Students who are getting ready to take the ACT face extraordinary challenges. Not only have they had many of their social activities cut or reduced thanks to the pandemic, but they’re also finding themselves feeling underprepared for their futures.
Earlier in the academic year, ACT had announced that there would be significant changes to the 2021 examinations to accommodate students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the first day of winter examinations in February, ACT announced that it would rescind all of the changes it had initially proposed for the 2021 examination season. One of these changes for the winter examinations was the use of online tests instead of pencil-and-paper examinations.
The ACT rescind of 2020 means that many students prepared for situations they wouldn’t see on the examination. Students may have planned back in September to take the exam at home and are now finding they must report to a testing center for this examination. Not only do these changing policies leave families and educators confused, but they can also leave your student feeling lost and confused when preparing for this critical examination.
What Is The ACT?
The ACT is the American College Testing exam. Many colleges and universities use it to assess student readiness for university work. Most students take this exam twice — once in the winter of their junior year of high school and their senior year’s fall semester.
These test results can help students gain admission to highly competitive colleges and help secure scholarship money for students to reduce the cost of university attendance.
What Does “Normal Testing” Look Like?
The typical ACT is relatively straightforward. All students are tested with multiple-choice examinations in mathematics, reading, English, and science and are given the option to take a writing test.
Scores range from 1-36, with the national test average hovering around 20.6. The more competitive the college, the higher score asked of students; for example, the average ACT score of a student admitted to Harvard is 34.
These examinations usually take place either at an off-site testing center or at your student’s school. There are strict guidelines of what’s allowed in the testing room, including limitations on cell phones and backpacks brought into the test site.
What Was Going To Change in 2020?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was to be an option for students to take the winter 2021 exam at home. When the ACT announced this change in September, there was little information about what the take-home examination would look like.
However, many thought that there would be some opportunity for online and remote examinations for 2021. This would allow students who were uncomfortable with in-person testing and needed the option to take the test virtually from home.
The ACT notes that some of the changes planned to take effect in winter 2021 will begin to affect future semesters. While remote testing may not be an option right now, it will likely be offered to students in future testing seasons.
Also, the ACT plans on offering ways for students to retake only specific portions of their ACT to improve scores. For example, suppose a student scores exceptionally well in English but poorly in math. In that case, there may be opportunities for students to retake only the math portion of the exam in the future without possibly affecting their high English marks.
What Will My Student’s Testing Process Look Like?
Because of COVID-19, your student’s examination will look slightly different than in years past. Students must wear masks that comply with CDC guidelines, and the ACT ensures that all testing sites are clean and sanitary for students taking the test.
Also, there is a process for students to report if they’ve contracted COVID-19 within 14 days after taking the examination so proper contact tracing can occur. Students who discover they’ve contracted the virus before their ACT can reschedule their test at no cost and with no penalty, making it as easy as possible for students to both be safe and take the exam. Even if a student feels unwell on the exam day, students can reschedule after the exam with no penalty and no charge.
How Should My Student Prepare?
Despite the shifting policies around how your student will be tested, one guarantee is that your student should absolutely be taking the ACT. While the confusion over the details of the actual examination can cause you and your student stress, we at Mighty B Learning can help make the actual exam a piece of cake.
We offer individualized tutoring services designed to prepare your student for whatever examinations they’re about to face. Let us take some uneasiness out of this testing season and ensure your student is hitting every ACT readiness benchmark.
Contact us today to see how we can prepare your student with the tutoring and confidence they need approaching their upcoming ACT.
My name is Bethany, and I am professional tutor backed by over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience. I have worked for some of the top names in the tutoring industry, and now I am ready to pass my experience on to you.