Can I skip an entire section of the ACT?

I’m going to retake the ACT in order to improve my STEM scores. I have a 36 on the reading section, so can I just leave that section blank/ randomly fill in the answers this time? Do you think It would be a good idea to give myself a “break” during the test by skipping the section, or would that interrupt my testing flow?

So should I actually try to do well on a section that I have a perfect score on, or just fill in the answer sheet so it says ACAB in big letters (what I’m planning to do)?

I thought the ACT moved to being able to re-take specific sections only?

@momofsenior1 They delayed subject specific testing due to Covid, so its not available right now

A lot of schools won’t super-score the ACT, only the SAT (check admissions websites of the schools you’re applying to;) also, if you’re either way paying for the ACT, you might as well try to do your best on the entire test. I feel like a 33+ on the ACT one-time > a 33+ from re-taking individual sections, but that’s just my opinion.

Hope that helps!


It sounds like you are planning to super score, so the schools would see both of your tests- all the sections. There is no way for them to know you just didn’t bother in the reading section and they would see the horrible reading score if you just skipped or filled them out randomly.

Personally, I think it makes you look lazy and not willing to put in the work. If you scored a 36 the first time, I think chances are you would score a 33+ in round two or even get a perfect score again. There is a chance that your composite score from this sitting will be better and why risk it - you could then just turn in test #2 and not #1 unless the school requires all scores.

The other option is you go ahead and skip the reading section and then explain in the Common App’s additional information section why you skipped the reading section. Personally I would not advise this route.

@coffeeat3 Thank you, this is good advice.

@ibsucks @coffeeat3 The ACT allows students to DELETE test dates, unlike the SAT which only allows for score-choice. Scroll down to “Score Reports” and it’s the second question, but keep in mind it takes a few weeks to months for ACT to actually delete the score; b/c you have to send a letter to them requesting the ACT score delete form, wait for them to send it to you back, and then mail that letter and wait for another letter w/a confirmation of the test score that was deleted–and this has to be done for EACH individual test date. :disappointed:


Hope that helps!

Not sure how deleting an entire test date helps OPs situation. Can you explain?

OP, do you have an absolute final list of every college you will apply to and complete confidence that every one will superscore, with no chance of changing? And do you believe that and adcom at a superscoring school won’t raise an eyebrow at a 0 on a test section? And that turning your brain off for 45 minutes won’t disrupt your ability to ramp back up and perform well?

If you’re 100% confident in this, then go ahead. I wouldn’t recommend it to a child/student of mine.

@RichInPitt Was just clarifying that you don’t have to turn in “ALL” test scores of the ACT, only for the SAT, if the school requires it if you delete the test date, although you can only do this IIRC if YOU pay for it and not your school district. The advantage is if you score better the second time, you delete your first score and only have to report the second score to all colleges. :smile:

No, I wouldn’t skip the section or fill it out randomly. I had the same issue where I scored a 36 on English and Reading. I took the test again today and did my best, but it did take a bit of pressure off since most of my potential schools are taking the super score. I think it would be a hard shift in mindset. The proctor or ACT might also flag your test as well if they see such a discrepancy- although I am not sure this happens very frequently. You shouldn’t need to do a lot of extra prep though for Reading! Good luck!

Still not clear - does this mean OP should or shouldn’t leave the Reading section blank?

@RichInPitt No, the OP should NOT leave the Reading section (a sub-test of the ACT test) blank. If the OP gets a higher score overall, they can delete the previous test date record completely (composite score, idk about individual subtests,) meaning that you don’t have to report that score at schools that require ALL scores (like Georgetown) b/c the score doesn’t exist anymore.

Hope that helps!

Yeah, it’s an “option” but a terrible one. I remember an adcom speaking about someone who retook the SAT after scoring an 800 on one section, and trying for a high score on the other section. This applicant completely blew off the section that s/he’d already scored an 800 on and worked only on the low test score section, but did well on the test that they took. The adcom was not amused: auto reject as that high second score was based on the stress of only taking half a test.