If a major crisis occurs during your SAT, don’t worry. Unlike the ACT, the SAT allows you to cancel your scores before they are ever processed. In order to do so, however, you must act quickly.
You can ask the test supervisor at the testing center to cancel your score immediately after you’ve taken the exam, or you can fax a written request to College Board by 11:59PM on the Wednesday after you took the test. If you go the latter route, make sure to call College Board before the deadline to make sure the fax has been received.
As easy as all this sounds, it’s generally not a good idea to cancel your score. If you cancel your score, you’ll never know how well you did—which is probably better than you think. Students often feel like they’ve performed poorly on the test, only to find out when the score arrives three weeks later that they’ve done well. Accurately gauging your performance is impossible without the official score report.
Even if you do receive a low score, the vast majority of colleges will ignore it if you score higher on another test. Most schools either “superscore” the SAT—cherry pick your highest individual section scores from across test dates—or they take your highest composite score. At many of these schools, admissions officers will never even see the lower scores, because computer software only selects your highest scores to be included in your admissions file.
When should you cancel your score then? If there was a major crisis during the test. Perhaps you had to leave midway through the exam because of a medical emergency, or your calculator died and your backup batteries didn’t work. Even though most schools won’t consider your lowest score, there’s no reason to add it to your testing record.
If, on the other hand, you only think that you performed poorly on the test, avoid cancelling your score. You may be pleasantly surprised when your score finally arrives.