ACT/SAT Terminate Test Scores for Being too High


Junior Sarah Thomas studies for the ACT at least once a week. Sarah credits her score increases to her strong study habits. (photo by Lily Ryall)

As juniors prepare for the ACT, many are not aware of the power ACT and SAT has when determining if scores are valid.  

It says loud and clear on the ACT’s website: “ACT reserves the right to cancel test scores when there is reason to believe the scores are invalid,” but still, most test takers don’t know that ACT and SAT have the power to open an individual score review and determine scores invalid without consulting the test taker.

“I would never cheat on the ACT, and I think my scores match up with my school grades, but I didn’t know that they could cancel scores without consulting the person,” Sarah said.

Junior Amelia Wickoff was much more surprised than Sarah at the news that she could be suspected of cheating because of a good score.

“No I didn’t know they could terminate my score! Do they really have the power? Why! How! What!” Amelia said.

If the ACT or SAT staff suspects cheating, identity falsification, or if the scores are inconsistent with the person’s classroom performance, then the scores can be terminated without consulting the examinee. Therefore, students can be punished for big improvements in their scores. This is what happened to 18-year-old Kamila Campbell of Florida, who in Jan. 2019, was considering pursuing legal action against SAT for the release of her test scores, which were under review. Kamila alleges that her scores were being withheld on account of a dramatic point increase, but SAT said her scores were under review for different reasons. Unfortunately, if Kamila does not get her score released in time to send them to the colleges she is applying to, she might not get to use her score for scholarship purposes. (  

“I feel bad for Kamila,” Sarah said. “ I’ve been studying for the ACT a lot, and I know I would be so sad if my score was canceled.”

Amelia has also been preparing for the ACT persistently. While she understands the need make sure test scores are legitimate, she also thinks that no one is sneaky enough to get away with cheating on the ACT.

“I  don’t think it’s fair, because it’s impossible to cheat on the ACT, and people may just put in a lot of effort and that’s why their scores rose so much,” Amelia said.