No one wants to take the SAT more than once. Unless they’re sadistic, that is.

But if a student having taken the SAT once decides that their best test score has yet to come, having the right information about what they got wrong last time is crucial to improving their performance.

This is where the Student Answer Service and Question Answer Service come in.

When signing up for the SAT, depending on the date, you’re given an option to sign up for either of these reports.

But what’s the difference between the two and are they worth it?

Student Answer Service

When it’s offered: August, November, December, June
How much it costs: $13.50

The student answer service gives a very surface-level report of your student’s performance.

It will NOT give you the test questions.

It will NOT show you what your student answered.

It will NOT show you what the correct answer was.

For Math questions, it will only give you the category it was pulled from: Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Mathematics, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, or Additional Topics in Math.

The problem is that these categories are extremely broad. Within each category there are around 15 different specific topics that question could have dealt with. So, while it’s better than nothing, it’s not a great tool when trying to pinpoint what went wrong.

Question Answer Service

When it’s offered: October, March, May
How much it costs: $18

This is what you want.

If you sign up for the QAS, The College Board will send you a copy of the test booklet. It will show you the correct answers, and tell you the answer your student chose.

For $18, you can give your student the added confidence of knowing what they got incorrect and have them address those weaknesses leading up to their next test date.

Why is the QAS offered only three times a year?

Why does Mike Tyson own a pet tiger? I can only speculate.

Similarly, I’m not totally sure about why the QAS isn’t offered for every test date.

If I had to guess though, I would imagine the CollegeBoard does their best to limit the test copies that they release.

There is an arms race between the test prep industry and the College Board and the ETS . We’re trying to gather as much data on their test as possible. The more data we have, the more permutations of a problem type we see, the better we can create our practice problems and the better we can prep our students.

By limiting the amount of tests released, the College Board and ETS slow down our process of discovering new question types and different ways of presenting material.

I know. They’re evil.

Forgot to order the SAS or QAS? Have no fear.

If you didn’t sign up for either report when you registered your student for their test, you can order them up to 5 months after your student’s test date.

Keep in mind, though, it takes several weeks for the College Board to process your request, so order them as soon as possible.

Did you or your student order the question answer service or student answer service? Did they find either one useful? Let me know!