Jan 17, 2018
There’s no time machine (yet) to carry students back to zero hour on exam day, but in a worst-case scenario students can cancel their SAT or ACT scores. Here’s how.
Your student studied as hard as ever for the SAT or ACT under your expert tutelage, sat the exam, and had a nervous breakdown by the time the proctor uttered “Pens down.”
Test anxiety is a real thing for thousands of nervy test-takers who might have given it their all, only to be foiled by nerves or running out of time. Whatever the reason for fearing failure, it helps to provide students some guidance about their options in the event of an exam-day crisis. (Or if you think the student is overreacting, maybe a guided meditation is in order instead.)
While students can always retake either standardized test (the SAT averages your best scores for each subject area, while the ACT only reports your top scores for each subject area), there is a nuclear option: Cancel your test scores.
If the student fears their freshly penned bubble sheet is a looming disaster right after pens down, encourage them to tell the proctor immediately. It might cost them a test fee and several hours of stress, and they’ll have sit the test yet again, but being upfront is better than anxiously awaiting confirmation of poor test results.
If it’s a matter of hindsight, all is not yet lost for your hapless student.
The SAT provides a handy how-to for cancelling test scores. The key thing is: act quickly. Students have until 11:59 p.m. the Wednesday following the test date to notify the College Board, using this form, that they want to scrub their results. So if your student sat the March 10, 2018 SAT test (that’s a Saturday), they have until Wednesday, March 14 to cancel their scores.
If it’s the ACT panicking your student, they can cancel their ACT test scores by making a written request with their full name and address to:
ACT Institutional Services
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243-0168
The student then receives a form in the mail to complete and return—and presto! No more ACT test scores.
If students have any questions, they can call the College Board (for the SAT) at 866-756-7346 or ACT Institutional Services at 319-337-1270.
Remind students that it’s a big thing to sit an exam in the first place, and an even bigger thing to decide to cancel their test scores. The nuclear option should always be their last resort (like the real nuclear option—Oh, wait. That should never happen.).
In any case, with proper test prep and calm nerves from all those guided breathing exercises, your student should be set for success. Here’s a calendar and some important information for the upcoming SAT and ACT tests in 2018 to get that test prep well underway.