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ACT (examination)

From Academic Kids

Formerly the American College Testing Program, or American College Test and now officially the ACT (pronounced A-C-T), the ACT is a college-entrance examination that emerged in 1959 as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test (now SAT). Many students who perform poorly on the SAT find they perform much better on the ACT due to differences in the way the questions are presented on the two tests.

The ACT is more widely used in the midwest and southeast United States, while the SAT is more popular in the northeast and west coasts. Usage of the ACT by colleges has risen as a result of various criticisms of the effectiveness and fairness of the SAT. Students that are more comfortable with reading/writing than math also prefer the ACT because of the extra weight given to those sections. Also, unlike the SAT, there is no guessing penalty on the ACT.

In some states, the ACT is taken by all high school students as a standard to measure schools and the students; in others it is an optional test for college acceptance.

The ACT was developed by the University of Iowa and is an outgrowth of the Iowa Tests of Education Development. ACT Incorporated, a not-for-profit organization based in Iowa City, Iowa now administers the test, as well as several other assessment tests in other fields.

The ACT is divided into four sections: Writing, Reading, Math, and Science Reasoning. Based on performance in all sections, scores are tallied up and then reported on a scale of 1 to 36, 36 being the highest possible score. The average score is around 20 to 21.

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