A Shorter Second Chance

New changes announced for the ACT

A Shorter Second Chance

Gabriela Ruiz, Staff Writer

In October, it was announced that a change in the ACT exam will allow students to retake individual sections if they want to improve their score. This is good news for Blue Valley underclassmen who will be able to take advantage of this new policy starting in September 2020.

The ACT, which is broken up into four sections of English, math, reading and science, takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete. With the addition of the optional essay portion, the test totals at three and a half hours. 

Under the new changes, test takers who have already completed one full-length exam will be able to significantly reduce the time they spend retesting by selecting specific portions to attempt again. 

Students who take the altered exam will receive an official superscore, which combines their best scores from each portion from all the times they’ve taken it. Colleges, however, will not be required to accept the superscore and may instead ask for applicants to provide their highest composite score.

Next September is also the first time students around the country will be given the option to take the ACT either on paper or online. In an attempt to appeal to what ACT officials call the “digital-native generation,” test venues will provide environments for those who wish to take the exam on a computer. Students who do so will receive scores in as little as two days, as opposed to the two to eight weeks it takes for standard exam scores to be released.

The aim of the amendments is to save students and their families time and money. However, many professionals in the education community fear the new exam structure will favor wealthy students. 

Concerns with testing fees are not new, but the opportunity to keep retaking individual portions, each time with an additional fee, threatens to give wealthy students an even greater advantage over those who can only afford to take the test once. 


Subject Area Total Questions Time (in minutes)
English 75 45
Math 60 60
Reading 40 35
Science 40 35