Although the ACT has been around since 1959, its popularity on the East Coast has only recently increased. In 2015, nearly 30% of Virginia high school graduates took the ACT. While the SAT is still more popular than the ACT in Virginia, since 2012 the ACT has led the SAT in popularity nationwide. Since all colleges and universities accept either test for college admission, the ACT is a popular alternative for many students who prefer a different style of test.
Many families wonder how two tests that are both intended to gauge student readiness for college success can be so different. It’s important to understand the “what” of the test – the academic content tested – is nearly identical, but the “how” of the test – how sections are organized and how questions are asked – is quite different. With the SAT’s overhaul in March 2016, it’s more important than ever to distinguish between the two tests to find the one that’s best for each unique student.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36. Students receive a subscore from 1-36 for each of the four test sections – English, Math, Reading, and Science. Subscores are averaged to give students their composite score. In addition, the ACT offers an optional essay which is scored separately on a 1-36 point scale.
For more information about the ACT’s scoring, timing, and test sections, please read our pages below: