What You Need to Know About Submitting an SAT or ACT Re-score Request

Here's how to request an ACT or SAT rescore request.As you’re likely aware, there have been recent changes to both the SAT and the ACT.

The “New” SAT has been changed from the 2400 scale back to a 1600 scale, along with a restructuring of the sections and scoring criteria.

The ACT has also been changed. Specifically, the writing/essay portion of the test which is now scored on a scale of 1 to 36 (like the other sections) rather than the previous scale of 1 to 12.

There have been mixed reactions to these changes and many questions have been raised about the impact for students. Some of the biggest flags raised have been questions regarding the changes in scoring and what scores students should expect.

Questions about scoring

With changes to the SAT/ACT can come some scoring “anomalies”. Such was the case for the September 2015 administration of the ACT. The scoring for the new essay section was unusually low.

Students who were getting in the low to mid 30’s on the Science, Reading, Math, and English sections, were getting essay scores that were significantly lower. In some cases, they received 10 points or more below their other scores. Students were performing much better on prior tests and practice tests questioned these results. Many went so far as to have the essay rescored. With the first administration of the new SAT recently completed, one can only guess that there might also be scoring issues to be ironed out and addressed there as well.

With this in mind, it might be worth a few minutes to review the processes by which test takers can have their scores checked or verified.

Requesting a re-score

Both SAT and ACT have provisions to have scoring on sections of the test checked or verified. But, the specifics differ between these two testing companies. Here is a brief recap of what you need to know to have scores verified. If you’re considering doing this, you should probably read the fine print from the companies themselves.

ACT rescore requests

  • You can request a rescoring of your ACT in writing, within 3 months of the test date
  • Students also need to pay, upfront, for the rescoring. However, this fee will be refunded if your score does, in fact, change
  • You will pay $50 to have the multiple-choice rescored and $50 for the writing section
  • ACT will respond in 3–5 weeks
  • If a scoring error is discovered, your scores will be changed. Corrected reports will be released to you and all previous score recipients

* The ACT essay has changed from an optional 30-minute essay to an optional 40-minute writing exercise. It requires students to “develop an argument that puts their own perspective in dialogue with others” in response to a contemporary issue.

SAT rescore requests

  • While ACT will re-read and rescore the essay, the SAT will only rescore the essay if it did not scan correctly, thus affecting the readability
  • College Board charges $55 per section (multiple-choice and essay) to rescore the SAT. The charge gets refunded if a scoring error is found
  • Your entire answer sheet will be reviewed, and unlike your ACT score–which can only remain unchanged or go up–your SAT score can also go down if other errors are discovered
  • Under certain circumstances, your score may change but you may not be refunded. For example, if you wrote in pen, which prevented your essay from being properly scanned

Deciding to request a rescore

Whether or not you should request a rescore depends on the importance of any potential error. It also depends on how it affects your admissions chances.

It’s a bit of a gamble to request it (you may get stuck paying the bill). But, if you have a solid reason to believe that your test may have been improperly scored, then it may be in your best interest.

The bottom line: If a particular section of your test is far below what you expected or if you inadvertently wrote your answers in the wrong section of the answer sheet, it may be worth the time and money to consider having your test rescored.

4 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Submitting an SAT or ACT Re-score Request”

  1. Adam Chill says:

    Is there any risk on a rescore of an ACT essay of the score being lowered rather than confirmed or raised? Thank you.

    1. Mary Smith says:

      Yes, I am interested in the answer to this question as well. ID the only “downside” the $50, or is there a risk the writing score could be lowered?

    2. jwhiteboard says:

      Not according to this article from last year.
      If ACT policy has stayed the same, then you can only do better. The SAT, however, can grade you worse if they catch new mistakes.

    3. Amy Wimberly says:

      No, if they realize it should be lower it will stay the same but if it is indeed supposed to be higher it will be raised.

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