Months before test day, adding a really long, potentially worthless writing task on top of a really long, very important multiple-choice test doesn’t seem like such a big deal. What’s another 40 or 50 minutes if you’re already there, right? But as the official SAT or ACT creeps closer and families begin to research target schools, the truth begins to dawn on erstwhile applicants: fewer and fewer colleges care about the SAT or ACT essay.
BEFORE LATE REGISTRATION DEADLINE
Revising your essay option on either the SAT or ACT before the end of late registration is easy:
SAT: You can change to or from the SAT with Essay without a change fee, but you do pay the price difference between the two tests if you’re switching to the SAT with Essay.
ACT: Log in to your ACT web account and select “Make changes to your registration” no later than the late registration deadline for your test date. Fee adjustments depend on whether you are adding or removing the writing test and whether other services are required to find you a seat (for example, a Test Center Change).
AFTER LATE REGISTRATION DEADLINE
Changing your mind about taking the essay once the late registration deadline has passed is even easier. Unfortunately, your change is not guaranteed:
SAT: You may be able to switch on test day, but it’s up to the test center coordinator and depends on whether they have enough materials, space, and staff. You will be seated after other students.
ACT: If you change your mind after the late deadline, you may attempt to change your test option on the day of the test. Tell the test coordinator at your test center that you want to change your Test Option before you are admitted to test. If there are materials, space, and staff available for your preferred test option, you will be allowed to make the change. If you change to the ACT with writing, ACT will bill you for the additional fee.
Test takers should have no problem dropping the essay on test day but may have to take a loss on the extra Essay or Writing fee. Just be sure to express your preference when you arrive at the test center.