For students granted 150% extended time, they will now have hard stops on each section. Historically, students testing on a national test date (typically Saturday) had 150% time to complete the test; they would work on each of the four sections at their own pace. What was great for students was if they needed a great amount of time on say the reading section, but really didn’t require extra time on math, they could work at such a pace.
With the change in September 2018, students will now get 150% time on each section with a hard stop at the end of the time before moving on to the next section. For example, the English section of the ACT, which is the first section on the test, is 75 questions on 45 minutes. Those students receiving extended time will now have 68 minutes for that section. Once time is called, students move on to the math section with an extended time of 90 minutes.
Our team of test prep experts has always felt a strength of the ACT for students receiving extended time was the self paced as opposed to the SAT which had hard stops for extended time. Now, the ACT no longer offers this advantage.
The other change coming at the same time is the addition of a 20 minute experimental section after the four multiple choice sections. This section will not be scored, but allow ACT to test possible future test questions. This is something SAT previously did, but abandoned with their redesign in 2016.
Why do we see this as unfortunate? This extends the length of time students have to sit for testing. Furthermore, for students taking the optional writing portion of the ACT, this delays moving on to their essay putting them at risk for hitting their testing endurance wall.
For those in the class of 2019 who are intending to test again before college applications, we urge them to consider completing testing in June or July instead of waiting until September 2018.
Have questions on testing? As always, we are available to answer them. Just reach out.