What is the ACT?

By Rob Hicks, School Counselor at Fernandina Beach High School and blogger at http://guidey.blogspot.com/

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So, here is everything you ever wanted to know about the ACT test. The ACT, originally stood for American College Testing and was first administered in 1959., in 2014 1.84 million high school graduates took the test.

It is divided into 4 sub-sections; English, Reading, Mathematics, Science Reasoning, plus an optional Writing test. Each sub-section is graded on a scale of 1-36. The sub-scores are averaged together to produce a number, which ACT calls a Composite score. English, Mathematics, and Reading are further divided into subscores which are graded on a scale of 1-18. The optional Writing test is graded from 2-12, and a combined score from English and Writing graded 1-36 is also computed. The Writing score does not impact the Composite score. Each question that is answered correctly receives 1 raw point and there are no penalties for incorrect answers or guesses.

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In addition to the ACT, the testing service offers the EXPLORE test which is available to 8th and 9th graders and the PLAN test which is available to 10th graders. These tests allow students the opportunity to become familiar with the ACT. They can also be used as a tool for placement and consideration of high school courses and provide early insight into how competitive a student will be for college admission. PLAN and EXPLORE are not available in all areas. Typically, the are offered to all students in a given grade within a given school or district. You generally can’t just “sign up” to take these tests the way you can with the ACT.

So, here is everything you ever wanted to know about the ACT test. The ACT, originally stood for American College Testing and was first administered in 1959., in 2014 1.84 million high school graduates took the test.

 

It is divided into 4 sub-sections; English, Reading, Mathematics, Science Reasoning, plus an optional Writing test. Each sub-section is graded on a scale of 1-36. The sub-scores are averaged together to produce a number, which ACT calls a Composite score. English, Mathematics, and Reading are further divided into subscores which are graded on a scale of 1-18. The optional Writing test is graded from 2-12, and a combined score from English and Writing graded 1-36 is also computed. The Writing score does not impact the Composite score. Each question that is answered correctly receives 1 raw point and there are no penalties for incorrect answers or guesses.

In addition to the ACT, the testing service offers the EXPLORE test which is available to 8th and 9th graders and the PLAN test which is available to 10th graders. These tests allow students the opportunity to become familiar with the ACT. They can also be used as a tool for placement and consideration of high school courses and provide early insight into how competitive a student will be for college admission. PLAN and EXPLORE are not available in all areas. Typically, the are offered to all students in a given grade within a given school or district. You generally can’t just “sign up” to take these tests the way you can with the ACT.


Rob Hicks has worked in public schools for 16 years. He is a school counselor at Fernandina Beach High School and is the adjunct school counselor at The Ogburn School. He maintains the "Getting My Guide On" blog about all things school counselors at guidey.blogspot.com and writes about local history.

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