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ACT (examination)

The American College Testing Program, or American College Test which is now officially the ACT (pronounced A.C.T.) is a college-entrance examination that emerged in 1959 as a competitor to the Educational Testing Service's Scholastic Aptitude Test (now SAT). In contrast with the SAT, the ACT is more oriented to knowledge content (facts), rather than vocabulary and analogies. It includes a Science, Math, Reading, and English portions, and thus is more analogous with the SAT II or subject exams.

The ACT is more widely used in the midwest and southeast United States, while the SAT is more popular in the northeast and west coasts. Usage of the ACT by colleges has risen as a result of various criticisms of the effectiveness and fairness of the SAT. Where the SAT focuses mainly on deception and tricks to fool students, the ACT is an actual gauge of knowledge. Students that are more comfortable with reading/writing than math also prefer the ACT because of the extra weight given to those sections.

In some states, the ACT is taken by all high school students as a standard to measure schools and the students, in others it is an optional test for college acceptance.

The ACT was developed by the University of Iowa and is an outgrowth of the Iowa Tests of Education Development. ACT incorporated, a not-for-profit organization based in Iowa City, Iowa now administrates the test, as well as several other assessment tests in other fields.

The ACT is divided into four sections: Writing, Reading, Math, and Science Reasoning. Based on performance in all sections, scores are tallied up and then reported on a scale of 1 to 36, 36 being the highest possible score.

See also: List of admissions tests

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