Last month, the ACT announced that it will allow students to retake individual sections of the exam beginning in September 2020. Previously, students retaking the ACT had to sit for all four sections of the exam: English, math, reading, and science. Starting next fall, students who want to improve their ACT scores, will be able a selected portion of the test, for example, the English section, without having to repeat the entire exam.

This is great news for students who would like to focus solely on raising the score in a weak section, without fearing lower results on the other three. It is essential to note that:

  1. In order to be able to retake individual section exams, students must have taken the test in full at least once.
  2. Section retests are available only in the digital format of the ACT.
  3. Students can take up to three section retests per sitting.
  4. Section retest dates are expected to coincide with ACT dates, however, the cost and registration procedures have not been made publicly available yet.

Additionally, the ACT will calculate an official “superscore” – the average of the highest section scores across multiple test dates – and allow students to send these to colleges. As we know, superscoring is extremely beneficial to applicants, but historically it has been practiced more frequently with the SAT than the ACT. Until recently, the makers of the ACT exam insisted that their test was not designed to be superscored, but have now done an about face. The ACT’s support for superscoring should give this practice additional legitimacy, and we are hopeful that an increased number of selective colleges will begin superscoring the exam.

According to inside sources in the standardized testing industry, this option will not be available outside of North America for at least two years, which will come as disappointing news to our international college applicants. Nonetheless, we will remain on the lookout for announcements regarding the international rollout of section retesting, and will be sure to keep you updated.

If you would like to discuss the changes to the ACT or your standardized testing strategy in general, then get in touch!