Should You Take The SAT Essay? Know Its Benefits And Drawbacks

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You might be wondering, or are even worried if you should take the SAT essay. After all, it makes the SAT one test longer if you decide to do so. However, there are pros, and there are cons if you choose to take the Essay portion of the SAT.

It was in the 2016 revision of the SAT when the College Board decided to make the Essay test optional. As a test-taker, you could be lost in the prerogative of whether you should undergo it. You may be mulling over if it will make your application in your target colleges stronger. Read on, so you can obtain more ideas pertaining to this matter.

Since its inception, the SAT has always required the Essay test. But when it was overhauled in 2016, the creating body of the SAT- the College Board- has imposed that the Essay test is to become optional from then on-  just like the ACT, another college admission exam wherein the Essay test has always been optional.

What Is The SAT Essay Test?


The time limit for taking the SAT Essay is 50 minutes. In the test, a passage is given wherein the author takes his/her stance on a particular issue. Your task is to analyze the way that the author has built their argument.

On the overall, the total score for the SAT is 1600. If you choose to take the Essay test, it will be its own section wherein you will be scored from a range of 2 to 8 points.

Your most important consideration on whether you should take the SAT Essay or not is if the schools you plan to gain admission to require it or not. You can get hold of this important information by searching online on Google. Type in the name of the school, along with the keywords “SAT Essay requirement”. You can typically gather this piece of information in the admission webpage of your target school. If any or all of your target schools require a SAT Essay score, then you should take it. Remember that you cannot take the SAT Essay test on its own. If you want to obtain a score for it the next time, you have to retake the whole SAT.

So, should you take the SAT Essay? Look over its benefits and drawbacks to guide you in your decision.

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The Benefits Of Getting A SAT Essay Score

  • You are able to meet the requirements of your chosen colleges.

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It won’t be a problem for you to meet the requirements of the schools you want to attend if you have a SAT Essay score. Basically, whatever the case may be, you’re covered for all the schools you want to study in. If your chosen school doesn’t require it, you don’t have to worry about it. Especially if you have a number of schools in your list, you’re better safe than sorry if some of them need you to have an Essay score. So, just in case, you should take the SAT Essay test.

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  • Getting a good score can boost your application.

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Although a score in the Essay section of the SAT is not a deciding factor in your college application, it can give you a slight edge in the competition. It will highlight your English and writing skills that can have competitive schools consider your application in their institution.

The Drawbacks of Getting A SAT Essay Score

  • It’s an additional section to study for.

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Taking the Essay test of the SAT means you’ll have an extra subject and section to study for. It thus means more hard work, particularly of you have tons of study materials to mentally ingest for your SAT test prep already. If you have qualms about staying motivated in your test prep, additional strain in studying for the Essay test could affect your scores in the other sections. You can see our Best SAT Prep Courses here.

  • Your exam will be longer.

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The total time of taking your SAT will be longer if it includes the Essay test. You’ll have to spend more time in your testing center for 50 more minutes, notwithstanding the time that you’ll need to get things settled. Instead of merely 3 hours, you’ll, therefore, need to stay in your seat for 4 hours if you plan to take the SAT Essay. This may challenge your focus and stamina, rendering you unable to concentrate and achieve your best score.

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  • It is added expense.

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Apparently, you’ll have to pay an extra testing fee if you intend to take the Essay test section of the SAT. Without the Essay test, the SAT testing fee totals  $46, but if you choose to take the Essay test, that’ll cost you another $14, which means you’ll be paying $60 on the overall. Then again, you can be spared from paying the SAT Essay testing fee if you find yourself eligible for a SAT fee waiver.

These are the pros and cons of taking the SAT Essay test. The best way for you to answer the question “should you take the SAT Essay” is to research and determine whether the colleges you want to gain admission to require a SAT Essay score. See to it that you obtain accurate and up-to-date information to avoid blunders that might otherwise cost you precious time and money.