Changes are coming to the ACT! Starting spring of 2021,* high school students sitting for the ACT can retake individual test sections as opposed to the entire test. For example, a student who scored high on the math and science sections but low on the reading and writing sections will be permitted to retake just the reading and writing sections. Not only will this save time when retaking the test, it also decreases the retake registration fee if only sitting for a select number of sections

Another major change will be the option to take the test online. Students who take the test online can receive scores in just two business days as opposed to the minimum two-week score turnaround for paper and pen testing. This change is expected to begin fall of 2020 at select national testing centers. Additionally, the ACT will  superscore, or average the highest scores from each section, even if they were taken on different test dates, to calculate the composite score. While some colleges manually superscore ACT scores, this change will enable students to submit their superscores to the college electronically. This change is also expected to begin fall of 2020.

Test content and formatting will remain the same. The chart below indicates content included and pacing on the ACT.

Total Time 2 hrs 55 min, or 3 hrs 25 min
Subjects Tested English (Writing)
Essay (Optional)
Scores Optional (last section)
Scoring +1 for correct answer
0 for incorrect answer
No penalty for guessing incorrectly
Reading Questions & Pace 35 min for 40 questions
52.5 sec/question
Math Questions & Pace 60 mins for 60 questions
60 sec/question
Writing Questions & Pace 45 mins for 75 questions
36 sec/question
1 essay in 30 mins
Science Questions & Pace 35 mins for 40 questions
52.5 sec/question
Reading Content Passage Based Reading (100%)
Math Content Basic Math-Precalculus/Trig
More advanced math topics covered (compared to SAT)
Essay Content & Pace Choose a Stance and compare to other perspectives.
(40 mins)

*Original start date was September 2020, but this change was recently postponed to increase capacity for full testing.