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*ACT major Changes 2017-onward*

Suk2001Suk2001 85 replies7 threads Junior Member

*DISCLAIMER: I am not the act and this information is not officially confirmed by the act.*

However, I do have reason to believe these may be permanent alterations to the ACT and are worth looking into.
The source of this information is myself, a private tutor I know (who has taken the act each administration since 2015 except for the released ones), and some of my friends who have also taken the act a few times this year.


The general consensus is that 2017 ACT is harder than 2016. To offer some kind of data-based foundation for said argument, when I took released 2013-2015 practice tests, I scored a 34/35 consistently. When I took the act this September (2017 administration), I got a 32. Then, the act released the 2017 administration of the December act. On that I scored a 31. After lots of studying, I took the February 2017 test and felt absolutely horrible. I just got my score back and received a 30! Expecting a 34/35, this came a HUGE shock to me.

My friend who consistently scores 35/36 received a 33 when he took it in October after we talked about the test, I noticed some parallels in our experiences. To confirm this trend, I talked to a private tutor who I am family friends with. She told me that in 2015, she consistently got a 36 in each section easily. This year, however, she has been receiving a 35 in at least one section each time. She has also noticed some of the trends I have.


I can confidently say I noticed a few trends this year that are different.

First, the science questions' outside info questions aren't as easy as they used to be. I recall a question on KMT (Honors Chemistry) and a question that utilized the concept of centripetal force (AP Physics 1), and I have noticed that there are now about 4-5 outside knowledge question. The problem with that is that not only do these questions occur more than they did in the past administrations (1-2) but, that they are now asking higher level science questions that require Honors/AP knowledge. On top of that, the science has gotten marginally more time crunched.

Second, English has gotten harder as well. In the past, all English questions could be deduced by sounding out the words, however, this year there are some questions that said strategy doesn't work. Also, I have noticed a new question type that has appeared on every question type this year: the such as question. LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT USING SUCH AS GRAMMATICALLY! Also, the context questions also require more careful thought than before.

The Math has a noticeable change as well. In every administration of the ACT this year, an ellipse question has shown up. I took the September test, the released December practice test, and the February test. In all three of these administrations an ellipse question has shown up. My friend who took it in October said this also occurred in October. Also, math has started to include more combination and permutation heavy probability questions. Also, you will need to understand standard deviation statistics as these showed up in December and September. Those are the major changes that I noticed. I do feel that math has gotten incredibly more difficult.

And reading has gotten harder period. There are a lot of old sat-esque questions. Also, they call the first passage Literary Narrative from now on BTW. The information is in the passage but, it is harder to find. Also, they have made it harder to use the keywords in the questions to find the answers in the passage. One weird thing in the recent Feb. administrations was the first passage was split into two different narratives of the same event. They used different language and were very different in style. This made it really hard to answer the questions. I felt that especially on this recent test, all of the passages got so much more subtly harder that comparison passages in the Humanities section felt like a relief.

Overall, the act may be for the worse and it is important to be wary of that.

I wish all of you the best of luck in your college admissions pursuits!
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Replies to: *ACT major Changes 2017-onward*

  • BlankeedBlankeed 10 replies2 threads New Member
    There goes all my motivation to improve my scores...
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  • bctnln1059bctnln1059 101 replies20 threads Junior Member
    Thank you for sharing those details, that was very helpful.
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  • Suk2001Suk2001 85 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @bctnln1059 np! I'm glad it helped!
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  • Suk2001Suk2001 85 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @Blankeed bruh, don't worry too much. You'll end up fine. I just took an SAT and got a 1520/1600. I guess different tests cater to different people. I know a girl who got a 36 in February so, it is possible but, just harder.
    Good Luck!
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  • ppstppst 254 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I do see a general trend in my DD's act scores from 2016 onwards. The practice tests from 2012-2015 were doable and trainable with the particular parameters given in the review books. The October and December, 2016's were transitionally more difficult than June, 2016, while, for some reason, the February test was mysteriously easier. She had a bunch of her friends get 35's on that administration and some people scored higher than they otherwise would have. (factual, not derogatory). Yes, and there is more probability and stats, as well. Commas, commas, commas...This June test was more difficult than any of the others the 35 scorers or my daughter had taken. Hoping it wasn't as bad as they feel:)
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  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 410 replies14 threads Member
    There are kids with 35's that retake the test??
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  • ppstppst 254 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @dragonmom3 , they (not my kid) retake for writing or for the 36 brass ring! Mine is just hoping to, at least, keep her score!! (1 point would be nice).
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  • Suk2001Suk2001 85 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @Anjo91 Yeah, I'm glad you feel the same way.
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  • oPhilipposoPhilippos 284 replies42 threads Member
    I do not necessarily agree with this. For the science section, I have pulled consistent 35's without having to know actual outside information. The trick is literally to not overthink. For english, I have always used the method of actually knowing grammar to solve problems, but I have noticed an increasing trend in organizational questions. Reading I think actually got easier (personally). It seems to be more logical, so it's more like deducing a math problem than inferring conclusions. My anecdotal evidence is my reading score from April 2016 to the June 2017 test jumped 4 points without prep. Math I do agree got harder. Usually I'd finish the section with 15-17 minutes to spare. This last administration, for some reason, I only finished with 5.
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  • aznboi4981aznboi4981 1058 replies111 threads Senior Member
    I wish they would stop with these changes. English is getting more difficult.. Math is about the same (minus the addition of vectors/matrices). Reading is harder! It used to be all just getting the answers from the passage, but now the questions seem to be changing towards the old SAT Critical Reading. And finally, Science, harder because it is requiring more outside knowledge.
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