Within the last month, the American College Test (ACT) company implemented a major change in their test system. Starting in September 2020, students will be able to retake single sections of the ACT to improve their overall scores.
“I plan to take the ACT this month and take the math section again in February since math isn’t my strongest subject,” junior Samhita Nagubandi said.
Many students are using this new opportunity to improve their overall scores by retaking individual sections, instead of sitting through the entire test again.
“I originally wanted to take the SAT, but now I have switched to the ACT because I am more science-oriented,” sophomore Sarah Yazbeck said. “The new policy allows us to retake certain sections [of the test] which could help me score a lot.”
Not only does the new policy benefits students, but the company itself will also gain more money from repeat test-takers. The ACT costs $52 in the 2019-2020 academic year. With the new policy, more students will be able to retake sections they did poorly on to get better overall scores, ultimately increasing the company’s overall profits.
The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) was first created in 1899. At first, it was the only college admission test that existed. This continued even when the ACT was first founded in 1959, as at the time it wasn’t well-known. However, as the ACT has become accepted equally by colleges for admission tests, both tests have gained exposure among high school students.
Students with higher math level classes are more likely to take the College Board’s School SAT because they have a better chance to score higher in math since math is 50 percent of the SAT. On the other hand, students who are better at science are more likely to take the ACT since the SAT doesn’t provide a science section.
“I decided to take the ACT because I like the science section on the ACT and I don’t like all the math on the SAT,” junior Dillon Christensen said.
With the implementation of the new approach to the ACT, it appears that more students, like Christensen and Yazbeck, will take the ACT.
“Four people I know switched to the ACT after their new policy was announced,” Nagubandi said.
Some students, however, still prefer the SAT over the ACT.
“In my opinion, the SAT format is much better, there’s more time for each section and math is a lot easier and straightforward,” senior Ashely Sun said. “For the SAT, it includes mostly algebra and functions that ask a straightforward question. On the ACT, more questions are asking for probability.”
On the surface, it seems that the ACT’s new change is undoubtedly beneficial for the students. However, with more students getting higher scores from the retake, some people believe that a high ACT score compared with a high SAT may have less value to colleges.
“I think in a few years, ACT scores are going to be inflated and a perfect score on the ACT is not going to be given the same value as a perfect score on the SAT because people can retake sections to get a perfect score,” Nagubandi said.