The Question-and-Answer Service offered by the College Board is a great way to help students improve their SAT scores. If you don’t know what the Question-and-Answer Service is, read on!
What is the Question-and-Answer Service, and Why Is It Important?
The Question-and-Answer Service allows students to pay a nominal fee to College Board prior to an examination in order to receive the answers to selected questions, helping students pad their scores if academically needed.
Just kidding! Haha, don’t we all wish such a service existed? The real Question-and-Answer Service is a part of the College Board’s student answer verification service, which allows students to confirm the accuracy of their scores. With the service, students taking the SAT on certain dates can request a copy of the test booklet, the correct answers, information about the level of difficulty of each question, a breakdown of question types, and a scoring guide. Students can then use the materials to double-check their scores. It’s almost just like getting the answers beforehand, except… it’s afterwards.
However, this is not the main reason that the Question-and-Answer Service is of great interest to parents and their students. Receiving a copy of the test booklet gives students the opportunity to go over their tests and review missed questions, see patterns of errors, and learn from their mistakes. This is especially useful for high school juniors, who will have many more opportunities to take the exam in the future.
Practice tests, even the real practice tests from the College Board’s official study guide, can’t 100% emulate the experience of taking a real SAT. Issues that may not appear during practice sessions may suddenly present themselves during the real thing, and students will be too busy concentrating on the test to be able to perform any sort of on-the-fly analysis of their performance. Using the Question-and-Answer Service is the best (only) way to see exactly what’s happening on the day of the test.
How Do I Use the Question-and-Answer Service?
When a student takes an SAT during the months of October, January, or May*, he or she can order the Question-and-Answer Service during registration or anytime up to five months after the test date. Please note that, according to the College Board, the materials may not arrive until the next scheduled test date.
A copy of the actual answer sheet itself can also be requested, but for an additional fee.
When preparing for the SAT, there is no substitute for the real thing. If you choose to use a professional test preparation service, make sure that they offer plenty of real practice tests and not simulated materials; if you are taking the SAT in October, January, or May, be sure to take advantage of the Question-and-Answer Service! Use the test to help you pinpoint areas of weakness so that you can improve your score!
*For the other test dates, students can request the Student Answer Service, which provides students with a report containing information about questions answered correctly, answered incorrectly, or omitted, and information about the test question types and difficulty. The Student Answer Service does not provide students with a copy of the test booklet or test questions.