ACT Changes Create Opportunity and Anxiety

The ACT is one of two standardized exams that students are required to submit with their college applications. Although the trend amongst colleges is moving in the direction of making the exam test optional, the requirement is still rock solid for the majority of colleges in the United States at this time.

Beginning with the September ACT test, 2020 - students will be able to retake one or more single-subject sections of the exam without taking the entire test. The test will also be given electronically, as well as by hand, allowing the multiple-choice test results to be returned and forwarded to universities within days instead of weeks as is currently the process.

So, you may be thinking - that's great - your teen with have the opportunity to bump up their math, English, reading, or science scores. And while that is true, there is no guarantee what colleges will do with this new information. Currently, very few colleges super-score the ACT - meaning combining the highest subject section scores from multiple ACT tests, resulting in the highest composite score. So, if the student retakes a certain section, it may be for not depending on the testing policies of the colleges to which they apply. This is where the anxiety will surface. With cram-packed schedules already, students will have to determine if they want to spend the time (and your money) to retake a section or two. I think it is unlikely that colleges will announce their new testing policies about super-scoring the individual sections before their application deadlines this year.

The ACT organization that administers the exam will include a feature that will allow the student to send the ACT "super score" to their colleges; however, many colleges may not want the super-score results, preferring the results of each exam taken.

Each student is responsible for researching the testing policies of each college to which they apply. More things to keep track of....