What an Increasingly Difficult ACT Means to You: Scores 18-26

In the previous blog post we discussed how the ACT has been changing to become more difficult in recent years. These changes of course affect everyone, but the effects of the changes on a student’s score will vary from student to student. This post will discuss the effects and the magnitude of these effects on the students who score within the lower and median range (18-26) on the test.

The effects of the increasing difficulty are actually minimal in this score range, since the hardest questions are typically missed in this score range. Students within this range can have a high level of accuracy on the easier questions and guess on the more difficult questions, maintaining a steady and typical score despite the changes in testing format. On the December 2013 test, a student could miss 44% of the questions and achieve a 21 test score. For students who struggle to finish sections and typically guess on the remaining questions as time is called, this means that guessing on those seven left won’t kill you. You can miss some for the portion you answered thoroughly and the portion you guessed on and still achieve a score in this range. The new ACT score curve benefits this range as there is more room to miss questions, which means more room to guess on complex problems and gain points on easier questions.

What does this mean? It means this bracket is not negatively affected by the ACT evolution. Students in this bracket are not necessarily positively affected by these changes either. These students will score about the same on the 2015 test as they would have on the 2008 test.

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