As of September 2015, the ACT has changed. Many of the changes to the test don't impact how students test or the types of questions they'll need to answer, but rather how their scores are reported and the kind of information they'll be able to gather from their results. Don't be caught off guard. Learn more about what's changed before you take the test.
Overall, the changes to the ACT don't impact the difficulty of the test, how each question is scored or how students should approach the test. Instead of viewing the new scores as something to worry about, students should see them as tools for gaining more insight into their performance in each area and how they can harness their strengths in college and in their future career.
If you're worried about how you'll score on the test or the types of questions you'll see, try taking a FREE ACT practice test. Our practice test will give you an idea of how you may score on the real thing without the stress of sitting for the official exam.
While the number of questions and concepts on the ACT hasn’t changed, there are four new subscore categories in addition to the existing scores from each test and the composite score. ACT believes that these new subscores give students better insight into their strengths and how those strengths can be harnessed for success in college and their future career. It’s important to note that the composite is still the most valuable score on the exam.
In addition to the 1–36 score in each of the existing tests and composite score, students will now see score breakdowns in the following categories.
- A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) score based on a student's overall performance on the Math and Science Reasoning sections. The goal of this new score is to help students better understand their strengths in the fields of math and science and find out how they might be able to use those strengths to guide their college and career goals.
- An English language score based on a student's scores in the English, Reading and Writing sections of the test. This will allow students to see and compare their performance to others who have taken the test.
- A Progress toward Career Readiness Indicator. The purpose of this score is to help students view their progress towards career readiness and give an indication of their future performance on the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate ™ (ACT NCRC ® ).
- A Text Complexity Progress Indicator that will help students understand if they are making progress towards preparedness for the complex texts they are likely to encounter both in college and in their future careers. This score will be based on a student's performance on all of the writing passages.
In 2015, the ACT Writing Test changed to a format that asks students to come up with their own analysis and evaluate multiple perspectives of complex issues. Their analysis needs be based on reasoning, experience and knowledge. The timing of the Writing Test has increased from 30 minutes to 40 minutes, but remains optional and doesn’t have any impact on the composite score. Students receive a breakdown of their scores in the areas of ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use.
On the new Writing Test, students are given a single prompt which provides context, as well as three perspectives on the issue raised in the prompt. The student is then asked to analyze the perspectives, develop his or her own opinion, and explain how that opinion relates to the perspectives given. Students can view a sample of the new Writing Test prior to taking the ACT.
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