College Admissions Trailblazing: ACT on This!

Emily Vero, Editor

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Within the college admissions process, the SAT and ACT tests are two of the largest hurdles a student must overcome. As cumulative exams, teens often feel immense pressure to perform at their highest potential in every single section on the exam within the short span of a few hours. In fact, it is often not the material of the exam that is the most difficult, but the volume of the material in a constricted time period. Due to the collective nature of these exams, if a student performs poorly in a particular section, they must retake the entire exam. However, these constant retakes will become a practice of the past with the new ACT Section Retesting Policy.

In early October, news broke of the change in procedure within the American College Test (ACT). Consisting of four sections in total, the ACT examines students’ skills in English, Math, Reading, and Science, with the Writing section being optional. Beginning in September 2020, any student who has taken a full ACT in the past will be given the opportunity to retake one or more single sections instead of having to retake the entire exam.

Of Course! Just my luck!”

— Adriana Romano

“Section retests are identical in the content covered, timing, and number of questions for each ACT section tests.” ACT.org reads. “Section retesting will be offered seven times a year, on the same dates as the national ACT test.”

Students who are retesting are permitted to take three sections on a single test date. Although this news of section resting is quite sudden and surprising for many, research indicates that such a change has been needed for some time and will largely alter the college admissions standardized testing process. According to ACT.org, “Section retesting showcases students’ skills and accomplishments gained over a lifetime and not only their test-taking abilities on one particular day.”

Through section retesting, students are given the opportunity to increase their superscore, or the highest average of all of the ACT tests they have taken. Many universities accept superscores as a student’s final test score and can assist with admissions, scholarships, and placement testing upon arriving at the university. Although this change in procedure will be beneficial to the graduating classes of 2021 and later, it seems like a punch in the face to those who were forced to retake the entire test earlier.

“Of course,” says Adriana Romano, a Mohawk High School Senior, sarcastically. “Just my luck!”

Even though this alteration of the standardized testing system has been a long time coming, hopefully it will benefit future students and their success in higher education. As one of the two leading college admissions exams in the United States, the ACT has immense cultural, social, and educational significance within the life of the American teenager. With luck and perseverance, this change will transform the college admissions process from a negative, stressful experience to a positive experience full of growth and maturation.