The ACT – An "Alternate College Admissions Test"

bubblesheetpicThe ACT is another standardized testing option for college-bound students.  All colleges will accept ACT score in lieu of SAT scores. Once again – all colleges will accept ACT scores in lieu of SAT scores!

The ACT is an Iowa-based exam with as much history as the Princeton-based SAT.  Those of us on the East Coast have not heard of the ACT simply because of business practices: Princeton “owns” and markets to the East Coast, while ACT “owns” and markets to the Midwest.  Both tests are offered in all 50 states, and all students may opt to take either exam.

The ACT is a fundamentally different exam than the SAT. It all but eliminates the reasoning component, and asks much more literal, aptitude based questions.  The test is divided into four sections – English, Math, Reading, and Science – with an “optional” writing section.  Although offered as optional, all students MUST register for the ACT with writing.  Some schools will not accept non-writing test scores.  Do not take that risk!

Scores on each ACT section are calculated on a scale of 36 points.  Section scores are then averaged to compute a composite score, also on a 36-point scale.  The writing is scored separately, out of 12 points.

The SAT and ACT require different types of thinking (critical reasoning versus analytical processing).  Therefore, some students may be naturally suited for one test over the other.  It is crucial that ALL students take a diagnostic exam and compare base-line scores before beginning test preparation. See our “surviving the chaos”  blog for more information.

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