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  • Writer's pictureAli Mansouri

What Are The New Changes to the ACT®? How Much Do They Matter?

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

The ACT® announced three major changes earlier this month, giving students more choices when taking this exam.


What Are The Changes?


1. The ACT® will offer students the ability to retake specific sections of the test (English, Math, Reading, Science, or Writing) without having to retake the full test. These retakes will be offered on the same days as the full ACT®. Note that this option is only available after the student has already taken one full test.


2. The ACT® will give students the option to report a ‘Superscore’ to whatever university or scholarship program they are applying to. This means that, if they have taken the exam multiple times, they can report the best subject scores from each attempt.


3. The ACT® will allow students the option to choose between a traditional paper test, or an online test on a computer (but still at an approved testing center). The students that take their test online will get their results faster


When Will These Changes Be Implemented?


These new options will be offered starting with the September 2020 test. Students that are currently juniors could take a full ACT® earlier, and then based on their results, attempt to retake any sections they had difficulty with in September.


The fees for how much retaking individual sections would cost have not been announced yet. However the ACT® has said that the cost will be lower than the standard version of the test (currently $52 without writing, $68 with writing).


What Is The Point Of These Changes?


These changes will make it easier for students to retake the test multiple times without worrying they will bring down their score in areas they performed strongly in. This means they can put all their focus on their weaker sections.


Not All Schools May Accept Superscores


While there has been a lot of coverage of these changes, not all parents realize that even after the ACT® offers these changes, schools may still choose not to accept Superscores or individual section retakes. In the next few months, we will pay close attention to whether major schools will change their Superscore policies. As of today, the UC system has not stated whether they will change their policy (they previously did not accept Superscores).


How Much Do These Changes Matter In Which Test My Child Should Take?


At the end of the day, none of these changes will have an impact on the content of the test itself. The same differences that existed between the SAT® and ACT® exams will continue to exist (for more details, refer to our article about the differences between these tests).


As previously mentioned, it remains to be seen if all universities will accept individual section retests. Even if they do, it is not unlikely that the SAT® will offer similar options in the future. At the end of the day, students should still try taking a few practice tests from both exams and seeing which one they are more comfortable with.


Finally, the option to take the test on a computer should be very helpful for most students. Many students are more comfortable, and more importantly quicker, on computer tests than on traditional paper tests. However if a student intends to take the computer test, they should make sure they also study for the test using a computer.


If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, or for information about our next free practice test session, feel free to reach out to us via phone or email, and we’d be happy to respond. We will continue to monitor the situation and let you know if new information comes out.


Call or text us at (949) 232-7866


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