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Reviewing Your SAT Score: What to Expect

What if your SAT score is under review

What is SAT?

The College Board administers the SAT, which is a standardized test that is broadly recognized for admissions in the United States. It is a three-hour-long multiple-choice test with two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The total score for the SAT is 1600, with each section scored out of 800. Perhaps you’ve taken the test recently and you haven’t received your results yet. Keep reading to discover what it means when your SAT score is under review

When the SAT score is under review, it means that the board needs more time to validate it. It does not mean that it stands canceled. A small number of the answer scripts are under review only to determine if the student had an unfair advantage.

However, this only happens when they are confident about the substantial evidence they have that doesn’t support the student’s SAT score. 

Some of the common reasons why the SAT score is under review:

  1. A college board could request to re-validate and verify the submitted SAT score as it may show discrepancies in reference to their application forms. 
  2. There could be other papers with unusually similar and matching answers amongst two or more papers that would raise the question of the validity of the test score.

Also read: Why Is My SAT Score Lower Than I Expected?

The SAT score review process is as follows:

The college board flags certain scores:

When the SAT is scored, the test papers are examined to distinguish based on potential security concerns. A point to be noted is that everything is distinguished purely based on the response sheets and not the individual itself since they have only the understudy ID numbers.

The scores are flagged only if at least two response sheets have a surprisingly good understanding in terms of the right and wrong answers.

How they review flagged scores:

Once they segregate your response sheet and flag it for a score validity concern. they will look for further information that could possibly prove that the score may not be valid.

Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind. — David G. Allen

Some other possible factors other than the answers being similar are: 

  • Some of the students with similar answer sheets have had their scores flagged or canceled before
  • The student’s answers could not only match other students’ responses but could also match the answer key or the cheat sheet of the SAT test 
  • There is no rough work on the test book to show that they arrived at a particular answer.
  • The handwriting on the answer sheet compared with the handwriting on other application forms
  • The student’s scores compared with their previous scores or scores from other sections of the test
  • The student’s essay is compared with other students essays or other published/unpublished sources to see any similarities

As unusual as it is to find more than one of these reasons to question the score, there are possibilities that it may happen. And if it does, the student is called in to provide information that could support their score. After the review is done and the scores are concluded to be invalid, the student will be contacted and told that their scores are on hold.

This only happens when: 
  • The answer scripts of at least 2 students are significantly similar
  • Evidence that the student accessed test materials before the day of the SAT test
  • Evidence that the responses of the student were not their own

Once the student is contacted, they are given three options. If the student is unable to decide which option to choose. the student is free to speak with their parents, teachers, or guidance counselors:

Cancel the scores:

If one requests to cancel the scores, they will receive a full refund on the application fee that they paid to take the test. If in case the scores were sent to the college, they will be told that the scores have been canceled without disclosing the reason.

However, the student is free to retake the SAT in the next round unless they have been told otherwise. 

Retake the test:

If the student feels their score is valid, they are free to retake the test at a free cost to confirm the validity of their scores. The retest is given under secure conditions where the student has to show positive identification. The SAT score need not be the same as the previous score;

however if the new score is within 120-150 points for each section, they might most likely approve the initial SAT score.

Ask for further review: 

Read below to see what they can do that will enable them to approve of their SAT score. Submit any kind of proof that will support the authenticity of the SAT score. Any documents that include government-sanctioned test scores or secondary school transcripts. 

Retake the SAT. 

The last resort could be to request a conference with an unbiased outsider. The American Arbitration Association will pick an autonomous referee that will allow them to make a decision about approving the score or otherwise. 

The scores are usually validated in the end so you need not worry about canceling your score. All the best!

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