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Easy SAT has students crying over 'shocking' low scores

"I thought I prepped enough, but when I got the score, it was just shocking," a student from New Jersey said.
Image: SAT College Exams
Suzane Nazir uses a Princeton Review SAT Preparation book to study for the test on March 6, 2014, in Pembroke Pines, Florida.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

High school students across the country are demanding that the College Board rescore the June SAT exam after they got lower scores than they expected, even if they got more questions right than the first time they took the test.

"I was really shocked and sad," Ashley Kim, 17, a rising senior from Fort Lee, New Jersey, told NBC News. She said she spent over 50 hours preparing for the test to bring her score up from the 1400s to at least 1500 to try for Yale or Harvard.

Despite getting five more questions right on the math portion than when she took the test in March, her math score fell from 770 to 750, and her overall score dropped from 1470 to 1440.

"I thought I prepped enough, but when I got the score, it was just shocking," Kim said.

Other students also saw their scores drop, or not change at all, despite getting fewer questions wrong. They're venting on social media and circulating an online petition with more than 5,000 signatures calling for the College Board, which administers the SAT, to rescore the test.

The problem wasn't that the SAT was too hard. It was too easy.

A College Board spokesperson told NBC News that because the June version of the test was easier than others, more points were taken off for wrong answers in order to make the scores comparable with previous SATs, a process called "equating."

"Equating makes sure that a score for a test taken on one date is equivalent to a score from another date," the company said in a statement posted on Twitter. "So, for example, a single incorrect answer on one administration could equal two or three incorrect answers on a more difficult version."

"The equating process ensures fairness for all students," the statement continued.

The College Board has done this equating for decades and it is standard industry practice, though it's not described in the test-taking booklet.

The company confirmed on Friday that it will not be rescoring the June test, saying the results would be the same and that it only rescores when correct answers have erroneously been marked as being incorrect.

Salma Hassan, 16, from Staten Island, New York, said she spent over $2,000 to prepare for the test to help her get into her dream school, New York University.

"The whole week before, I was so nervous about getting my score, I couldn’t sleep the night before," Hassan said.

She'd hoped to bring her score up by studying on the Official SAT Practice program on the free online learning site Khan Academy, which the College Board touts as being linked to a 115-point average increase in score results for students who use it.

Instead, her score of 1300 was the same as when she took the SAT in April and down from the 1320 she posted in March.

"I started crying," Hassan said. "We understand that the SATs want to keep it consistent, but this is unfair."