When registering for the SAT/ACT, you should consider whether to choose the optional Essay or not. It’s a good idea to check the policies of the institutions you’re interested in to see if they require it for admission. Read our blog: Which colleges require Essay with the SAT/ACT test?

For either of the test, you can change your essay selection no later than the late registration deadline for your test day. To do so, log on to your Collegeboard or ACT account online and make changes to your registration. 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).

For making changes to your essay selection after late registration has passed, consider the following:

Adding or Dropping the SAT Essay on the Test Day

  • Important - Make sure to request at check-in. You will be seated after the other registered students, but before waitlist students, on a first-come, first-served basis, if materials and space allow.

  • Aren’t guaranteed and will be made at the discretion of the test center staff at check-in. Changes may be declined by test center staff for various reasons, including lack of sufficient materials, staff, or seats to accommodate the change.

  • Aren’t available to waitlist students or test takers 21 and over.

  • May not be permitted in certain test centers—see for details.

  • Can’t be made after you’re checked in and assigned a room. If you try to change your essay option after check-in, you’ll be dismissed from the center and your scores will be canceled.

If your request is addressed, there is no change fee assessed. You’ll be automatically refunded or billed for the difference between your registration choice and the test you take on test day. Refunds/charges is processed using the payment method used when registering. Fee waivers cover any changes to the essay option.

Adding or Dropping the ACT Essay on the Test Day

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.