Trust me: it’s way more common than you think to finish taking your first ACT, walk out of the building, and start to worry. But don’t let the worry make you feel like this:
A lot of test-takers feel like they bombed the ACT, even when they didn’t. And when you’re in that emotional state, it’s tempting to think, “Ah, well. I’ll just write this one off and cancel my scores, starting with a blank slate next time.”
So should you cancel your scores?
I hope I made myself clear enough. No matter how down you feel about your performance, DO NOT CANCEL YOUR SCORES. I’m not even going to tell you how to do it in this article; that’s how strongly I feel.
Why Shouldn’t I Cancel My ACT Scores?
If you cancel your scores, you’re basically doing two things.
There is no better way to burn time and money than canceling ACT scores. Even if you took the ACT without any preparation, you still invested at least $40 and your hard effort over four hours. Don’t let all that go to waste!
Other than the wasted money and effort, there are many other reasons to roll the dice with your ACT scores (in this sense, at least!). Let’s go through a few of them.
First, even if you “bombed” the ACT, you’ll still receive a clear-cut set of results that explains your strengths and weaknesses. Even bad results are an invaluable tool for getting great scores next time. After all, the best generals learn the most from their worst defeats. With a similar mindset, you can plan your strategy for the next time you and the ACT do battle.
Many students also worry about colleges seeing their low ACT scores. I totally get it—you want to make sure there’s not a single moment when your application doesn’t shine. But here’s the thing: most colleges only care about the highest ACT score you earn. And that’s true even if you do a little worse on the second try.
Other colleges superscore ACT results, meaning that if your highest sub-scores in English, Math, Reading, and Science were on different test dates, the college will only consider your highest scores. It’s like making a version of standardized test version of Frankenstein, but using only the best parts!
So that’s it, ACT warriors. Don’t listen to that little voice that begs you to cancel your scores. See you on test day, and stay away from your ACT account until the scores come out! You may end up surprising yourself, after all…
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About Thomas Broderick
Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.
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