Test-Prep Advice Post
The QAS (Question and Answer Service) for the SAT, and the TIR (Test Information Release) for the ACT: What are they, and why do they matter?
UPDATE, DECEMBER 2023: PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COLLEGE BOARD HAS DISCONTINUED THE QUESTION AND ANSWER SERVICE FOR THE NEW, DIGITAL SAT AKA DSAT.
The SAT and ACT are two very similar tests that serve the same purpose-- college admissions --and their respective companies (The College Board and ACT, Inc.) offer two very similar services called QAS and TIR, which are basically just fancy terms for “for an extra fee ($16 for the SAT and $32 for the ACT), you can order a copy of your test questions after the exam.”
ACT, Inc. offers the TIR on the Saturday test dates in April, June and September (formerly December) of every year. Although mostly the same, there are two key differences between QAS and TIR: though the QAS includes a copy of your essay, the TIR requires that you send in an additional form with payment to view your essay. More importantly, the College Board QAS is now online (screenshot below) — it is incorporated into your College Board user account, where you can view the questions immediately after scores are released. For now, the ACT TIR is still the old-fashioned paper booklet version sent in the mail, and it traditionally takes about 4-6 weeks to arrive, though recent tests have arrived much faster.
Pro tip: try to avoid the (strong!) temptation to immediately check the correct answers to the questions you answered wrong the first time. Instead, ignore the correct answers at first. Instead, write down the numbers of those questions and try them again, from scratch, with no time limit. Only after you have tried the questions again should you check the correct answer. You will find that the College Board online QAS interface makes this process quite easy, since it shows you a blank question at first and requires a click to show your answer (and the correct answer). You can also use the "filter" function to look only at questions you answered incorrectly. Again, try to avoid the temptation to peek at the correct answer without trying the question first!
If you get it wrong on the 2nd try: don't despair. If you get the question wrong on the 2nd try, then this probably indicates a true weakness that needs to be addressed. Give these questions highest priority in your studies.