Updated: Jul 21, 2020
If you or your child took the ACT in February, you should have your results. How did you do? The Washington Post reports the 2019 average composite score was 20.7. The Kansas average reported by ACT.org was slightly higher at 21.2. With the average being rounded to 21, that means you will likely need a composite score higher than 21 to get into the school of your choice. Colleges and universities use student ACT scores to indicate the academic abilities of their students.
Visiting Harvard’s website revealed a message that there was no specific minimum ACT score for admission, but students were typically in the 33-35 composite range. Locally, according to hawkhelp.ku.org, you can get into Kansas University with a 21 on your ACT and a 3.25+ GPA. If you score a 24 on the ACT, the GPA requirement drops to 3.0+. Do you have the scores you need to get into the college of your choice?
If your scores were less than you wanted, there is still hope. You can retake the test.
ACT.org reports the following:
Research shows that of students from the 2015 graduating class who took the ACT more than once:
57% increased their composite score on the retest
21% had no change in their composite score on the retest
22% decreased their composite score on the retest
That’s right. Nearly 60% of students who retook the test increased their composite score.
The next question you should ask is, “How did students improve their scores?” There are some students whose scores will improve with a retake just because they will be more comfortable with the test. That is a risky gamble. ACT asks before you retest, “Have you taken more coursework or an intensive review in the areas covered?”
Test anxiety is real, but one way to combat it is to be ready for the test. Use the ACT score report to your advantage. Using the report can help you identify your weaknesses. If you haven’t taken the actual ACT, you can take a sample test and gather some of the same information.
Now that you know what you need to study, what is the next step? Develop a study program to help you hone those missing skills. Some students can do just that, but other students need help learning the missing skills. Collegevine.com states that one-on-one tutors may “be more efficient in terms of time and money.” An individual tutor can work on specific skills with a student, giving the student undivided attention.
It’s important to note that a student can take the ACT multiple times, but each repeated test requires another testing fee. Also, collegevine.com reports, “the majority of students who retake a standardized test such as the ACT increase their scores the most between the first and second test administration.”
So, stop and take a breath. Use the results from the test report or sample test. Take time to study and review. Use a tutor, if possible, to work on the skills you need to improve. Then, retake the test with confidence.
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