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What to Do the Week Before the SAT

No Matter How Well You've Prepared for the SAT, It's Always Good to Walk in Feeling a Little Unprepared
Taking the real SAT is always, always different from taking practice tests that you know don't count. The SAT does count, and you know it. It's the same difference an athlete feels between a practice game and one in the final round of a championship.

The reason it's good to feel a little—just a little—unprepared is that you won't be thrown too badly by the inevitable surprises that occur on the exam. Students who feel completely prepared are too easily thrown for a loop when things in the actual exam room don't go exactly as they'd expected.

Most of what I've said in this article applies equally well to the PSAT, with the big difference that not as much is riding on the PSAT as on the SAT.

Should You Cancel Your SAT Score?
Sometimes it happens: you're suffering from an awful cold the day of the test, or you panic, or whatever. If you know you bombed, it might be a good idea to cancel your result because every SAT score goes down on your permanent record. The cancellation will be noted in your permanent record, but that's much better than having a bad score recorded.

Now, sometimes you only think you did poorly. Emotions can run high during a big test and it may be difficult to tell how you did. Just because you realize after the test that you missed a question or two doesn't mean you did poorly (in fact, it often means exactly the opposite). And remember that one of the sections is the unscored experimental one, so if you think you did poorly on the math, say, because of one particular section, there's a good chance it was the experimental one.

Anyway, if you decide to cancel your test, you can do so either at the test site (not recommended) or by notifying the testing authorities (ETS) by the Wednesday following the test. If you think you might want to cancel your scores, ask the test supervisor for a Request to Cancel Test Scores Form but do not fill the form out at the test site. If you're not absolutely sure whether you did poorly, you should probably wait and discuss the test with your friends—you may discover that you did better than you feared—or someone else who can be objective about your options.

You can cancel your score by writing a letter with all the pertinent identification information. You don't have to explain why you want to cancel your score. Label the heading: "Attention: SAT Score Cancellation." Send it to ETS in one of the following three ways:

  • Via fax (the easiest method): 1-609-771-7681
  • Via U.S. Postal Service Express Mail (U.S. only): SAT Score Cancellation, P.O. Box 6228, Princeton, NJ 08541-6228
  • Via other overnight mail service (U.S. or international): SAT Score Cancellation, 225 Phillips Boulevard, Ewing, NJ 08618
Remember: if you cancel your scores, nobody, not even you, will ever know how you did.


From The RocketReview Revolution: The Ultimate Guide to the New SAT and the PSAT by Adam Robinson. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here.


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