If your score is under review, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re canceling it; it means we need more information to determine whether we can validate it.
We put a relatively small percentage of answer sheets under review after each administration to determine if any student had an unfair advantage. We owe it to colleges, scholarship providers, and most importantly, to students to report scores that are fair, accurate, and valid.
We hope this post will help you understand our review process, including:
- Why we flag scores for review.
- How we review flagged scores.
- What you can do to help us validate your score.
Please note: We’re extremely proud of the hard work students put in to do well on the SAT, and we celebrate high scores and score increases by students from all backgrounds.
We never review scores because they’re high, and it’s uncommon for us to cancel any score. We do so only when we’re highly confident we have substantial evidence that invalidates the score. Throughout the review process, we give every student the benefit of the doubt.
Why We Flag Scores
When we score the SAT, we run statistical analyses to identify potential test security concerns, such as unusual agreement among two or more students who took the same test. This means the agreement between the students’ right and wrong answers was unlikely.
At this point, we don’t know who the answer sheets belong to—and we don’t know their race, gender, or any other personal details. We only have student ID numbers.
How We Review Flagged Scores
Once we identify a potential score validity concern, we look to see if there’s any other information that could indicate the score may not be valid.
In addition to unusual answer sheet similarities, other factors that may suggest a score isn’t valid include:
- Some students with similar answer sheets have had test scores canceled before.
- The student’s answers not only match other students’ answers to an unlikely degree, they also match an answer key or “cheat sheet” circulating among students.
- There’s no scratch work in the student’s test book.
It’s rare for us to find any of these things; it’s even more unusual for us to find more than one.
If we don’t find additional reasons to question the score, we’ll validate it and release it to the student. If we do find additional, substantial reasons, we’ll continue our review and invite the student to provide any information that supports their score.
What You Can Do
Here’s what you can do to help us validate your score:
1. Submit evidence that supports it.
Any information about your test experience that’s relevant to your score, including other standardized test scores, your high school transcript, and your grades, can help us determine the validity of your score.
2. Retake the SAT—for free, and at your convenience.
You don’t have to match your original score to have us validate it. For example, in many cases, if you score within 120–150 points in each section (Reading and Math) of your questioned score, we may be able to validate it.
3. Ask for a hearing with a neutral third party.
The American Arbitration Association will appoint an independent arbitrator to help us determine whether we can validate your score.
You can also ask us to cancel your score and get a full refund—and you can take the test again.