Aha! So you clicked this thinking you’re going to learn how to cheat on the ACT. Well– I don’t actually advocate cheating, and even if I did think it were okay to cheat the consequences are just not worth it– BUT what I will do in this video is share with you how people have cheated on the test in the past — and hopefully you can learn how NOT to cheat on the ACT. Here are 3 ACT cheating incidences from the last 6 years.


1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It, Literally

This first scandal took place in 2011 in Long Island’s Gold Coast, where at least 35 students were suspected of cheating on both the SAT and the ACT between 2008 and 2011. Investigation centered on Great Neck North and 4 other schools in the area. They found that students paid anywhere between $500 and $3600 for others to take their tests. Students registered at different schools to take the exam, so it was more challenging to recognize students who didn’t match their ID. In particular, the investigation focused on a student from Great Neck North who generated fake ID cards and impersonated 6 students, one of whom was a girl. Students who paid others to take the test and students who accepted payment for impersonation were investigated. Charges included felonies for scheming to defraud and misdemeanors such as criminal impersonation and falsifying business records.

Widespread cheating is no new concept and this scandal proved no different. However, they did chalk it up to inadequate security measures. Following this incident, standby registration to take the test on the day of is no longer permitted. From then on, test registration requires uploading a photo which appears on both the printed admission ticket and the test center roster. This is also why it’s imperative that you bring an ID to confirm your identity on test day. When you register for the test, you’re also going to have to identify your high school so that the school can receive your scores and detect suspicious scores that don’t match your academic record. Students are also asked to identify their gender and birth date to avoid impersonation on the actual test day. On the day of the test, you’ll also be asked to certify your identity in writing and recognize that there may be prosecution for impersonation.

This is one way to “fake it ‘til you make it,” but I wouldn’t recommend it!

A similar scandal is featured in our How to Cheat on the SAT video, and you can check out our blog post on that as well!

2. Steal the Test (Or a Security Breach)

In June 2016, an ACT test leak in Hong Kong and South Korea affected 56 test centers and resulted in the first countrywide cancellation for a standardized test. More than 5,000 students were scheduled to take the exam, but were prevented from doing so until September when the next test was being administered. As a result, a court in South Korea declared that students and officials who are caught selling stolen exams may be fined up to 6 million won, an equivalent of 4700 euros or $5400.


3. Study the Exam at a Prep Center with All the Answers

Our last cheating scandal is a little more involved and requires enrollment into a program that seems to have all the answers. Last year, an investigation into the Global Assessment Certificate Program revealed that 3 different GAC centers staffed officials and proctors who either ignored or were complicit to student cheating on the ACT. Interestingly, GAC is operated by an ACT foreign subsidiary based in Hong Kong.  GAC is spread out over 11 countries in 197 centers, three quarters of which are localized in mainland China.  The program is attractive – boasting high-scoring students and promising successful applications into colleges in the U.S. Program enrollment totals about 5,000 students, with each student paying up to $10,000 a year or more.  Its curriculum is designed for non-native English speakers and offers courses in reading, writing, and other skills necessary for college.  However, interviews with GAC attendees who now attend U.S. universities reveal a different story. One student shared that a week before the scheduled exam, a GAC administrator in China allowed him to practice on half of the questions that later appeared on the actual test. Another student said that his center provided two articles that later appeared on the test he took.

Such statements revealed that GAC operators had access to exam materials days, or even weeks, before tests were administered. This resulted in the cancellation of suspicious ACT scores of GAC students and implementation of a more stringent test protocol. Tests are now shipped in lock boxes to some overseas test centers to prevent tampering before scheduled testing. Set for Fall 2017, a computerized version of the ACT will also be released specifically for overseas test-takers.

With subsequent stricter measures in place, these cheating scandals show that if you’re smart enough to hurdle new testing protocol, you’re likely smart enough to take the ACT without cheating and do well!


If you want more tips on how to legally score higher on the test, here’s a link to more of our ACT videos, blog posts, and test prep materials that may help.

I hope you found these stories entertaining and that they warned you against cheating on the ACT. Your best bet is still to study for the test because let’s face it – with all the risks you’d take to cheat, you’d probably end up with a better score if you don’t anyway.