How to Cancel SAT Score (or ACT). A Q&A of When You Should and Shouldn’t

"Cancel Scores" stamp graphic on a lined paper background.Not many students know this, but you can cancel your ACT/SAT scores.

You can simply write to the test providers and request that they delete your results. If done correctly, this can prevent them from sending out the scores to the colleges you initially provided.

However, just because you have the option, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. First, let’s understand what score cancellation entails, what it does, and what the consequences of the decision could be. 

What Does Canceling Your ACT/SAT Scores Do?

If you put in a request to cancel your scores before your test results are released, your test will not be graded and no score report will be generated. It will be as if you never took the test, except, of course, you forfeit all the fees you paid for the test. 

For the ACT, you can delete your scores after you received your results. But this option is not available for the SAT.

How Can You Cancel Your ACT/SAT Scores?

The ACT and SAT have slightly different methods and deadlines for canceling results.

How Can You Cancel Your ACT Scores?

To request cancellation of an ACT score or delete it from your record, students have to reach out to the ACT by either email or their customer service phone number (319-337-1270). If you call, you will receive forms to complete by mail. You can request cancellation or deletion of your ACT scores at any time, even after scores have been released.

However, it’s important to note that if you do not cancel your ACT score within a few days of taking the test, your results will still automatically be sent to the colleges you provided when you registered for the ACT.

How Can you Cancel Your SAT Scores?

SAT scores can only be canceled by 11:59 pm EST on the Thursday after you sat for the test and before you saw the results. Some students may qualify for a slightly longer deadline (until the following Monday). Scores cannot be canceled or deleted after you receive your SAT results. However, you can cancel your scores right at the registration center minutes after you completed the test (but this is not recommended!). 

Why Would You Want to Cancel Your ACT/SAT Scores?

The main reason why students decide to cancel their ACT or SAT scores is because a low score may hurt their chances of getting accepted into the college(s) of their choice. After the exam, some students may know for a fact they did poorly. Students can do worse than expected if they felt ill, didn’t get enough sleep, are dealing with intense nerves, or weren’t prepared enough.

While some schools are making the ACT or SAT optional, there are still a few colleges that require applications to submit all of their existing standardized test scores, good or bad. If you’re applying to a college that requires every test result, then it makes sense to cancel your really low scores rather than risk a rejection.

If you’re not 100% sure about your performance on a test, you should NOT get the test scores canceled. You may have performed better than you thought and could be in for a pleasant surprise.

What Are Your Other Options?

At the same time though, you can’t wait too long to make this decision. If you don’t cancel your ACT or SAT score within a few days of sitting for the exam, your results will be sent to your listed colleges. You can, therefore, log into your ACT and SAT accounts and delete the colleges you selected at registration. This way, you can still receive your test results, but they won’t automatically be sent to your potential schools.

It’s important to note that if you wish to re-add these schools or others after you receive your test results, you will have to pay additional fees. In the long run, it may be more expensive. But, it may give you peace of mind and help you relax while you wait for your test scores.

Canceling your ACT or SAT scores should not be taken lightly. This shouldn’t be a split-second decision – it may be one you regret as it can’t be undone. You always have at least a few days after you took the exam to think it over and discuss it with others. There are very few reasons you should cancel your scores. Even if you think you did poorly. Most schools do not require you to submit every standardized test result. It could truly be better to hope for the best and start preparing for your next SAT or ACT.

Whether you’re about to take your ACT/SAT or are waiting on your results, you can use our College Match tool to see what other students who were accepted to your dream school received on their tests!