Feb. 7, 2021
Finally, the test is over. You just took the SAT or ACT, but as the proctor calls time on the last section, you feel pangs of anxiety instead of a wave of relief.
Maybe you woke up feeling sick or suddenly felt very ill in the middle of the test. Perhaps you froze up with a bad case of test anxiety. Maybe someone or something was disturbing you or distracting you in the testing room.
Whatever the reason, you couldn't focus on answering the questions to the best of your ability, or you couldn't even finish the test. You're pretty sure that your scores from this test date are not going to help you get you into your top choices. So can you cancel your test score now before it even gets scored?
Simply put, yes, you do have the option to cancel your SAT or ACT score. But you need to act quickly, and you also need to make sure you're canceling your score for the right reasons.
Barry Beach, a college advisor based in San Rafael, Calif., advises students not to cancel an exam score “unless you already have completed the exam at least once and received your score. In particular, seniors have to ensure there is still time for them to retake the exam before their college deadlines. Canceling an exam score is typically not a good idea. While lots of students feel they did not do as well as they wanted following the exam, many end up doing better than expected. If you cancel your exam, you will never know what the score was, and you will have to pay the full registration fee to take the exam again, assuming there is still time for you to do so before all your college application deadlines."
Keep in mind that you won't get a refund if you decide to cancel your score. But if you've come to the conclusion that you do not want your test to be scored, here's how to cancel your scores for the SAT, SAT Subject Tests and the ACT:
If you took your test on a Saturday, you have until Thursday night to decide whether to cancel your scores. College Board states that your request “must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. U.S. ET on the fourth weekday following your test day."
However, there is an exception -- students with disabilities who test in a school-based setting have until the Monday one week after the published test date to cancel their scores.
Of course, if you finish the test and know right away that you want to cancel your scores, you can do so immediately. Ask the proctor for the “Request to cancel test scores" form, fill it out, sign it and hand it back to the proctor before you leave the test center.
You can also still prevent any colleges from learning of your SAT score if you just remove your score report recipients within nine days following your exam date. Simply log into your online SAT account and delete the score recipients you previously selected. But if you apply to a school that wants to see the scores from every test you've ever taken, then you will still have to share the score from this test date.
If you took one or more SAT Subject Tests on the same day, you can choose to cancel one of the tests or all of them. If the reason for requesting a score cancellation is because you experienced technical difficulties with your calculator or CD player (used for a Foreign Language with Listening Subject Test) during a test, you must notify your proctor immediately after it happens, not after the test. You will then need to get the proctor's signature on your cancellation request form.
Unfortunately, if you are thinking about canceling your ACT scores, you don't have much time to weigh your decision. You must notify the proctor before you leave the testing room on the test date. Simply tell the proctor to void your scores before you leave the test center. However, you can still prevent any colleges from learning of your ACT score if you remove your score report recipients by the Thursday (at 11:59 pm Eastern Time) following your exam date. Simply log into your online ACT account and delete the score recipients you previously selected.
However, if you cannot decide about canceling your score so quickly, there is a way to make your ACT score disappear forever! You can request that your score be permanently deleted from your record. This means that when a college asks you to submit scores of all tests you have ever taken, you don't have to include this test score because it will no longer exist on your record. It will be as if you never took it.
There are a few things to know before you take action to remove your test date from your record:
- Your test will have to be scored first, so do not ask to have your score canceled on test day.
- Make sure you have not named any colleges as recipients of your score report.
- This will only work if you paid for the test. If you took the ACT for free as part of state-wide or district-wide testing, then you cannot request to delete your ACT score.
To start the deletion request process, send a letter (include your name and address) to the ACT to notify them that you would like to delete a record of a particular test date. Send the letter to:
ACT Institutional Services
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243-0168
The ACT will send you back an official form, which you will need to fill out and send back to them to complete the score deletion process.