8 Common ACT Questions Answered
Have you taken the ACT yet? Maybe you have a few questions about how to get your best score, or what to do with your score once you’ve gotten it.
The importance of standardized test scores have fluctuated dramatically in recent years. Many colleges and universities went test-optional for admissions and scholarships, some still required test scores for scholarships but not admissions and vice versa. A big question for high school students was: Should I even take the ACT?
We recommend that you still take the ACT or SAT your junior year. Your first choice university may be test-optional, but what happens if something falls through with your first choice and your back up school requires scores and then it’s too late?
Also, ACT and SAT scores always help when it comes to applying for academic scholarships! We are here to answer a few common ACT questions about how to get your best score, or what to do with your score once you’ve gotten it.
1. ) When is the right time to take the ACT for the first time (freshman, sophomore, or junior year)?
Most students take the ACT for the first time during their junior year. Students should give themselves enough time to take the test more than once before college application due dates. If you don’t get the score you want the first time, you need to have enough time to take the test again before applications are due.
2.) Is it better to have my scores sent directly to my chosen schools, or should I wait to see the results and then send them myself?
When registering for the ACT you may select four schools to receive your scores, free of charge. Unless it is a highly selective school, it is easier and cheaper to send your score before results are posted. The college you are applying to (if they require test scores) will always take your highest score when determining acceptance or scholarship eligibility! Plus, after taking the test, it costs $16 per school to send your results.
3.) I’ve taken the ACT a couple of times now and I’m still not happy with my score. I’d like to retake it at least one more time. Do colleges view multiple attempts negatively?
A general rule of thumb is to limit retakes of the ACT to no more than 5. ACT allows score choice, meaning students control what score they send and where they send it. Students list the schools they would like to receive the scores at each sitting of the ACT.
4.) Is it common practice for schools to accept superscoring?
Recently, superscoring has become more and more common. Most universities have begun accepting superscores for both admissions and scholarships, allowing students to really put their best foot forward!
The ACT even looked into section-retesting which allows students to retake just a section or two of the ACT to avoid having to retake the entire comprehensive test. The roll out of the section retesting option has been postponed for now, but ACT is now providing an automatically calculated ACT Superscore to all students who have taken the ACT more than once from September 2016 to current day.
5.) What is superscoring?
Superscoring is when a college or university takes your best score from each individual section of the ACT (Reading, English, Math and Science) and averages them together to create a new composite score. This option allows you to present your best from each test! Every school has a different admissions policy regarding superscoring. Students need to do their research ahead of time to know which schools superscore for admissions and scholarships.
6.) I’m trying to increase my overall score—should I focus on my best subject or my weakest?
Both! Never neglect one part of the test. Continuing to strengthen stronger subjects can help to boost scores and “carry” the weaker subjects, but weaker subjects are areas that should be strengthened so that they don’t hold your score back. Don’t overlook any part of the test when prepping.
7.) What is a reasonable amount of time I should plan to spend prepping for the ACT?
It’s never too soon to start! As students improve their test scores, which will help to get them into college, they are also building the academic skills that help them stay in college and be successful. DON’T wait until the last minute. The ACT is like no test you have ever taken before, and it is not a test you can “cram” for.
8.) I have a learning disability. Is it possible to get special accommodations? If so, how?
ACT offers many accommodations (see the FAQ section on the ACT website for details). Be aware, though, that accommodations are not guaranteed and may take a while to attain, so plan for plenty of time in your timeline to investigate and begin the process.