ACT test prep

The History of ACT Test

The History Of ACT Test

What is the ACT test? University of Iowa professor, Everett Franklin Lindquist, launched the ACT test in 1959. The ACT test was originally conceived as a competitor to the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test, later called the Scholastic Assessment Test), which has been offered since 1901.

The ACT testing was created in response to changing patterns in college attendance in the United States and a desire for an exam that more accurately judges the ability of a student to perform well in college or university. The ACT, which is a non-profit organization, is still based in Iowa City.

The ACT was dubbed American College Testing when Lindquist founded the company, but the company changed its moniker several years ago. The company is called ACT – pronouncing the three letters, A. C. T. The ACT has also expanded their company to include career preparation, adult education, as well as other services.

The first ACT test was in the form: English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences, and was administered to 75,460 test-takers. The first ACT test lasted 3 hours, with 45 minutes given to each of the four test sections. The ACT test has scores devoted to each test sections on a scale of 0 to 36 (but today it is 1 to 36) and a composite score of the four sections.

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The Addition of Essay Section

ACT Test

In 1989, ACT replaced the Natural Sciences test to a Science Reasoning section and changed the Social Studies test with a Reading section. Also, ACT added the optional Writing section to the test in 2005. The decision of the College Board to add an essay section on the SAT likely prompted the addition of ACT’s optional Writing section.

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2009 Profile Report of ACT Test

ACT test Prep

According to the Profile Report of ACT in 2009, the non- profit organization administered the ACT test to 45 percent of the 2009 high school graduating class, which is over 1.4 million students. Also, several states, which include Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Colorado, administer the ACT test to high school juniors as part of their mandatory state tests.

All four-year colleges and universities in the United States now accept the students’ ACT scores, making the test an appealing alternative for students who struggle with the SAT test. In 2010, the number of test-takers taking the ACT test surpassed the number of SAT test-takers for the first time.

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Computer-based Version

ACT practice test

In May 2013, ACT made it known that a computer-based version of their test will be made available – kicked off in the spring of 2015 for institutions that administer the ACT test during the school day. The new version of the ACT test will retain the same content as the test’s paper version, which still endures until today.

The computer test version of the ACT, to be administered through the Internet, will optionally include test questions requiring the test-taker to generate his own answers, along with the typical multiple-choice questions.

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Writing Section’s New Format

ACT study guide

In 2015, ACT slightly changed the format of the Writing section. Test-takers are now given 40 minutes to write an essay, and this section is scored out of 36 rather than out of 12. Writing section contains prompts that determine how test-takers interpret huge changes that are happening in the world, kicking off the essay to a broader focal point than previous prompts that emphasized on issues particularly related to high school.

The popularity of the ACT testing increased across the Midwestern states, while SAT still grasps both coasts, which include highly populated states like California and New York. Nonetheless, in the 21st century, the ACT test started to acquire a larger percentage of the testing market, and ACT testing is expanding out of its typical areas of influence.

Possible reasons for this include incidents of SAT’s scoring errors, a growing dissatisfaction with the SAT’s testing method, and a growing number of colleges or universities accepting the ACT test. The ACT has successfully influenced a number of states into requiring their test for all high school seniors.

In February 2017, ACT announced the first summer test date, which will take place in July 2018. The new ACT test date boosts the number of United States national administrations of the ACT testing from six to seven.

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3 Ways The ACT Test Is Used

3 Ways The ACT Test Is Used

Colleges and universities use the ACT test (American College Testing) to get a broad idea of the student’s academic abilities and as a way to compare students in the institution’s applicant pool. Nonetheless, the ACT is a standardized test, which means that the student’s ACT test score can be used to compare him to students in the rest of the country.

It has been said that GPA scores are not standard, but ACT test scores are. Institutions find it hard comparing the student’s GPA to another, but they can simply compare one student’s ACT test performance to another. Colleges and universities use the ACT test because there are substantial differences in curricula, funding, difficulty, and grading among US secondary schools.

In addition to utilizing ACT scores as an easy way to compare students in their applicant pool, colleges and universities also use ACT test scores to determine the aptitude of a student in different academic subjects. An ACT Math Test score of 32 may tell colleges or universities that a student is ready to take on their college program’s higher-level Mathematics, while an ACT test score of 21 might tell institutions that the student may not have the proficiency they need. The ACT test scores of the student let institutions see where he on a broad academic spectrum, and determine if that student would be able to make it at their school.

Although the GPA is an important part of the student’s college application, his ACT test score will be closely evaluated and used in more ways than one. This is why ACT test preps are important to increase your chances of scoring higher on the test.

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Why Take the ACT Test?

  • So why take the ACT test? ACT test score can help you get into a good university. And by impressive, it does not mean a test score of 21.
  • The ACT test scores of the students will follow them around. When they apply for their first entry-level job, their ACT test score is going to be on their resume.
  • It can help balance the student’s low GPA. So, if a student flunked  World History for example, and ruined that 4.0, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the ability to do well in college. High ACT test scores of a student can show knowledge and skills that his GPA can’t.

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  1. ACT Test Score Is Used for Scholarships

ACT test Prep

In most cases, above 30 ACT test score is good for college scholarships. Scoring above 30 point puts a student in the 90th percentile of test-takers, meaning the student has scored better than 90 out of every 100 test-takers. Above 30 points is a great ACT test score, but scholarships can be up for grabs for students scoring in the mid-20s or even lower, which just depends on which scholarships they are applying for. Students may be surprised at how much money they can get for their ACT test scores. Here is a sample of the ACT test score spectrum.

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Scholarships Available for Various ACT Test Scores

ACT Score Scholarship Amount Per Year
32+ University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship $19,458
31+ UM Missoula Presidential Leadership Scholarship $37,492
29+ ExxonMobil/LNESC Scholarship $20,000
27+ OCCACC Scholarship $20,000
24+ Catch a Break! Scholarship Program $40,000
21+ CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program $18,000
20+ The Full Impact Foundation Scholarship Award $2,000
18+ Hungry to Lead Scholarship $5,500
15+ King’s Daughters Health Foundation Health Career Scholarship $2,500
14+ The AIEF [American Indian Education Foundation] Undergraduate Scholarship Program $2,000

Nonetheless, your ACT test score isn’t always just one test score. Some college scholarships will need to see certain subsection scores above particular points. For instance, some engineering scholarships require the student’s ACT Science test scores to be in the top ten percentile but do not care about the scores of the student on the ACT English section. This could differ by institution, field, and scholarship.

Related Topic: ACT Registration and Requirements

  1. ACT Test Scores Can Make a Difference In Your Future Job

Some employers would ask their applicants for their ACT test scores, even if the applicant is years out of college. The ACT test prep and the test itself might be hard for you at age 17, but the rewards can still be beneficial for you at age 27 and beyond.

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  1. The ACT test gives you a sense of accomplishment.

ACT study guide

Taking the ACT test is an accomplishment. You will be able to know your own strengths and weaknesses, and achieving your ideal score would boost your confidence.

Bottom Line

The ACT test score of a student doesn’t just matter for his college admission, the test score can acquire higher class placements, good scholarships, as well as a job post-college. This is why you should study as hard as you can for your ACT test.

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ACT Test Is Used

ACT Test Day

5 Important Things To Bring On The ACT Test Day

ACT test prep is not just about studying for months, but also preparation to ensure everything goes as planned for the test day. Getting stuck on a question is bad, but breaking your pencil in the middle of the test has been just as disastrous. Part of acing the ACT test is knowing and complying with the ACT test day requirements.

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What To Bring With You On The ACT Test Day

1. A printed copy of your admission ticket

ACT Admission Ticket

Log in to your account on the ACT website where you registered and print out your admission ticket. Only the paper copy of this document is allowed on the ACT test day. Images of this ticket on your mobile phone or other electronic devices will not be accepted.

Related Topic: ACT Test Introduction, Registration, Dates & Score

2. A valid photo ID

The full name and photo on your ID should match what’s on your ACT registration. Which valid IDs can you use on the ACT test day?

  • Your current school ID
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your passport

If you don’t have any of these, have a school official or a notary fill out a downloaded copy of an Official ACT Identification Form. If you took part in the ACT Talent Search, you should prepare a copy of your talent search identification letter.

On the ACT test day, you can’t present credit cards, birth certificates, employee IDs, Social Security cards and learner’s permits as ID. Personal recognition doesn’t count either, so don’t be complacent. Even if your test administrator is someone you know, you can’t take the test without approved ID. Your admission ticket and valid photo ID are important requirements on the ACT test day.

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3. At least two pieces of #2 pencils and a good quality eraser

ACT test day tips

Always make sure to have a spare pencil in case the one you’re using breaks. Pens, mechanical pencils, liquid paper, highlighters and other writing accessories are not acceptable, even for the ACT essay test.

Related Topic: ACT Registration and Requirements

4. An approved calculator

Although there are particular limits, the ACT allows 4-function, graphing and scientific calculators for the test. Be aware of the limits and uses of the calculator in the ACT.

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5. A noiseless watch with no audible alarms

ACT test requirements

This comes in handy because you’ll need to keep track of the time when taking the different sections of the test. Don’t forget about the time limit for every section in the ACT. You need to be aware of the time when taking the ACT test. But this is an optional ACT test requirement, specifically if it distracts you or causes you to be anxious. Don’t wear your smartwatch though, because this is not allowed.

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Other Things That You Might Need When Taking The ACT Test

* Additional #2 pencils and a small, handy pencil sharpener. These are essential backups should mishaps take place while you’re taking the test. They will bring you much-needed convenience, especially if you’re taking the ACT Plus Writing test where you will need to write an essay.

* Extra calculator batteries. The last thing you would want to happen while taking ACT Math is to have a dead calculator. That’s why you need to bring extra batteries for this test accessory. In fact, it makes sense to put new batteries in your calculator on the day before the ACT test. See to it that your calculator is operating well a day before taking the test as well.

* Snacks and drinks to replenish you during your breaks. Although eating is not allowed in the testing room, The ACT test schedule includes breaks. Bring nutritious snacks and drinks with you to energize you for the test.

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 ACT Test Day

Tips For Reviewing ACT Test

12 Tips For Reviewing Your ACT Test

A few days before your ACT test, you may feel different emotions about it, depending on how prepared you are. But if your ACT test prep has been effective, then you can feel confident about taking the test. You’ll want to be 100% sure, so what last-minute reviewing can you do? Divide your remaining time wisely for your ACT test prep. Your extra effort is bound to pay off with proper time management and smart preparation.

Learn more review materials here: Free Practice Tests for ACT Science

Last Minute ACT Test Prep

1. When doing a practice test, analyze your wrong answers

ACT Practice test

Don’t focus only on your scores on the ACT practice test that you’ve taken. Be particular about your mistakes as well. This is the part where you’ll have to consider your weaknesses and improve on your problem areas. Target a specific topic in the test and analyze why you find some questions difficult to answer. For every incorrect answer, understand where you got it wrong and figure out the method that you should have applied to arrive at the right answer.

Related Topic: ACT Test Introduction, Registration, Dates & Score

2. Check your pacing and your timing

ACT test timing

Taking ACT practice tests should give you a sense of how you should pace and handle your time during the test. The key here is for you to be not overwhelmed during the ACT test day as well. The experience of a rigid time pressure should not frazzle you. In your test prep, observe how you feel when answering questions in 30 seconds and 1 minute. How do those short periods of time affect you when reading and answering the questions? This is how it would feel in the real ACT test environment.

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What To Do On The Day Of The ACT Test

3. Sleep early in the night before the test

Night before ACT test

Have at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep and wake up an hour before you leave for the test. This way, your senses, especially your brain will feel alert when you arrive at your test center.

Related Topic: ACT Registration and Requirements

4. Eat a healthy breakfast

Healthy breakfast before ACT test

Your breakfast should be protein-filled in the morning before you take the ACT test. The foods that you eat should make you feel energetic, not sluggish. Eggs, chicken, and fish are a great source of protein. If you don’t feel like eating your breakfast, you can try munching a handful of nuts or a bar of granola. If you normally drink coffee, do so. Otherwise, don’t force it because coffee can make you feel anxious and nervous if you’re new to it.

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5. Dress comfortably

Dress comfortably

Dress for ACT success, so to speak, and that means dressing for comfort. Take layers of clothing with you so you won’t be distracted by a too hot or too cold temperature or weather. On the night before the test, pack up everything you need so you won’t forget anything, especially if you’re a bit slow in the morning.

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What To Do During The ACT Test

6. Keep your calm and focus on what you are doing

ACT test day

Answer the questions as they come. Don’t feel disheartened if you can’t figure out the answer for a particular test item. Skip it for the moment and move on to the next question. Relax and keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

7. If you come across a difficult question, skip it

Difficult question on ACT test

If you’ve found yourself on a hump because of a difficult question, skip it and move forward. Go back to that item when you’re done by the end of the section. The time pressure on the ACT can be nerve-wracking. If you’ve spent more than a minute on a particular question in Reading, Math or Science, move on to the next questions. Come back to that problem item in the ACT test later. Especially in the English section, assign only 30 seconds for every question. You wouldn’t want to run out of time and miss the easy points along the way.

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8. Verify your answers

ACT test questions

If you have remaining time after answering all the questions on your test paper, make good use of it. Browse through your answers and check them one by one. Don’t rush through the questions, but instead go over the fixable goofs so you can earn more points. Fill in all the bubbles on your ACT answer sheet. Wrong answers are not penalized in the ACT, so there’s no harm in guessing.

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9. Clear your mind and make good use of your breaks

ACT test sections

Test-takers are given 2 break sessions on the ACT test day. That is, if you’re taking the writing section as well. The first break is allocated between the Math section and the Reading section, and the second break is scheduled between the Science section and the essay section. Calm your nerves, eat your snacks or go to the bathroom during your break periods at the ACT test.

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What To Do After Taking The ACT Test

10. Know that you can revoke your score

ACT test score

Did something go horribly wrong in your ACT test that made you worry about your score? If so, be aware that you are allowed to cancel your score on the ACT test.

Related Topic: ACT Registration and Requirements

11. If you plan to retake the ACT test, consider ordering the test information release

retake ACT test

If you are positive that you’re retaking the ACT test, you can order the Test Information Release. The TIR is a service offered by the ACT that allows you to review your test results in more detail. Come your next ACT test date, your TIR can be a valuable studying tool that’ll give you an idea about your weak points in a real ACT testing environment.

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12. Relax After Taking The ACT Test

Taking ACT test

Relax and decompress after taking the ACT test. Don’t get so frazzled about what may have gone wrong during such undertaking. That particular matter is out of your hands at this point, so focus your time and energy on doing what you can enjoy for the time being.

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Low ACt Score

5 Reasons Why You’re Getting A Low ACT Score And What To Do About It

Getting a high ACT score has some amazing perks. That’s why it makes sense to engage in an effective ACT test prep program. Even if your parents spend hundreds of dollars to have you ready for the ACT test, they know that they are left with thousands more on the table. Passing the ACT test with a score of at least 25 lets you get benefits like $10,000 in cash of scholarships. It depends on what your prospective colleges and universities have to offer based on your ACT score.

The Rewards Of Having High ACT Scores

An ACT score of 29 can have you admitted into Mississippi’s Bellhaven College with $5,000 worth of assistance for your college education. College freshmen who scored 27 or higher on the ACT test are granted with $10,000 funds in scholarship at the Bluffington College in Iowa. A 28 ACT score can make you a recipient of $10,500 per year at the Illinois Wesleyan University. Benefits may vary from college to college, but scoring high on the ACT test definitely pays off.

The best thing about the ACT test is you can retake it if you got a low score. High school students are given up to 12 times to pass and ace the ACT test. There are thousands of online resources that guide you into passing the ACT test with flying colors, but only a few discuss why students sometimes get low scores on the ACT test.

Related Topic: ACT Test Introduction, Registration, Dates & Score

Reasons You Get A Low ACT Score

1. You haven’t started a study plan early enough

ACT Study Plan

You may have started to study too late for the ACT test. It takes months of studying for the materials to truly sink in. This applies to other standardized tests like SAT, GRE, and others. These tests are not only meant to challenge your knowledge but your reasoning ability, too. Cramming before the test simply won’t work for the ACT.

The test items in standardized exams tend to require you to infer, predict and draw conclusions skills that you may not be practicing in your everyday school life. That’s why you need ample time to brush up on these skills because you will encounter them on the ACT test. The key to mastering these skills is through repetition, and you simply can’t achieve mastery of various topics a week prior to the exam.

The resolution to this problem is to put together a study program several months before the big day of the ACT test. Note the days that you have set aside for your ACT test prep and commit to them.

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2. The ACT test prep learning style that you adhere to isn’t effective

Different students learn in different ways, and this applies to your ACT test prep, too. Some learners are comfortable studying alone, while others do well with a group. Taking online quizzes alone may help you learn faster, or it may be easier for you to learn when you’re with your friends quizzing each other. What’s important is that the learning style you implement suits you, otherwise you are bound to do badly on the test.

Before choosing your learning strategy, know if you are an auditory or visual learner and carry on with a study method accordingly.

Related Topic: ACT Registration and Requirements

3. You need to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the ACT test

ACT test

Technically, you have to prepare in different ways for different kinds of exams. The ACT test comes from the usual tests that you take in high school. It’s like saying there are varying methods of taking your vocabulary quiz and your midterm exams.

For the ACT test specifically, you can take practice tests or get yourself enroll in ACT test prep program to become familiar with the test questions and structure.

Related Topic: ACT Practice Tests 2018

4. You may be pressuring yourself, which causes anxiety

Test anxiety can be overwhelming. There’s nothing else that you can think of on the days before the big day. Your jitters might even cause you to develop hives. You’ve sworn to yourself that nothing matters except getting a perfect score on the ACT. You’ve hoped and despaired over that fact, only to come out with an awful and disappointing score. How could you have done things differently?

You can prevent this scenario by taking steps to overcome test anxiety. Take deep breaths, visualize to calm your head and do some stretching to calm your nerves. Relax and believe in yourself that you have prepared enough for the ACT test and even make an affirmation that you can ace the exam.

5. You might have negative thoughts about yourself

Maybe you’ve thought of yourself as a bad test-taker. This tendency is what they call a cognitive distortion, and it can harm you more than you know. The concept of cognitive distortion lies in the premise of what you believe, you will become.

Forget about your past failures in taking exams. Consider the mistakes that might have led to your low score and correct them this time. Maybe you need to study earlier or sleep more. Take time to motivate yourself, aiming to rock at the ACT test that you’ll be taking. Note down the words I am a super test taker on numerous post-its and stick them all over your room, your car, your bathroom mirror and so on. You can even set it as your computer screensaver and password! On the ACT day, you should feel super and believe that you are worthy of the fantastic perks of a high ACT score.

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Low ACT Score