Tutoring News Post

How to Fix The College Board's SAT Leakage Problem

The leaked 2021 December US & December International SATs

Dear College Board Inc., a so-called nonprofit corporation and author of the SAT,

It's an open secret by now that your prized SAT exams are leaking, leaking, leaking all over the internet.  November, December, August...the distinction between QAS and SAS no longer seems to matter much, as near-perfect PDF copies of virtually every SAT test form from virtually every testing month and location seem to quickly appear across the web, sometimes days or even weeks before the test date.  If you know where to look, then these unreleased SAS exams are not hard to find, in addition to the publicly-released QAS exams that you can find here and elsewhere.  In fact, there are dozens of these SAS exams now widely available.

Yes, you can continue to shoot the messenger by leveraging the DMCA against any (mostly American) hosts of said SAS exams — but that doesn't mean that these "Student Answer Service" (aka non-released) exams are not still floating around on the private computers of millions worldwide, and on the various international websites and sub-forums that are constantly popping up for the sole and explicit purpose of hosting unauthorized SAT material.  Though you have done well protecting your SAS copyrights on popular sub-forums such as Reddit's r/SAT, there are other high-traffic websites and forums that have hosted SAS exams for years with zero censorship from the College Board, so we all know that your efforts have been selective and only partially successful, especially internationally.

Yet even complaint sites such as r/SAT can end up being the source of an SAS exam leak, which is exactly what happened the evening prior to the December 2021 International "Soy Sauce" SAT. 

If the College Board truly cares about this SAS leakage problem, then please allow me to suggest some solutions:

1) Write a new test every time (problem solved!), or

2) Switch to a computer test (aka "digital testing") in a controlled testing center, as the ACT has done internationally, which has essentially solved the problem of exam leakage for ACT Incorporated (the College Board does re-use some test forms in the US, but is especially known for doing so internationally).  

If preventing leaks is so hard, then why has the ACT done so well?  In contrast to the SAT's persistent leaks, the only real ACT tests you will find on the web are TIR, released exams.

3) Release full, perfect PDF copies of every exam form that has ever been leaked, with official answer keys.  This might sound crazy to the suits at the College Board, but it would help back up the Board's claim of test-prep "transparency" that was made so enthusiastically in 2015 with the debut of the new PSAT and SAT, when the first 10 exams were released digitally for free.  What has happened since then? 

Plus, we all know that these exams in question have been widely leaked already, so it's not as if you were going to re-use them again....right?  Imagine what a treasure trove of official materials this would create, but most importantly, it would also level the playing field, so that everyone has easy access to these exams — not just students with computer skills (or the right connections) who are willing to break the test-taker agreement.

Let's be honest, College Board — you are too cheap for #1.  Thus, lets hope for #2 (likely) or #3 (highly doubtful). 

Otherwise, you can't honestly act surprised when thousands of students have advance copies of the international SAT, and you end up with a huge cheating scandal / score delay on your hands.  Nor can you blame the average student for using unreleased SAT exams during their private preparation process, knowing that that their competition has easy access to the exact same materials.

While we're at it, why did you stop releasing the scoring curves?  Are they that embarrassing?



p.s. There are some rumors that the College Board occasionally leaks its own SAS tests with slightly incorrect answer keys, especially on Reading, to catch cheaters.  This is actually a brilliant idea, and I cannot necessarily disprove this contention, as I have certainly seen "answer keys" to these SAS exams that include clearly incorrect answers. 


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