Frequently Asked Questions
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay taken after the rest of the exam (50 minutes on the SAT, 40 minutes on the ACT). The essay doesn’t count toward the total exam score but does receive a mark of its own if taken (3-24 on the SAT; 1-12 on the ACT). There’s no penalty for not taking the essay, but you must take it with the rest of the exam if you want to write it (you can’t take it separately). Taking the SAT or ACT with the essay costs about $10-15 (USD) more than without it.
Whether you should write the essay depends on which universities you plan on applying to. Even though the essay is optional, some schools require it. You’ll want to check if any of the schools on your list require it. If at least one does, you should certainly write the essay.
If you’re uncertain about what universities you’ll apply to, it’s best to write the essay just to be sure.
It’s also important to note that even when required, the essay may not make a huge difference in your application. Your scores from the other sections of the SAT or ACT are the important factors, as is your admission essay, grades and your student profile. However, among universities that consider the essay, it can make a difference in the decision between two otherwise equal applicants.
To check essay requirements for the SAT essay by university, click here.
To check essay requirements for the ACT essay by university, click here.
SAT results are valid for five years. After five years, you can still send the score report to universities.
The SAT and ACT are offered in the following months:
The SAT and ACT are given several times a year. Summer dates are new.
SAT subject tests are offered on the same dates as the regular SAT, unless otherwise noted. However, you cannot take both the regular SAT and a subject test on the same date.
More info on the SAT
The most up-to-date information and more details on the SAT are available here: SAT US dates and SAT international dates.
Sunday SAT exams are offered under special circumstances.
More info on the ACT
The most up-to-date information and more details on the ACT are here.
|January||Discontinued as of January 2018||None|
|February||None||U.S. only (Except New York)|
|March||U.S. & International (but no subject tests)||None|
|April||None||U.S. & International|
|May||U.S. & International||None|
|June||U.S. only||U.S. & International|
|July||None||U.S. only (Except New York)|
|September||None||U.S. & International|
|October||U.S. & International||U.S. & International|
|December||U.S. & International||U.S. & International|
We offer classes and tutoring. Packages include:
- Our top-notch instructors or tutors
- Our comprehensive workbook(s).
- , our online video solutions that help you boost your score between sessions
That depends on the following:
- Your score on the PointsBooster® diagnostic test (before you begin preparation)
- Your goal score
- Your strengths and weaknesses in topics of the exam.
- Your time available for homework
- Your commitment to watching Your Score Booster videos that help you progress between sessions or classes
- Your ability to take a standardized test
Payments are non-refundable.
If you are interested in Ivy League or other top universities, check out our page on Ivy League applicants for score requirements. You will need to convert old SAT scores to new SAT scores using our chart. If you have other universities in mind, contact us. We’ll let you know the SAT or ACT score requirements for up to three universities.
When Should I take the SAT?
Your Score Booster recommends taking your first SAT in May of 11th grade, as the May exam offers the Question & Answer service (see question below).
Take your second SAT in October of your senior year. The Question and Answer service for the October exam will not arrive on time for you to review before the November exam and may not arrive before the December exam.
When Should I take the ACT?
Take your first ACT in April or June of 11th grade, as the April or June exams offer the Test Information Release service, which provides you with the test booklet and your answers for an extra fee (see question below). You can retake it in the fall of 12th grade (September, October or, at the latest, December.) The December ACT has the Test Information Release service. But if you’re in 12th grade, don’t get that service, as you won’t be able to retake the ACT after December and get the scores to your university on time.
There used to be an U.S.-only March SAT exam, and students posed this question frequently based on anecdotal evidence from peers. Now there are U.S.-only exams in June and November. College Board would answer by saying all the tests are standardized. But College Board’s previous SAT guide also offered this mendacity: “The SAT isn’t designed to trick you,” a statement any student will recognize as untruthful. The bottom line: Don’t choose your test date or location based on this unsubstantiated belief. And I hope you learned some vocabulary from the above explanation:
- Anecdotal: based on personal evidence, and not necessarily reliable. It comes from anecdote, which is a short, personal story.
- Mendacity: untruthfulness. Did you already know that? Are you sure? Don’t be mendacious.
- Unsubstantiated: not supported or not proven by evidence. Think UN (not) SUBSTANCE — there’s no substance to it.
Two or three times, but no more than three times. For athletes, NCAA just requires you to reach your required score and isn’t concerned how many times you’ve taken the test. Universities, however, may scoff if you’ve taken the SAT or ACT too many times. To avoid taking the tests too many times, take diagnostics to gauge your score.
Take the SAT or ACT no later than October for the score to reach your university in time for early admissions.
Getting your SAT answers and the test booklet
With the Question and Answer service, College Board will give you a printout of your answers and a copy of your exam booklet, supposedly six weeks after the exam date but often two months after the test date in Canada. The Q&A service is available in January (US and Canada), May (worldwide) and October (US and Canada). If you don’t receive it after six weeks, you can call College Board and they’ll send you another one that will usually reach you faster than the original.Don’t get the Q&A in October of 12th grade, if you’ll retake the test in November, as you’ll receive it too late. But it’s so inexpensive, that you might want to take the chance of getting Q&A if you’ll retake the test in December. You might — we emphasize might — receive it in time. Or if you’re curious about your question-by-question results, or if you have a younger sibling or friend who would like a copy of the exam, get the Q&A service even if it won’t help you personally.
Getting your ACT answers and the test booklet
ACT calls it the test information release service.
SAT Test Locations
Take the test close to your home. You don’t want to travel far on test day. There are several locations to take it in Vancouver. The best option in Vancouver is York House School, but that location fills up quickly. By February, there may be no room for the May exam date. Dorset College is the second-best option. The worst location is Prince of Wales, which often has long lines and up to an hour-long wait just to get into the school on test day. But it accommodates the most students, so you may be stuck with it. In other cities, just one test centre may be available.
ACT Test Locations
For the ACT, look for the location closest to your home.
Tutoring package and classes generally include Your Score Booster workbooks. As students review lessons with a tutor or instructor, related exercises are activated online. The student does the homework in the workbook and then enters answers online, getting the result and watching video solutions. In this manner, the student can progress between sessions, reducing the total number of lessons required.
Yes, we teach SAT math (multiple choice and grid-in), SAT critical reading (including sentence completion and passages) and SAT writing (sentence improvement, error ID, paragraph improvement and the essay), and ACT English (grammar), ACT math, ACT reading and ACT science.
We teach students the curricular material, such as prime numbers, sequences, reading comprehension, sentence completion, grammar and essay writing. We also teach the tips and tricks of the SAT and ACT.
We have analysed test questions, so we can show students patterns on the test.
Yes, that’s an aspect of our preparation that helps our students improve quickly. Tutoring is customised to the student’s individualised needs. Classes include customisation as well. For example, we can give students quizzes designed specifically for the student’s shortcomings, offering video solutions for questions the student gets wrong, whether the student is one-on-one or in a class.
We customize the homework based on the student’s schedule. The more homework the student does, the quicker he can progress and have fewer sessions. If students cannot do a lot of homework, they will likely need more sessions.
Yes, we encourage students to progress in between classes and tutoring sessions. We offer our students access to our homework website, which allows students to get video solutions to exercises from lessons completed during class or tutoring sessions. We also provide quizzes that are customized to each student based on our detailed analysis of practice test results.
For tutoring, you’ll need to book one to two weeks in advance most of the year, or a month in advance before the October or May exams. Check out the boxes at the bottom of our home page. You can register online.
A Your Score Booster SAT / ACT tutor or SAT / ACT class can help you improve your knowledge of the material and teach you the tricks of the SAT or ACT. For all sections of the tests, you’ll need to know some material that you probably didn’t learn in school. Furthermore, an SAT or ACT instructor or tutor can teach you to do SAT or ACT algebra questions without actually doing algebra, show you how to attack the SAT or ACT grammar questions, help you improve your SAT or ACT essay and teach you how to analyse the SAT or ACT reading passages. Instructors and tutors also can show you techniques to avoid making careless mistakes on the SAT or ACT. Finally, we can push you to study and monitor your progress on the SAT or ACT.
Yes, partially, and No.
Partially: You can choose your best test dates, not your best section scores. College Board sends scores for all sections from the dates you pick. You cannot pick and choose your best scores on math, reading and writing individually.
Yes: There is an option called Score Choice, which allows you to send universities tests from particular dates.
No: But some schools don’t accept Score Choice, requiring you to send scores from all dates.
By default, the ACT only sends the scores for the test date you request. You also can request that scores be sent for multiple test dates (for the entire test, not separate sections individually).
You probably shouldn’t use Score Choice. (If you don’t know what Score Choice is, see previous question “Do I get to choose my best mark?”) Many schools, including Ivy League universities, look at all your tests and take the highest score from each section. So you are better off sending all test dates.From USC:”For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section – Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing — even if achieved in different sittings.”From Harvard University:”We consider a student’s best test scores.”Yale University requires students to send all test dates for the SAT:”An applicant’s testing history provides useful contextual information to the admissions committee. With a full testing history, the committee is able to look at a student’s highest officially reported score on each section of the SAT.”
You can see scores online in 13 to 19 days. Scores will be sent to universities 10 days after they’re available to you online. Here are more details on SAT score reporting.
ACT scores will be available online for you to view within about two weeks after you take the test. Here are more details on ACT score reporting.
Here’s how to cancel an SAT score.
For the ACT, there’s little reason to cancel your score before you know what it is. Instead, log into the same account where you registered for the ACT. Remove all universities you listed to receive the score. Then you’ll receive the score, but universities won’t. Remove the universities from your online profile as soon as possible after you take the test. The universities must be removed by Thursday at noon central time after you took the test in order for the scores NOT to be sent to the universities. (But check the ACT website for the latest information).
If you are happy with your score, then you can send your ACT scores to the universities for an extra fee.
If you want to delete a score from your ACT records, write to the the address below, sending your name and address. ACT will send you a form to delete your score.
ACT Institutional Services
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243-0168
Yes. You may want do so if you cannot get a seat in Canada or want to take the SAT when it is not offered in Canada. Register with your Canadian home address. For a test site, search for ZIP code south of the border near Blaine, Wash. (98230) or Bellingham, Wash. (ZIP code 98225) if you live in the BC Lower Mainland. If you live elsewhere in Canada, search just below the border near you.
Some universities require the SAT for transfer students. Others do not.
Call the admissions office of universities that interest you to confirm, or check out the webpage on admissions requirements for transfer students. Here are some sample responses:NYU:
Transfer applicants who have already completed at least one year of full-time college or university enrollment in liberal arts and science courses are exempt from having to submit
standardized test results to NYU. International transfer applicants, however, must review our English language testing requirements, which apply to both freshman and transfer candidates applying to our campus in New York.Columbia University:
You must take or have taken either the SAT or the ACT to be considered for transfer admission, and the scores must be directly reported to Columbia from the appropriate testing agency.ASU: It depends on your particular situation. If you are transferring fewer than 24 transferable credits, you must also meet freshman admission requirements, which may require ACT/SAT scores. Also, some majors, such as business, require a particular ACT/SAT score for admission into the program.Ohio State: You are not required to submit scores if you meet one of these criteria:
- have completed at least 30 semester or 45 quarter hours of college-level courses since graduating from high school
- are applying to a regional campus
- graduated from high school two or more years prior to your first term of planned enrollment at Ohio State
No, don’t take the actual SAT or ACT before studying. You may need to take the test several times even after studying. But you don’t want too many official scores on the SAT because all of them may be reported to universities.
Some admissions officers look down on students who took the SAT too many times (perhaps three times or more).
Your Score Booster offers diagnostic tests to students even before before you start tutoring, during preparation and after preparation, so students can see their progress throughout the process.
The SAT or ACT score you see is likely the midpoint, or median. Unfortunately, that means half of the students who were admitted to the university achieved a higher score. Fortunately, it means half the students who were admitted achieved a lower score. So it’s merely a gauge. Of course, the higher your score is, the more likely you are to be admitted.
To learn more about the SAT and ACT scores you need for the NCAA, Please check out the Your Score Booster page on student-athletes.
Those eligibility standards may differ from university requirements for the SAT. Check with potential universities for their requirements.
NCAA looks at the critical reading and math sections. NCAA doesn’t require the writing section. Some universities, however, do require the writing section. If you don’t have to prepare for the writing section, you can save money on preparation. So check with universities that interest you to see if it’s required.
Even though NCAA doesn’t require the writing section, some universities require it. If universities that interest you don’t require the writing section, which includes two multiple choice grammar sections and one essay, then you don’t have to study for it. But on test day, you can’t skip the writing sections, so you might as well do your best on it, even if you didn’t study for it.
In addition to in-person tutoring, we tutor students via the Internet anywhere in the world using Skype. Online SAT preparation is a good option if you don’t live in the Vancouver area, especially when the exchange rate is favourable. Please contact me using the form below.
We cannot schedule sessions until after we have a score from an actual SAT/ACT or a diagnostic SAT/ACT. Contact us to take a diagnostic test. Once we have a score, we can arrange lessons, preferably the sames days and times each week. Student-athletes or others with busy schedules may schedule days and times that vary, but you must reserve lessons two weeks in advance.
We encourage students to take relaxing vacations; it recharges them. If you have an upcoming vacation, please fill out an online form here or find the form under the “Students” tab.
No. Section 118.5(1)(d) of the tuition tax credit allow for a tax credit for occupational, trade, or professional examinations. However, only the exam fees to get a professional licence are covered. University-entrance exam fees, for exams such as the MCAT or SAT, aren’t covered. See section 2.42. “Examinations taken in order to begin study in a profession or field, such as a medical college admission test, are not considered to be an occupational, trade, or professional examination.” This information was updated in April 2016. You also should check with your accountant for further clarification or the latest updates.
Yes, you can get extra time. We’ve helped raise scores for numerous students with disabilities. Read more here about the SAT and disabilities.
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What are the phone numbers for College Board (SAT) or ACT Inc.?
College Board (SAT)
U.S. and Canada: 1-866-756-7346
Other countries: 1-212-713-7789
ACT Inc. (ACT)
Main Number: 319-337-1270
Accommodations (Extended time): 319-337-1332
Your Score Booster cannot help with registration. You must register on your own.
If you have trouble registering online, see our FAQ about how to contact College Board (SAT) or ACT Inc.