College Board Technical White Paper—
Batch Essay Delivery
Using an index file to extract student SAT essay images for
upload into an admission system or database
This document provides information and recommendations to aid colleges and
universities in developing a mechanism to extract student SAT essay images from batch
essay PDF files and upload the images directly into their admission system or database
for review in the admission process.
Description of the Batch Essay Process
Institutions can choose to receive all student essays in batch files. Once this option has
been selected, and when batches of essays are available, you will receive an email
Each batch file may contain as many as 100 to 500 student essays (depending on your
preferred file size). The number of files you receive will depend on the number of
students who sent scores to your institution—as many PDFs as necessary will be sent to
incorporate the entire output of student essays.
Description of the Index File
A complete index file accompanies each batch of essays. The index file lists which
students' essays can be found in each PDF file, and can be used to upload essay images
automatically into a database. This index file can be used to help program the automatic
extraction of images. This is a fixed-width ASCII format file, as specified below.
The name of the index file is unique to each batch of essays, and adheres to the following
format: complete_index_<BB>.txt (where BB is the 2-digit batch number).
Technical Information on Using the Index File
To extract and load essay images, you will need a tool that allows you to manipulate PDF
files. Below is a partial list of tools that may be used for this purpose.
• JAVA: http://www.lowagie.com/iText/
• VB/COM: http://www.devdirect.com/All/PDFCREATE_PCAT_1876.aspx
Once you have installed a tool to allow you to extract a PDF into your admissions system
or database, follow these steps: