Students and faculty react to ACT’s updates effective September 2020


Caroline Judd

ACT introduced a new policy with a variety of options effective September 2020.

In the height of college application season, seniors in particular are scrambling to compile their highest test scores to send to their dream schools. Not yet at this stage, juniors and even underclassmen are going from study groups to workbooks to tutors to prepare for the often dreaded ACT. Effective September 2020, ACT is switching things up in order to “provide new options designed to offer students more choices, faster results.” 

The new update includes single section retesting, a choice between online and traditional testing, faster results with online testing and the ability to directly submit ACT super scores to colleges and universities. While many students are thrilled by these additions, current seniors are irritated that they are missing these options by just a year.

“I’m honestly pretty frustrated because I would say that the English and reading sections are easier for me than math and science because I’m a little bit challenged in math and science, so it was harder for me to just focus on math or just focus on science when I had to be focusing on all four,” senior Reagin Ward said. “If I could take math a different day or even at a different time, I would have more time to prepare and to focus so I could come with a fresh mind, especially since science is at the end. By then, I’m already burnt out.”

Like Ward, other test-takers understand the struggle of staying confident and alert from start to finish. Junior Anna Butler is grateful that she will be able to take advantage of these additions.

“I’m really happy about it because I’m a bad test taker, so when I get to the science portion of the test, it’s usually my lowest portion–not because I’m bad at science, but because my brain cannot do it anymore,” Butler said. “I’m really happy that I’m only a junior, and I have plenty of time to take subject tests.”

Though these updates may excite students because they are likely to help students raise their test scores, others are wary of how an increase in test scores will affect the college acceptance process.

“I think it’s going to present an opportunity for students to feel more confident, to test better, to improve their scores, but then you have to look at the fact that that’s across the board,” counselor and ACT site coordinator Jen Wibbenmeyer said. “So what ends up happening to colleges? If everyone has taken the subtests over and over again to get their best composite score, everyone is doing that, so it will make it very competitive at the college level. Everyone’s scores are going to improve, so how do you really make a distinction?”