Retaking the ACT improves test scores


James Clawson

Senior Angelica Macias is flipping through the ACT study guide.

Cici Longi, Reporter

The ACT is the rigorous undertaking required during a student’s junior year of high school. The average composite score on the ACT in 2015 was 20.2 in Utah. A score that is considered good is 24 according to PrepScholar. Students striving to improve their first ACT score can apply to retake it.

According to, fifty-five percent of the students who retake the ACT improved their scores, twenty-one had no change and twenty-three percent reported having lost points.

Karla Contreras senior, is retaking the ACT in October. She claims she is, “Much more confident to take the test this second time because I already know what the test is like.” Trying to remain focused during the test is immensely difficult while being timed.
Contreras explains, “I was trying to answer as many questions as possible before the time ran out and keeping track of the time distracted me.” For those students who consider themselves “bad” test takers, can benefit from the awareness of ACT retakes.

Taking the test the second time around has its perks. For example, the student retaking the test can go over their previous score to recognize what section they struggled with the most.

Senior Carrie Howard (real name withheld) stated, “I tried to study equally for all the sections but I still fell short in the math portion and I want to improve this time.”

When asked how she is planning to improve Howard revealed that she would be, “Taking practice tests and imitating the environment of the actual ACT test.”

The key to improving the second time is with precise preparation. Those retaking the ACT have experience on their side–utilizing this can make or break a student’s retake score. To ensure improvement the second time around it is highly suggested that a student learns from their mistakes; meaning using their experience to their advantage whether it be by finding a new study method or learning not to panic to the point where it takes a negative toll.

Mark Skoskiewicz content writer for MyGuru’s college admission blog suggests, “Take a practice test. Take two! The more the better. As you take each practice test, you’ll familiarize yourself more and more deeply with how the ACT approaches each of the four main sections.”

An effective study method is to commit to a study schedule at least 3 months before the exam. Spending at least 20-30 minutes a day reviewing practice questions and mentally preparing for the test.

Practice may not make perfect when retaking the ACT but it can be the difference between being in that fifty-five percent who improve or the twenty-three percent who don’t. Senior Karla Contreras remarks, “I am most afraid of getting a lower score on the test but I am starting to study differently than I did last year so I’m not too worried.”

In short, there’s no cut and dried solution for acing the ACT. There’s always going to be struggle in taking the test, but careful preparation can make a huge difference.

Students can register to retake the ACT on October 22nd and December 10th.