Game changing news for college-bound ACT test-takers!

The ACT is implementing sweeping changes next year that will give college-bound students more test-taking flexibility and the opportunity to present an official ACT “Superscore.”

The best news for students is that starting in September 2020 they will have the option to retake just one, two, or three sections of the ACT, as long as they have previously completed a full test. For example, if a student needs to bring up just their Science section score, instead of sitting through two and a half hours of English, Math, and Reading, they can simply take the 35-minute Science section and be done!

The ACT has also announced that students will be given the option to take the ACT online at test centers on national test dates. Students who opt for online testing will receive their scores as soon as two business days after the test date (versus the usual two weeks for paper testing). Paper testing will continue to be an option.

Here are the details:

Section Retesting

Starting next fall, students will have the opportunity to retake one or more sections of the ACT. Section retesting will be available to those students who have already taken a full ACT. It will provide students with the chance to improve individual section scores without having to sit for the entire exam. Section retesting will be offered through online testing at approved ACT test centers on national test dates.


In order to accommodate those who take the test multiple times or retest in individual sections, the ACT will now provide students with the option of sending their best section results with an ACT-calculated Superscore. This ACT Superscore is the average of the four best section scores across multiple test dates and is intended to showcase each student’s highest possible ACT composite score.

Online Testing

Students will also be offered the choice between testing online or on paper beginning next fall. Online testing will be offered on national test dates at test centers with approved computers. However, while students taking the full ACT will have a choice between online and paper testing, section retesting will only be offered online. Students testing online will receive their multiple-choice scores and composite score as early as two days after the test date as opposed to two weeks after a paper exam. The ACT hopes that this earlier score release will reduce anxiety and help students take the exam as many times as possible while still meeting college application deadlines.

Carnegie Prep’s take on the ACT Changes

We don’t yet know how colleges plan to respond to this news, or whether it will prompt the College Board to take a similar path with the SAT. There’s currently no available research regarding the efficacy of section retesting. Additionally, colleges have not yet announced if they will accept the ACT Superscore or how it will factor into their admissions process. This means that it’s still unknown what effects these changes will have on students. Moreover, it’s uncertain how many testing centers will offer online testing once these changes are implemented next September.

Despite all this, the ACT changes have the potential to make students’ lives easier by providing a myriad of new choices and greater flexibility. As a result, students may have the opportunity to customize their testing journeys like never before.

Watch the official ACT video below.