In an earlier post, we reported on the College Board’s plan to go entirely digital by the Spring of 2024. This means that students will expect to take digital forms of the PSAT (Fall 2023), SAT (Spring 2024), and AP exams (Spring 2024) going forward.
There are other options for test takers, and that is the ACT, so what are its plans going forward? Well, the ACT has actually had a digital test for international students since 2018, and any student taking the test outside of the United States has to take this version, known as the ACT Computer-Based Test (ACT CBT).
Currently in the United States, individual states and districts have to choose to offer the CBT, but they are not available on national testing dates when only the paper version is administered. It looks like the ACT will be expanding its online offerings in the Spring of 2024, in the US, but it will still offer the paper based version on all national test dates.
If you are taking the test internationally or attend a school where the digital version of the ACT is available, then you will not see much of a difference from the paper version. The time limits, amount of questions, scoring, and content in each section will be the same. This means that students can prepare similarly for either version, although we recommend that students familiarize themselves with the TestNav program that the ACT uses to conduct the test. In contrast, the College Board has created an adaptive test for the SAT that makes it shorter than the paper version and impacts the scoring potential for each student.
So, when can you take the computer based test? It looks like the ACT will run a pilot program for 5,000 students that sign up for the digital test, but it is only being offered at select locations. If you are interested in taking the online test in December, select the computer based version when you register to help you find the closest test center. Because the ACT is slowly rolling out a digital version in the US, it might be worth waiting to take an online version until the Spring of 2024, and instead take the paper based version. After the pilot, the ACT will be more confident in the digital version and provide a seamless experience after the pilot program in December. No matter what, the format and content will be the same for the paper based and digital versions, at least for the foreseeable future. To help you prepare for the content on the test, the College Board provides several books for the whole test and each individual section:
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