The ACT’s recently announced changes, effective September 2020, are all good news for students. Here are a few thoughts on the changes coming your way.

Retake single sections of the test.

Single Section Retesting will allow students to retake just one or two or three sections, rather than the entire four-section, nearly four-hour test.  Students will be able to focus on just the sections they wish to retake—no need to retake the English Section if you already have, and are satisfied with, a 35 in English.

Higher sub-scores should be one result of more focused preparation and testing. However, students with a 30 in the Math section and lower scores in the other three sections may choose to only focus on those lower scores, when with sound preparation a 33 may be feasible in Math. Jumping an already-high Math score three points will have the same impact on the overall composite as jumping a 22 to a 25 in English.

ACT will calculate superscores.

Superscoring will ensure that all colleges will consider the composite score derived from the best subscores, whether occurring on the same test or not. Although many colleges are already superscoring their applicants’ ACT results, now all will, which should increase average composite scores.

Understand that composite scores necessary for lucrative scholarships may also increase. Let’s hope that high schools and states will align with the ACT and colleges and use only each student’s superscore when publishing ACT results for high schools and entire states. 

Choose between online and paper testing.

Being able to choose between online testing and traditional paper testing on national test dates should allow students to receive scores about ten days sooner, which can help with application strategies and future testing plans. Though I prefer doing math and science sections on paper, many ‘screenagers’ are comfortable doing the test online. Now each will get to choose.

With single section retesting, superscoring, and online testing all likely to nudge average composite scores higher, we urge all high school students to Hammer the Grammar and prepare hard each time they take the ACT.

To discuss OnToCollege’s inspiring, effective, and entertaining test preparation, contact OTC at 402-475-7737 or

John Baylor

OTC Founder