Photo Requirements

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You must provide a photo when you sign up for the SAT Subject Tests. The photo will be part of your Admission Ticket and will be checked against your photo ID on test day to ensure security.

You Really Need to Know This

If the photo you upload (or submit by mail) doesn’t meet the requirements listed below, you might not be allowed to test.

Getting a message that your upload was successful does not mean that your photo meets all requirements. It only means that it’s the correct file type and size.

If you have any concerns about the photo requirement, contact Customer Service.

Don’t Get Turned Away on Test Day

You won’t be allowed to take the tests if your Admission Ticket photo has any of these problems:

  • One or both of your eyes are not visible or blocked (for example, if you are wearing sunglasses).
  • Photos include more than one person’s face.
  • Poor photo quality makes you unrecognizable.
  • You are wearing a hat or head covering that is not worn for religious purposes.
  • Your photo has been digitally altered or tampered with in any other way.

Acceptable Photo Checklist

You can use recent photos — like school pictures or passport photos — or take a new one. You can also link to Facebook to add a photo (you’ll be able to crop it). Just make sure they meet these requirements:

  • You’re easy to recognize.
  • You’re the only one in the picture.
  • There’s a head-and-shoulders view, with the entire face, both eyes, and hair clearly visible; head coverings worn for religious purposes are allowed.
  • You’re in focus.
  • There are no dark spots or shadows.
  • Black and white photos are acceptable.

By providing your photograph, you help us ensure the integrity of the test for all students. Learn more about how we may use your photo.

Acceptable Photos

These photos are acceptable.

Acceptable Photo Example 1

Acceptable Photo Example 2

Common Mistakes

Here are examples of some common mistakes that result in faces not being fully visible and recognizable:

  1. Your photo is too light or too dark.

    Unacceptable Photo: Too Light
    Too light

    Unacceptable Photo: Too Dark
    Too dark

  2. Your photo is taken from too far away or too close.

    Unacceptable Photo: Too Far
    Too far away

    Unacceptable Photo: Too Close
    Too close

  3. Only part of your face can be seen (part or all of your face is covered, part or all of your head is cut off, you are shown in profile or three-quarter view).

    Unacceptable Photo: Covered Face
    Face is partly covered

    Unacceptable Photo: Head Partially Cut Off
    Head is partly cut off

    Unacceptable Photo: Three-Quarter View
    Three-quarter view

  4. Other common problems include other people being present in the picture and the picture not being of you. Remember, this photo is used to identify you on test day.

    Unacceptable Photo: Two People
    Photo includes another person

    Unacceptable Photo: Not a Person
    Photo is definitely not of you

Uploading Your Photo

If you’re registering online, you’ll upload a digital photo. You can take a photo with a digital camera or smartphone, upload a photo from a device or from Facebook, or scan in a paper photo.

Photos must be in one of these file formats: .jpg, .gif, or .png. You’ll be able to crop and reposition your photo after uploading.

If you’re in eighth grade or below at the time of testing, you don’t have to provide a photo to register, and this will be noted on your Admission Ticket and the test center roster.

Sending Your Photo by Mail

If you’re registering by mail, make sure your printed photo meets the following requirements:

  • It’s at least 2 x 2 inches and no more than 2.5 x 3 inches.
  • It’s not an ID card or other laminated photo.
  • Your name, date of birth, and high school code are written on the back.
  • The photo is taped over the barcode. Use clear tape around all four edges of your photo. Do not use paper clips, staples, or glue.
  • It is properly focused with a full-face view, clearly identifiable as you, and matches your appearance on test day. See the rules above for details about acceptable photos.

Phone Registration

The Customer Service representative will apply your previously supplied photo to your new registration.

If you need to submit or update a photo, you must register online or by paper and include a new photo that complies with the requirements above.

Educators — How to Help

Some students may need some help with registration, particularly photos. Here are some possible solutions:

  • Ask school administrators if it would be possible to get digital copies of student ID photos.
  • Ask the yearbook staff or photography students to help take photos of their fellow students.
  • Team up with class advisers or community groups to arrange a photo-taking event.

Some photo tips:

  • Take pictures against a blank wall, and get close enough (or zoom in) to capture just the student’s head and shoulders.
  • Keep the lighting balanced to avoid glare or shadows.
  • Suggest that students wearing eyeglasses tilt the frames down slightly so that their eyes aren’t obscured by glare.
  • Deliver by email or thumb drive.