Five Consequences That Make Cheating On Your SAT Not Worth It

SAT test taking is a nerve wracking rite of passage endured by many high school juniors and seniors. With access to great schools on the line, there is a lot riding on the test scores. Interestingly, SAT anxiety plagues high performing students and under achieving students at nearly the same rate. These groups experience SAT pressure for different reasons but the angst is palpable for both. There is an ongoing debate about whether SAT exams should be abolished or not. Since there is no reason to believe this will happen in the foreseeable future, students should make efforts to achieve their personal best while trying to maintain a healthy perspective. Studies have shown that students who take PSAT preparation courses also do better on their SAT exam, so preparation is essential!

Sadly, a portion of the SAT exam taking population fails to heed warnings about cheating. There are over two million SAT test takers annually. Of that number, about 4,000 scores are cancelled due to suspicion of cheating. The ETS (Educational Testing Service) produces the exams and is tasked with ensuring the tests are administered with safeguards in place to prevent cheating. If the ETS discovers cheating, the score is cancelled, and the student is issued a refund. The student can retake the test again. What incentive is there for a would-be cheater to play by the rules if getting caught results only in a slap-on-the-wrist? There are consequences that make the risk so not worth it.

1. SAT exams are a huge personal landmark with scores likely to be remembered for decades, if not a lifetime. Just as winning a competition dishonestly or plagiarizing to enhance written work can be a personal albatross, living with the knowledge that you cheated your way into college can be an awful burden.

2. While the ETS has the discretion to refund the exam fee and allow the student to retake the test, it also has the full authority to notify third parties. In most cases, the scores are simply invalidated, and the colleges are provided with a generic notice of score cancellation. In the competitive environment of college admissions, who wants the appearance of impropriety when vying for acceptance?

3. The recent high profile SAT scandals in New York, Los Angeles, and Connecticut have forced the ETS to review the methods used to detect exam fraud. There are a number of “remedies” being discussed, but, needless to say, more sophisticated methods of detection will soon be employed. Cheaters, who assume they can game the system because of current weaknesses, will likely become exposed when new measures are put into place.

4. Depending on the type of deception used, the cheater might face jail time. When charged with a felony for scheming to defraud and misdemeanors for criminal impersonation or falsifying business records, the accused has created more headaches than the worry of acceptance into a quality school.

5. Being branded a cheater is a difficult load to carry. No one wants a diminished standing in the eyes of peers and family. The disappointment of friends and family is very real.

Though, students may never relish taking SAT exams, they will feel better prepared with the right tools. Barron Free Diagnostic Tests will empower students and will put their personal best SAT scores within reach. This is a giant step towards acceptance into the dream school and the opportunities that await.

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