Students mixed about ACT changes

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Recent changes to the ACT will now allow students to retake specific sections instead of the whole standardized test, leaving many students with mixed emotions.

“It sucks that this happened now,” senior Anisha Raju said. “Why couldn’t they have done it sooner?” 

Beginning in September 2020, students will be given the opportunity to retake sections of the test rather than retaking the entire test as is now required, according to ACT’s website.

“I like it because you can focus on one section at a time,” freshman Tanya Belani said. “It’s easier like this.”

But many students who have already taken the ACT are angry because if the change had been made sooner it would have saved them a world of stress when taking the test that many colleges use when determining admissions.

“This just frustrates me,” senior Pooja Parikh said. “Taking only one section at a time could improve my score by so much.”

In order for students to retake a part of the test, they must first take the entire ACT. When retaking a section, students must go to a testing center where the test can be taken digitally, according to ACT guidelines.

The ACT is a three-hour timed test, not including the optional writing portion, that many students feel pressured to finish on time. There are 60 questions in math, 40 in reading, 40 in science, and 75 in English. In total, there are 215 questions.

Many students complain that they start feeling tired toward the end of the test.  By allowing students to retake single sections without redoing the whole test, the ACT provides a better chance at a higher score for those who struggle with staying focused for the full three hours. 

Although it seems fairly obvious that this can be a big advantage for students, ACT administrators don’t acknowledge this. 

“Our research shows that ACT scores for students who take individual section tests are consistent with those earned when they take the entire test,” Suzana Delanghe, ACT’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview.

Many others are questioning why the ACT decided to make this sudden change. 

Based on Delanghe’s statement aforementioned, it is possible that the ACT administration believes this to be equal to having to retake the entire test. 

But students who will be able to benefit from this change don’t necessarily agree. 

“I think [this] is really good,” freshman Neal Kulkarni said. “I would hate to sit through long tests.” 

Although some seniors are upset by the change, others are quite indifferent about it. 

“Honestly, I don’t mind it too much,” senior Sanjay Harinatha said. “Because people are allowed to retake sections, colleges are going to view their scores differently.”

Harinatha’s opinion provides a different perspective and leads one to wonder: Will colleges now weigh the maximum score of 36 on the ACT lower than before?

The ACT has also set a change in their time limit for students who qualify for the National Extended Time Testing. Previously, students were allowed between three to four hours to complete the test depending on whether or not they chose to write the essay, and they could choose how to split their time between sections. 

Now each section is stopped after a certain time: 70 minutes for English, 90 for math, and 55 apiece for reading, and science.