For most of us that might sound like a good deal, but it really is not. If you’re a follower of this blog or me on twitter (twitter.com/akilbello) you probably know that I took the SAT in October of 2011. Being a self-proclaimed “test prep dude” I of course ordered the QAS service so I could review the questions after the test.
After waiting about 6 weeks for the QAS report and test booklet to come, I was surprised to learn that I had gotten 2 questions wrong in Critical Reading and I was stunned to learn that I had left 1 question blank. Of course this meant that I immediately flipped to the questions I was supposed to have gotten wrong. My report showed that one was a Passage Based Question of difficulty 5 (hardest), so I entertained the possibility that I’d just made a mistake — it’s possible, I’m human. The other question was this one:
The report claimed that I’d selected A. Given that I knew (and still know) the meaning of all the words in the choices, I immediately knew there had to be some mistake. While there is some possibility I would get a question wrong, to select a choice that has no relevance and is not even a good trap seems extremely unlikely. To top it all off, the report also indicated I’d left a Critical Reading question blank in a later section! I was flabbergasted, incredulous, and flummoxed! But rather than go crazy, I decided to check out my options for having my test checked. This led me to the SAT Hand Scoring/Score Verification Service. For the not-so-small fee of $55 you can have the College Board “verify” that they scored your test correctly.
So here is the short version of what happened:
October 1, 2011 – SAT Taken
November 23, 2011 – QAS report received
The QAS report costs an additional $18 on top of the regular SAT testing fee (however, it is included if you receive a fee waiver for the SAT).
December 10, 2011 – Score Verification/Hand Scoring Ordered
The College Board will not accept credit card payments for the Score Verification service. To order rescoring you must download a form, print it out, and mail a check (yes mail, snail mail, a check — yes a paper check).
December 23, 2011 – $55 check cashed by College Board
January 20, 2012 – Mail Received from the College Board
Check out this report and see if you can figure out how I know it’s a revised score. I left this sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks because I didn’t think it was any new information. Even the title(s) of the report is misleading and confusing.
What I finally figured out was this report actually included updated/revised scores.
Woo-hoo — they increased my CR score by 10 points! But after the elation wore off I realized that they were planning on giving me no additional information to help me understand how and why the mistake had been made. I had no way of knowing if they changed 1 answer or 2 or 3. In fact the whole thing felt like a big blow off: “here’s 10 points now go away!”
So of course I got back on the phone and I’m still trying to get them to send me a new QAS report. I’ll keep you updated.
The moral of the story
When you take the SAT or any multiple choice test: BUBBLE CAREFULLY! If you don’t fill your bubbles in correctly and fully you may lose out on points you are entitled to. A typical HS senior won’t have the time and shouldn’t pay the money I did to get this 10 points back from the College Board. Most high school seniors would spend less time and make better use of their money to just retake the test and do better.
Moral Part Deux: DON’T ORDER THE HAND SCORING SERVICE
Unless you like giving College Board more money or like the empty feeling of an unsatisfactory resolution to a problem, don’t bother wasting time and money with the Hand Scoring. If you think you messed up and bubbled incorrectly just sign up and take the test again.
Good luck and good prepping!