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Changes to the ACT: What You Need to Know

Students have always grappled with the choice between the SAT or the ACT. Hale Education Group has been encouraging students to take the ACT because of its consistency in structure and scoring over the years. While these factors of the test have remained constant, the content does change from time to time to reflect the knowledge required for university-level courses. With this in mind, there have been some slight changes to the ACT Math and Science sections. These are not significant changes, and they are nothing to panic about. Simply take note of the new content as you prepare for the September 2016 and future ACT exams.


  1. More advanced concepts appear on the test. These concepts include matrices, weighted probabilities, vectors, etc. However, these questions and topics make up on average fewer than 5 of the 60 questions. For students who score 32 and higher, you will want to be familiar with these concepts if you want to improve your score. For students scoring below 32, you will not be affected.
  2. The ACT Math section places questions in order of difficulty. As a result of introducing more advanced topics, the range of difficulty has expanded. This means that questions previously considered a 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5) in level of difficulty are now considered a 2 in level of difficulty. Consequently, these “harder” questions appear earlier in the test. (For example, a question that was previously #40 may now appear as #30).


  1. Number of Questions: The ACT has changed from seven passages to six passages. This means that each passage accounts for a greater number of questions.
  2.  Content: Conceptual content will be featured more prevalently, unlike previous tests that focused more on data analysis. Most of this content will test students’ abilities to understand scientific experiments, and the way they’re designed and executed.
  3. General Science Knowledge: While students will need to come to the test with general scientific knowledge, most of it will be tested through data-analysis questions. Students should be able to eliminate several answer choices, given that they analyze the data correctly and use their common sense.

Again, please do not worry about these changes. Simply be aware and adjust your studying accordingly. Your Hale counselors are available to discuss these changes with you at your next appointment!

Source: ArborBridge, USA

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