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College Talk Blog

What if the SAT test date is a disaster?

Sometimes a student stumbles on SAT test day due to personal illness, family events or another issue. By stumble, I mean real disaster like not finishing most of his test, not being able to concentrate due to stress or not being able to complete items because of an inability to stay awake during the test. Students are not always aware that they can cancel results of an SAT exam. Students may cancel the test on the day of the test and also have until 11:59 pm on the Wednesday following the test to ask that their test results be cancelled. This is a decision that is irreversible once made. It is also a decision best made after consulting parents.
Test policies of most colleges count the highest score earned on the critical reading, math and writing test from all attempts. So if a student earns their highest critical reading score on the second attempt and the best math score on the first attempt, those are the scores that are counted. Such forgiving policies mean that in most cases students will not be penalized for low scores on a test when higher scores are reported for another attempt. Most college applications also have a section where a student can explain any type of extenuating circumstance that the student would like the admissions committee to know about.
Cancelling an SAT test result is not necessary for most students because of the policies at most colleges regarding how they consider score reports. Cancellation should only be done when there has been a significant performance or equipment issue. There is no refund for tests that are cancelled after taking the exam.

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