Changing test format the day of

Has anyone/anyone’s child changed their ACT or SAT format the day of from doing writing/essay to not doing it? My daughter is signed up for both with writing, but now that the SAT is discontinuing writing it doesn’t seem to make sense for her to do it for ACT or SAT. However, both her registrations are now unchangeable until the test dates. She is anxious about the mechanics of communicating the change, and that it could result in someone making an error and her getting a zero score for writing. I have called both ACT and SAT and all they say is “it will be fine” but that’s not making her feel any better. If anyone has experience with this, can you please explain how it works - is there an obvious person at the test site who you see for changes? Do you get a receipt/verification of the change? Thanks in advance!

I’m pretty sure that if she tells the SAT proctor at the beginning of the day and then just leaves after the EBRW/Math sections, she’ll be fine. You likely will receive a refund for the cost difference.

Mention it when checking in, but the proctor for the room is the most important person to tell, up front.

If it’s her school, you could also email guidance/principal and ask them to pass the word down to whoever is in charge of the test administration, in advance.

I’m a proctor and yes you can change to not take the writing the day of. You need to tell the administrator as soon as you arrive at the test the day of. This just happened with a student I proctored. But in all honesty, I always recommend taking the writing. There are schools that use the writing score to pass out of the first semester of English, and since you won’t get a refund anyway, you might as well take it. It’s 40 minutes extra and since no college will care about it as far as admissions, there is really no negative reason not to take it, other than the extra 40 mins.

Also, there is a process involved with it, so she can’t just get up and leave on her own accord as suggested by a previous post. She will have to be excused, but if she addresses it right away, she may be able to get put into the room with the students taking the non-writing ones which would be the easiest. However, again, I would recommend she take it. Note also, whichever she decides, schools do not superscore among different tests, so if she takes it with writing, then she always has to take it with writing. If she takes it without writing, then all her future tests in order to be super scored, have to be without writing.

Schools will superstore across tests - with or without writing. My daughter took the ACT this year 2x and writing once - She was admitted to an Ivy in the ED round. She sent in both sets of scores - one had writing and one did not. They did not require writing, but it showed up on the report.

Maybe this is true for some schools out there ???

You may think they superscore across different tests, but they actually don’t. They probably just looked at her better test. That’s typically how it’s always been. Her submitting both tests doesn’t mean they superscored, it just means they had both. But their “computer program” automatically pulls out the score of the like tests, so if one was with writing and one wasn’t, it would sift out only one composite from the two for whichever one was higher. Since you don’t see that side of things, you don’t really know that, but it was still better that she submitted both.

This year they were supposed to go to students being able to take just one section whenever they wanted, similarly to how the subject tests were, however, that was delayed to next admission cycle, but now with so many schools going test option, they may be pushing it again until the 2022 cycle.

I think you are also forgetting that all the Ivies were TO this year and Cornell which I think may be where your daughter is headed, was test blind in some of their schools also. So they weren’t really doing much with the scores like they used to do which was requiring students to submit ALL ACT scores regardless. Of course a few years ago it was the opposite and it was ALL SAT they required and not the ACTs. They keep changing. But they don’t superscore across different tests if one has writing and one doesn’t for the the ACT.

You should be able to cancel the writing portion online not long before taking the test if she’s sure she doesn’t want to take it

FWIW, several Ivies state explicitly that they superscore, and others mention that while they don’t technically create a superscore, they do consider the highest scores across all tests. This may be new with the advent of TO at these schools.

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Interesting - not Cornell and not what she was told by her AO. Not debating - and maybe this did change due to test optional and the section retake roll out delayed.

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Unfortunately both the ACT and the SAT have it as currently unchangeable. The ACT because it was too close to the test date (her original one was rescheduled to a non-standard test administration date due to weather issues), and the SAT because …unclear. Test is in a month. But I called both and they both said she could only do it onsite, which has her stressed. She was fine with taking it, but now that SAT is discontinuing it it seems like unnecessary stress to need to take either with writing, esp. if you need to always do the same format for superscoring (if any)?

Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just take it without the writing and ask for the change at the test center. It’s not worth stressing your kid out or making them any more nervous than they need to be. Each week more and more schools are going test optional, so if you are already have a student stressed about the process, they don’t need to be more stressed. It’s completely unnecessary to do that to them at this point.

You can also just contact the test coordinator where she is taking it and have it settled in advance. They may tell you she has to be put on a waitlist for the non-writing room, but she should still be able to show up that day and not take the writing. I literally just had this happen to me last weekend with a kid. In this case he actually didn’t tell me until halfway through the Math section and he was using the answer document for the writing test. It wasn’t a problem. He was dismissed after the Science, and the others took the writing then. An incident report is completed for ACT advising of the change and that’s it. The only difference is the score may come later than others.

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I’m definitely trying to minimize her stress! She would like to take it without, but is getting very stressed over the mechanics of how to make that change at the test center/what if it’s ambiguous, but it sounds like it shouldn’t be ambiguous if there are separate rooms for writing/non. I’m intrigued by your suggestion to contact the test coordinator - how would I determine who that is? The test is being held at a school other than our home school - should that school know who the coordinator is? Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

Yes, both schools that I proctor at there are separate rooms for writing vs non writing, however, it’s not required. For instance, the script actually says something to the effect of “if you’re taking the writing, please remain seated, if you are not taking the writing, you may be dismissed”. It is clear that some rooms may be mixed. You can’t dismiss the kids not taking the writing, until you collect all the test booklets of everyone in the room and the answer documents for the non writers. Kids taking writing receive an additional test booklet with the essay question, but write their essay in the same answer document as they use for their other 4 sections. With covid also now there are different spacing and capacity limits, masks are required, etc but that is no big deal at all. You don’t even think about having one on.