oftentimes, I was told I would never amount to much, but now I'm dual enrolled at Caroll Community College and have had experience in the fields I am dedicated to. Without the help of CollegeXpress (even in its early days), I would never have found Washington College and the information I need to apply and become a part of their community.

College Matches