A student of mine called me in a panic over the summer. “I’ve been accused of cheating on the ACT! What can I do?” Wait a second, I thought to myself. This is not a student who would cheat.
I’ve heard of cheaters who fake their identification so that someone else can take the test for them. Or students who peek over the shoulder of another student during the test. And even the rumors that international students somehow gain access to the test version before the test. None of these scenarios seemed to apply to my student. Here was a student with a 19 on her ACT before she and I started to work together. Over the course of five sessions in a little under two months, we worked on her timing and her strategic approach to the test. She made marked improvement and she set a goal to score in the mid-20s. Her results came back and we were both extremely pleased: she scored a 29! A 10-point increase in two months surprised both of us. But based on our work together, we knew she would improve. I’ve come to find out that a major increase in such a short time frame triggers a flag within the ACT Inc’s scoring system. These kind of things usually don’t happen so the ACT reacts and accuses the student of cheating. The good news is that this story has a happy ending. I prepared a letter for my student so she could petition the accusation. We presented evidence of our work and how her increase was due to hard work, not cheating. The college that ultimately offered her admission did not put any stock into the accusation and she was admitted without any issue. Have you been accused of cheating on the ACT? Know anyone that has? In my 15+ years of test prep, this has never happened to me so I want to learn more. Feel free to post your comments here if you have any input. If you want to improve your score, and potentially be accused of cheating, contact CROSSWALK. We specialize in test prep for SAT, ACT, SSAT, PSAT and more.