What Happens If I Get caught Cheating in the ACT or SAT?

Are you accused of cheating in the ACT/SAT test? Learn about when and why one is accused of cheating in ACT/SAT test, what to do next, and more!

TCM Staff

28th October 2020

Most high school students and professors do know that taking a standardized test is tough and sometimes stressful, especially if it is ACT or the SAT.

It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare well for those tests. But unfortunately, some students seek a shortcut like cheating and plagiarising in the ACT or SAT and often end up finding themselves in trouble.

Though the test officials and proctors have set up many barriers to prevent cheating, there are yet many students who determinedly try to cheat in the tests.

In this article, we’ll be seeing what happens if a student gets caught in the ACT or SAT regardless of whether or not he was guilty, and what can the student do to fix the situation.

What Constitutes Cheating on the ACT or SAT?

In the testing process, being accused of cheating can happen at any point in time, especially if it is a standardized test such as the ACT or SAT as aforementioned.

But before knowing when to try to know for what act the test taker is accused of cheating.

Mostly cheating in the ACT or SAT is identified when the test taker tries to copy answers from the neighbor test taker, the proctor watches all the test takers looking for communication for sign languages via eyebrow and also some type of preplanned sign-code language.

Few other things can get the test taker disqualified, such as if talking during the test, that won’t be a good idea after all.

And if the test taker brings in materials that he isn’t supposed to bring regardless of whether or not using them.

And other malpractice activities such as carrying chits, or if anything is written on your hands, shoes, sleeves, or even sometimes test-takers play a smart game like carrying chits inside the water bottle, once again regardless of whether or not the test-taker have used it.

Accused of Cheating, But I’m innocent! What to do now?

As I mentioned earlier, the test-taker can be accused of cheating at any point in time, mainly there are two situations, which are;

During the conduction of the test - If the proctor claims that he saw you copying the answers from other test-takers, and as a result of being accused of cheating, the proctor does not allow you to complete the test.

And the other situation is if you may also be accused of cheating once after completing the test. Mostly this kind of situation arises when another student reports it to the proctor or test official, and sometimes it may also be due to suspicious activity detected by the proctor.

One thing you should keep in mind is, in the case of both the situation, respective of you being found guilty or not, the colleges you’ve elected to which you want to send your score for the admission sake, now don’t panic the colleges won’t be notified that you have been accused of cheating in the test.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll not have consequences, your scores will have been canceled and you may also be flagged in certain cases if they find your score suspiciously higher than your previous score ( If you had taken any test earlier). So you will have to retake the test to prove that your score was genuine which is free at charge.

Can you rectify it?

Now you might be aware of when and why you will be accused of cheating, But what to do once you are accused of cheating. We’ll have a look at the ways to rectify the situation.

If you are facing a situation where you have been accused of cheating and when the proctor doesn’t allow you to finish the exam, then your primary step should be to contact the test administering agency as soon as possible and file a complaint informing the situation so and so (If it’s SAT contact the College Board, and if it is ACT then contact American College Testing).

And you may have to gather as many testimonies as possible from the test-takers who were in the same testing room as you did for the support that you didn’t cheat in the test.

In case if you’ve successfully convinced the testing agency that you didn’t cheat, however even you couldn’t write that test, your test fee will be refunded.

On the other hand, if you are informed after the test, that you have been accused of cheating, as aforementioned, then it is up to you to gather enough evidence in the meantime for an appeal to prove the testing agency that you didn’t cheat.

This step may include testimony from the test-takers in your testing room, documents showing that you had a good academic performance, and a neat history of the background of yourself.

Sometimes to convince the testing agency and to win the appeal, you will have to take a retest free of charge, once successfully winning the appeal, you’ll not be flagged anymore

What if my appeal was rejected/I was cheating

To make things clear, once again I repeat, even if your scores were canceled for cheating or got accused of cheating, don’t worry that’s not the end of your endeavor for college.  As mentioned above your score will simply be canceled, the colleges will not know the precise reason behind it.

So, if you are thinking “What next?” then here are the suggestions for you. Besides what happened in your previous test, you can take the test again, and you will be permitted if you are not flagged yet.

One good news to soothe the heart of yours is that both the College Board or the American College Testing do not discourse lifetime bans for the students who were caught or have been accused of cheating in such standardized tests.

To know more visit; How many times can you take the SAT?


And here comes the most important fact that you should keep in mind - if somehow and by any chance, you did cheat in the test and luckily got away with it without getting caught, the thought may cross your mind that you are past the worst part, but when you submit the scores, that’s when the situation gets complicated.

Colleges take things like academic dishonesty into serious consideration. When found by the college management, which ultimately they will get to know, you’ll face serious consequences.

The consequences may be that your admission in that college may be revoked, as a result of you being dishonest, showing a lack of integrity, and also for not reflecting their real academic ability.

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