Nine Things Students Need to Know About Taking the ACT Post-COVID-19

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

In a typical year, college-bound high school students often take the ACT in spring of junior year and spend the summer studying to retake the exam a second time if they want to improve their scores. But 2020 was not a typical year, and everything has changed, including high school students’ test prep plans.

Luckily, ACT has started to resume some semblance of normal as states are beginning to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The ACT has made a few changes that some parents may have heard about, but the biggest difference to expect going forward is how the exam will be administered.

Here are nine things that parents and teens need to know about the ACT:

  1. All students will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and required to sit six feet apart. Test site administrators will be screened and required to wear masks and test sites will be held to CDC safety standards. Masks will be encouraged for test-takers.
  2. Testing will only take place at certain test sites. Only sites deemed safe and in accordance with CDC and local government “essential business” guidelines will be allowed to offer the ACT.
  3. If your student is registered for the July 18 ACT, he/she should have received an update about testing site closures. Test center availability and locations might change, but as of now, July 18 is still on. Your student should have information about whether the test center is open or closed. If your student cannot test in July, 3 test dates are available in September (12,13 &19) and registration for either date will be open on 7/27/2020.
  4. If your student’s exam date was cancelled, you have to re-register. ACT did not automatically re-register students, so your student should follow instructions that were emailed out, if he or she hasn’t already.
  5. At-home testing is coming soon. No dates have been decided, but ACT will make this available in late fall or early winter.
  6. The option to take one section of the ACT at a time will no longer roll out in September 2020. You might recall that earlier this year, ACT announced that students would be able to retake one or more section(s) of the ACT to improve their scores. With the focus on increasing testing capacity for students who need to take the full ACT test, this rollout is tentatively scheduled for later in 2021, but ACT will continue to monitor the test-center capacity situation and respond accordingly.
  7. Superscoring and online testing options will be available in September 2020. Two other changes slated for fall 2020 are still a go, however:
    • Superscoring, the ability for students to send their best ACT test results to colleges combined as one “superscore,” which shows the highest possible composite score across multiple tests and section retests.
    • Online testing with faster score results, the ability for students to choose between online or paper testing on national test days at ACT test centers (selected test centers initially, eventually expanding to all). The test is currently administered only on paper on national test dates. Students will receive scores as early as two business days after their exams.
  8. Remote proctoring is coming. ACT plans to roll out a remote proctoring solution on a limited basis in late fall/early winter. More information will be released at a later date.
  9. There are added national test dates for the rest of 2020. As of now, the ACT will be administered July 18, September 12 & 13, 19, October 10, 17, 24 & 25, and December 12.

 If your teen is taking the ACT this summer or later this year, call Huntington. We’ll help your teen prepare to earn his or her best score and get into the college of his or her choice. Contact us at 1-800 CAN LEARN to learn more about our individualized, flexible ACT prep programs, taught online and in our reopened centers.