ACT & SATTest Prep

ACT and SAT Extras Worth Paying For

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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.

+WRITING (The Optional Essay)

Starting in 2016, the written essays became optional on both the SAT and ACT. But as of 2021, SAT has discontinued their essay option. The ACT writing portion is designed to be completed at the end of the multiple-choice exam and does not affect a student’s overall score on either test, however, a strong Writing score can give you an edge.


Why do you want student answers? 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.


The best feedback comes from having the most information. 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.

Notes on What to Order – Here’s some info to help you decode the process:


  • 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 $18.00.
  • 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 haven’t already. (Usually there is a three-month limit on ordering, so don’t wait too long.)


  • 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 $25 (for a total of $88.00) 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 $30.00 at the time of registration or can be added for up to six months after the eligible test date for $40.
  • Student Answers. Unlike 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

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