From Quora: My Answer to "What would happen if you had an absolute emergency like stomach issues or you had to throw up during the middle of a timed important test like the PSATs/SATs? What would you do?"
Click for original Quora answer here.
First, I’d ask to be excused to use the restroom, if I had time. If not, I’d run for the restroom or the nearest wastebasket, if I didn’t have time to get to the restroom. Then, I’d explain to the proctors what happened, if I didn’t already do so before handing the emergency.
If it were some other emergency, I’d explain the best I could, then do whatever I had to do. If I could continue with the test I would. If they didn’t permit me to continue, I’d ask them to provide me with whatever documentation they could provide, adding my side of the story to whatever report they asked me to provide. If I had a medical problem, I’d make sure I got a doctor’s note and whatever documentation of that medical problem I would.
I’d also, as soon as possible, contact the College Board by telephone and/or email (FAX if need be), explain the situation to ask for guidance and provide the medical/other documentation as soon as possible.
Here’s a link from the SAT for temporary medical accommodations (e.g., I became violently ill during the first hour of the SAT and could not continue or was asked to leave).
Temporary Medical Conditions
If you’re acting on good faith (i.e. you’re not pretending to be sick because you realize you didn’t study enough for the SAT or whatever test), the College Board or whatever testing agency will probably help you as much as they can. Note that I added “probably” since these companies aren’t always “nice” about such things. Even if they want to help you, they may not be able to do so. Foe example, you have gotten sick during the last possible test date before your college application deadline, and they’ve already established they don’t let anyone take special re-takes of the test. They may very well refuse let you or anyone else retake it would be unfair.
From what I’ve been told be test prep people from BAR/BRI (A huge nationwide bar exam preparation/study company), at least one person has had a heart attack or other medical problem while taking a state’s bar exam. At least according to the story, not only was the person who’d had a heart attack not able to finish (of course not), but another test-taker who literally saved this person’s life by performing CPR wasn’t given any extra time to take the exam.
Assuming this actually happened, was that fair? Of course not. But the state bar/whoever runs the bar exam in that state already decided they were going to be fair to everyone by being “unfair” to some people. The idea is efficiency in administering the bar exam (or any other exam that does that) - if no one gets special consideration, then no one can say someone received unfair special consideration Imagine a justice of a state supreme court who has to review complaints to the state attorney licensing authority having to hear “Oh, I get it, this kid get extra time because he was SICK! I’m sure it had NOTHING to do with his family being a really influential financial and political family…” He/she/[nonbinary pronoun] might decide, along with the other justices, “No, we’re not getting into this - This applicant will have to reapply, despite the unfortunate circumstances.”
But I digress. It looks like the PSAT or SAT would probably be more (literally) accommodating than most the state bar or state supreme court of whatever state’s bar exam a person might take. Additionally, if you did something like literally save someone’s life, that would be one heck of a story to tell in your college admissions essays. “I took a year off before college, because the exam proctors wouldn’t let me finish the exam after I saved another test-taker’s life, and the test company wouldn’t let me take another test before the deadline.” Sounds like a winner to me (assuming everything else in your application is really good).
But none of us can know what will happen in any given case - the SAT. ACT, and most other standardized tests are given by private companies that have a quite a bit of discretion in deciding what they will and will not do to help you in this kind of situation. So be smart. Don’t take the PSAT/SAT for the first time on the the last possible date. Treat it like anything else that matters to you. Plan ahead, and assume anything that can do wrong will go wrong.
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Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.