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Changes to the ACT

**This information is current as of 9/13/16**

The changes to the SAT have been well documented, but did you know the ACT has been evolving over the past few years? The ACT opts for gradual, subtle change over time rather than the profound, rapid changes the College Board prefers. The video below goes into more detail about these changes, but here’s a quick summary:

ENGLISH: Few changes, though some have claimed that Rhetorical Skills questions seem more “subjective.” I doubt this.

MATH: Increased difficulty, especially in the hard questions (#51-60) – more likely to cover topics (like vectors, matrix multiplication, and expected value) that you may not have seen in your math class. Slight shift in the content to include more statistics, probability, and data representation.

READING: New “dual passage” requires you to read two “half” passages and compare/contrast them. First passage now can be either “literary narrative” (i.e. memoirs) in addition to “prose fiction.”

SCIENCE: You’re likely to see six passages & 40 questions instead of 7 passages and 40 questions. Overall increased difficulty. Some argue that questions require more outside knowledge; ACT Science questions have occasionally required outside knowledge in the past, so I don’t think the change will be that significant.

ESSAY: New prompt as of Fall 2015 that requires you to read three perspectives on an issue and analyze/synthesize them with your own perspective on the issue.

Robert Schombs

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!

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