The Digital ACT: Everything You Need to Know
ACT Inc. has recently announced that the ACT, a widely-accepted college admissions test, will soon be available as a digital test. This marks a significant step forward in the evolution of the ACT, making it more accessible and flexible for students.
Even before the pandemic, the ACT was facing a number of challenges. In 2019, there were some 900 colleges and universities that had become test optional, dropping the requirement to submit ACT or SAT scores, but still allowing students to submit their scores if they wanted to. When the pandemic closed schools in March 2020, most ACT administrations were cancelled and more than a thousand new colleges changed their policies to test optional. Since the early days of the pandemic, it has been nothing but bad news for the ACT with the University of California system going permanently “test blind” and Harvard announcing test optional policies until 2026.
The Digital ACT: When Will It Be Available?
The digital ACT pilot will be launched for 5,000 students during the December 2023 ACT National test event at select test centers. Starting from the Fall 2023-Summer 2024 registration period, students will have the option to choose between “Computer” and “Paper” as their testing format when registering to take the ACT.
The Digital ACT: What’s Changing?
While the ACT is maintaining its core components and format in both the paper and online versions, the introduction of the digital ACT brings about a few key changes. Students will now have a choice between testing formats: paper and pencil or online testing. An online option also provides additional accessibility features, including support for screen reader users, text-to-speech functionality, zoom, and answer masking.
Additionally, the digital ACT has the potential to align students’ testing experiences more closely with their test prep experiences, as many test prep options offer online components.
The Digital ACT: How Will It Work?
Students who choose the “Computer” option during registration will find test centers that are offering the online ACT test. These centers will provide the devices for testing; students will not be able to bring or use their personal devices to take the ACT.
The digital ACT is not available as a “remote” exam and must be taken on a test center-managed device at your chosen test center.
Will the Digital ACT Cost More Than the Paper ACT?
No, the cost for both the digital ACT and paper ACT will be the same.
Can I Switch from Online to Paper Once I Have Registered, or Vice Versa?
Yes, you can change your test format until the late registration deadline, but there will be a fee for making this change. It’s important to note that you will not be able to change your desired test format at the test center on the test day
Q. When can I take the digital ACT?
- A. The digital ACT tests will be available to take on as part of a pilot program at select test centers in December 2023. Starting from the Fall 2023-Summer 2024 registration period, students will have the option to choose between “Computer” and “Paper” as their testing format when registering to take the ACT
Q. Can I take the digital ACT at home?
- A. No, the digital ACT will be administered at designated test centers only.
Q. How long is the digital ACT?
- A. The length of the computer and paper ACT will be the same.
Q. Will the ACT score reports change?
- A. The score reports of the computer and paper ACT will be the same.
Q. Will the questions be the same format on the new exam?
- A. The questions on the digital ACT will still be designed to test the same skills.
Q. Will I be able to go back and forth on questions on the digital ACT?
- A. Yes, you will be able to go back and forth on sets of questions in the same section. But once you have completed work in a section, you can not go back to those questions.
Q. Can I use a calculator?
- A. Yes. On the new digital exam, you can use a calculator for all math questions.
Q. How do I practice for this new test?
- A. Official digital ACT practice is available at MyACT.org, where students will be able to review sample questions and take a full-length practice test in the online format.
Q. Will the new ACTs be scored the same way?
- A. The digital ACT will still be scored on a 36-point scale.
Q. Can I still take a paper ACT if I prefer?
- A. Yes, at this time you can select the paper version of the ACT when you register for the exam.