Ten Facts Students Must Know About the Pre-ACT

What is the Pre-ACT?

The Pre-ACT is the new predecessor to the ACT. It is given in the tenth grade, one year ahead of the ACT, by schools that have opted in to its use. You can only take it if your school offers it. You cannot elect to take it on your own. Stay tuned, however, as this may change.

What kinds of questions will I find on the Pre-ACT?

The Pre-ACT has all the same types of questions as you will find on the ACT. It does not, however, contain an essay. In all, it has 45 English questions, 36 math questions, 25 reading questions, and 30 science questions.

How long is the Pre-ACT?

Testing time for the pre-ACT is two hours and ten minutes. However, you will also be asked to complete a non-cognitive section containing biographical information, as well as information on interests, activities, and high school courses, prior to the test. This non-cognitive section alone will take you approximately one hour to complete. Therefore, your total testing time is just over three hours.

How will my Pre-ACT be scored?

The Pre-ACT is scored on the familiar 1 to 36 scale. You will receive a 1-36 score for each section, and for the test as a whole. These will, however, be predictive scores, meaning that they will be scaled to reflect the fact that you are taking the test one year ahead of the ACT. It will therefore purportedly be predictive of your ACT scores if you elect to take the test in eleventh grade.

Do colleges see my Pre-ACT scores?

No. Like the PSAT, your Pre-ACT scores are not sent to colleges. However, demographic data you provide in the non-cognitive section will be available to colleges (see next question).

What is the purpose of the Pre-ACT?

The Pre-ACT is ACT’s answer to the College Board’s PSAT-10. Both testing companies want to engage you early in order to entice you to take their respective tests, the ACT and the SAT. Also, since data collected from the non-cognitive section is sold to colleges at $0.42 per student, one can only surmise that profit is a motive. From your perspective, it is enough to know that the Pre-ACT is just like the PSAT, in that it provides an opportunity for you to discover what you might score on the ACT, and where you should concentrate your efforts in order to maximize your scores.

Does the Pre-ACT replace the PLAN or Aspire tests?

Not precisely. In 2014, ACT ended its use of PLAN and Explore assessments. Both of these were replaced by ACT’s Aspire assessments. However, Aspire largely failed as a competitor to the PSAT. So, ACT introduced the Pre-ACT which is comparable to the former PLAN test, but contains additional testing and reporting elements that more closely align it with Common Core standards and the ACT itself.

Should I prepare for the Pre-ACT?

That depends on your reason for taking the test. If your reason is to determine how well you might do on the ACT, then you should not prepare for the Pre-ACT as the results will be compromised. However, if your overall purpose is to maximize your test scores, then the answer is yes. Preparing for the Pre-ACT also prepares you for the ACT itself. Further, the longer you push out the preparation process, the more likely you are to assimilate the skills and strategies needed to be successful on the test.

How do I know whether I should take the SAT or the ACT?

Taking the right test is likely to give you a significant advantage in the college admission process, because your skills are very likely to be better demonstrated on one test versus the other. Unfortunately, neither the PSAT nor the Pre-ACT provides any comparative value to the other company’s test. The best way for you to determine which test is better suited to you is to take Chyten’s ACT vs. SAT Comparison Test. For more information about taking this test, call Chyten Educational Excellence at 800-428-TEST.

Is taking both the SAT and ACT a good idea?

This is a personal decision. Most students are adequately served by taking either the SAT or ACT. Some students prefer to take both because they feel that doing so demonstrates a higher level of academic accomplishment and ability.

For more information about the Pre-ACT, the PSAT, the SAT, the ACT or anything else related to college admission, please call us at 800-428-TEST (8378).