ACT & SAT

ACT and SAT Extras Worth Paying For

There are a lot of options to add to your cart when registering for the SAT or ACT. I skip over most of them, but there are a few items I consider essential.

There are a lot of options to add to your cart when registering for the SAT or ACT. I skip over most of them, but there are a few items I consider essential. 

The other day I spent 20 minutes on the College Board website registering my daughter for another SAT. Once I made it to the screen where I could add the test, I was ready to finish and pay. Good thing I knew what to look for because there were a few extra items I needed to add to our order. 

Writing (The Optional Essay) 

Starting in 2016, the written essays became optional on both the SAT and ACT. These “draft” writings completed at the end of the multiple-choice exams do not affect a student’s overall score on either test.So, why should you care? 

 Some colleges and universities still require students to have the written portion of the exam.  I strongly recommend all juniors take the written essay with every SAT or ACT. Seniors who have a final list of colleges can skip the essay if they know that every single college, scholarship, or honors program does NOT require it. 

Student Answers 

Why do you want student answers? Unless you have the rare student who is going to take the ACT or SAT once and be satisfied with his or her scores, you should expect this will not be the last testing attempt. Most students take their test of choice 2-3 times. 

Finding out which problems a student missed can go a long way for future score improvement. Without the question-level feedback, students won’t know what to do as they prepare to retest. 

Test Questions 

A few times a year, students can order a copy of the SAT exam questions. They don’t get their own test booklet back, but they do get a copy of the entire exam to go along with the list of questions they missed. It usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive the copy of the questions 

 Notes on What to Order 

Here’s some info to help you decode the process: 

SAT 

  • SAT with Essay — Student can add (or drop) the essay up to the time of the exam. There is no late fee to add the essay; students just pay the extra $14 (for a total of $60) to take the written portion. 
  • Test Questions — (QAS) Questions-and-Answer Service. You will receive BOTH a detailed report of which questions your student missed AND a copy of the test questions. This costs $18. 
  • Student Answers — (SAS) Student Answer Service. You will receive a question-by-question printout showing which problems were missed, difficulty level, and sub-score / cross-test info. This costs $13.50. 

QAS and SAS can be ordered after the exam is taken, so log into your College Board account and order one for your last test if you didn’t already. (Usually there is a three-month limit on ordering, so don’t wait too long.) 

 ACT 

  • ACT with Writing — Students can add (or drop) the essay up to the late registration deadline for that exam. If a student decided to add the writing after the late registration deadline, he or she must notify the test center coordinator on the day of the test; availability will depend on the amount of extra writing booklets (a lot like flying standby.) Students pay the extra $16.50 (for a total of $62.50) to take the written portion. 
  • Test Questions — (TIR) Test Information Release. You will receive BOTH a detailed report of which questions your student missed AND a copy of the test questions. This costs $20. 
  •  Student Answers — Unlike the College Board, ACT doesn’t offer a separate answer return service on test dates not covered by the TIR option. 
College Admissions Expert |

Megan Dorsey is a college admissions expert and savvy SAT prep instructor who has helped thousands of students prepare for college admission. For more information visit CollegePrepResults.com

Leave a Response

Top Reviews

Video Widget

gallery