What is it?
The ACT college readiness assessment is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that tests students' academic readiness for college. The ACT is most commonly known as a college entrance exam, however it has developed into a broad array of programs and services that go beyond college entrance testing. Currently, ACT is developing a next generation assessment system designed to provide students, parents, and educators with the information they need to measure and improve student performance from the elementary grades. This system, called ACT Aspire, will help students stay on target to reach their full potential throughout their school years. ACT Aspire will replace the ACT Explore (given in 8th or 9th grade) and ACT PLAN (given in 10th grade). The ACT test is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States and the questions given relate directly to what students have learned in their high school courses.
Who needs to take it?
Every student who wants to go to college needs to take a college entrance exam. Even if a student thinks he/she is not going to college, it is still a good idea to take the ACT just in case. Each year in March, the state of Utah is usually able to pay for every junior in high school to take the ACT for free. However, it is highly encouraged that high school students take this exam at least twice. For each time you take it, the cost is $38 without the writing portion which is optional. With the writing section, it is $54.50. The writing section is only recommended for students who excel in their writing skills and want to showcase that skill.
When is it taken?
The ACT could be taken as early as sophomore year, but I would only recommend that for students who have had exposure to honors and advanced placement classes. These students have been exposed to more curriculum and will be more familiar with the items on the ACT. Junior year is when a student should hit the ACT hard and take it multiple times. There is a test given in September, October, December, February, April, and June of each year with the typical March test given just to juniors offered by the state. Students could still take the ACT early in their senior year, but college application deadlines will also be coming up and students need to be mindful of those dates.
*For more information on the ACT test and other programs and services they offer, visit ACT's website.