It seems like every few months either College Board or ACT is coming out with a revision to one of their exams--or entirely new ones. So it comes as little surprise that earlier this year, ACT announced that it would begin administering a PreACT test to 10th graders. Similar to the PSAT, the PreACT is meant to give students a preview of the ACT test in a shortened format. However, the similarities stop there, making one wonder: what exactly is the point of the PreACT? Here are three things to keep in mind.
1. The PreACT is mainly meant as preparation for the actual ACT.
The main goal of the PreACT is to get students ready for taking the real ACT. This means that the problems should be similar, including sections such as English, mathematics, reading, and science. However, the PreACT has a shorter format than the regular ACT, and it does not include a writing section.
Tenth graders, the ACT hopes, will get good practice with the taking this official pre-test and will have some idea of what to expect when they take the real one. If you are someone that needs the discipline of a test-day format to give you a true picture of how you will score on the ACT, then the PreACT can be quite useful.
2. The PreACT does NOT factor into National Merit Scholarships, but it could possibly help with others.
Unlike the PSAT, PreACT in its current state does not have a direct connection to National Merit Scholarships or any other major scholarship. Perhaps in the future ACT will strike a deal with National Merit Scholars, but for now, all students can hope for is that the PreACT score will be sent to lesser known scholarship programs, but it is not even clear which ones those would be.
At this point, it seems like ACT hopes for this scholarship incentive to grow in the future, and maybe their database of scholarships connected to PreACT scores will be robust one day. The company, however, seems more set on the scores being useful for general academic counseling and gauging college readiness.
3. The PreACT will be administered in districts that purchase testing.
School districts can opt to take the test any time between September 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. The PreACT comes at a price -- $12 a student, which is significantly less than the real ACT test -- but is that cost really worth it? At this point, it wouldn’t hurt to take the test if it is administered at your school, but since there is no clear link to any major scholarships or prestigious awards, the test isn’t something students, at this point, need to seek out. Now it just seems like a more official version of a practice test you could take on your own.
As more information comes out about the PreACT, we will keep you updated. For now, there isn’t too much to worry about. Keep focusing on what truly counts, which are your studies and making sure you do well your sophomore year. Let the ACT figure out what exactly is the purpose of the test before you devote hours to preparing for it.
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