ACT Section Retesting: What You Need to Know

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ACT Section Retesting: What You Need to Know

*Update: ACT has announced they will not be offering section retesting for the 2021-2022 school year


ACT has announced that, beginning in September 2020, they will allow students to retake individual sections of the ACT test. 

Here’s a quick guide for you to figure out what that means for you!

ACT Sections

The ACT is made up of 4 sections, plus the optional ACT essay writing section

  • English: 45 minutes
  • Math: 60 minutes
  • Reading: 35 minutes
  • Science 35 minutes
  • Optional Writing Section: 40 minutes

ACT Test – Section Retake

When you include breaks, the test takes over 3 hours to complete it one sitting. Such a long test is mentally exhausting for many students!

However, for the first time, ACT is going to allow students to retake individual sections of the test.

Here are the details:

  • You must first have completed an official full-length ACT test with all 4 sections to be eligible to retake individual sections
  • You can retake up to 3 sections of the ACT on one test date
  • Test dates for retakes of individual sections are the same dates as the national ACT test
  • There are no limits to how many times you can retake a section of the ACT


  • Allows you to focus on improving for just the section(s) that you struggled with on your first ACT test
  • By retaking only 1 or 2 sections, you can cut down on the mental endurance needed to take a 3 hour test
  • Improves your overall composite score when your higher retake score is superscored with your scores for the other sections of the ACT
  • If you only retake 1-2 sections, it is cheaper than retaking the entire test.


  • 1 section retest: $44
  • 2 section retest: $48
  • 3 section retest: $52
  • ACT full-length test without optional writing section: $52
  • ACT full-length test with optional writing section: $68


Overall, this is great news for students who have a weakness in one section of the ACT. It will save these students time, money, energy, and will ultimately lead to a higher superscore to send to colleges!

The one real drawback is that NOT all colleges superscore!

Superscoring is when a college reviews your highest scores in each section of the ACT, and averages them together to create a new composite score. So if on one test you scored a 24 in the Reading section, but you retake the Reading section and score a 30, the second score will be the one that is “officially” reviewed by college admission officers.

ACT is reaching out to colleges to have them add section retaking to their existing superscoring policies. If a college doesn’t superscore, the ACT is currently trying to share their research with these colleges to convince them to add a superscoring policy.

However, in the end, you need to check the testing requirement policies of the colleges you are interested in before signing up for a section retake to make sure they will accept, review, and superscore the results of the retake with your composite score. 

Since ACT has just added this option, you may need to even call the admissions office of prospective colleges to check their policy, if they haven’t updated their website.


How to Prepare

MEK has the college test prep programs for you to prepare efficiently for each section of the SAT/ACT and reach your target score!







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