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Kristin Fracchia

What is the PreACT?

what is the preact magoosh

Recently, the ACT announced the launch of a new test, the PreACT, which is actually not such a new test at all.

So what is the PreACT? The PreACT is a mini-ACT that will be offered for students in grade 10. It is exactly like the ACT, except a little easier and a little shorter. And just like the ACT, it is scored on a scale from 1-36. The idea is that the PreACT will give both students and counselors an early predictor of their ACT scores (or as the ACT prefers to put it: “college and career readiness.”

What’s new about the PreACT and what’s not?

Last year, the ACT phased out the PLAN test, which was very, very similar to the “new” PreACT. In lieu of the PLAN, it launched a series of tests called Aspire designed for students in grade 3 through grade 10. The problem with the Aspire tests, though, at least from a college admissions perspective, is that they are very different from the ACT.

Presumably, in its never-ending competition with SAT, the ACT wanted to make sure it had a pre-test that mimicked its big brother, like the PSAT does for the SAT.

And so the PLAN has essentially been reborn as the PreACT, with the only major difference being scoring: the PLAN was scored on a scale of 1-32, but the PreACT will be scored on a scale of 1-36 just like the ACT.

What’s on the PreACT?

Like the ACT, the PreACT will have four multiple choice sections in English, Math, Reading and Science. Unlike the ACT, it will not include an essay section. Each section will be a little bit shorter than what is on the ACT and the questions will be slightly easier. Although full details have not been released yet (we will update this post when they are available!), this means that the PreACT will be shorter than the 3 hours and 55 minutes that the ACT takes, although it is not clear yet how much shorter it will be.


  • The English section of the PreACT will test grammar, sentence structure, organization and style by asking students to correct and improve essays.
  • The Math section will test pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and coordinate geometry.
  • The Reading section will present students with several long passages and asks them reading comprehension questions on things such as main idea, author’s purpose, and tone, as well as the meaning of words in context.
  • The Science section will present students with descriptions of experimental setups or scientific hypotheses and ask students to interpret data and trends from the tables, graphs, and information provided.


When is the PreACT offered?

Unlike the PSAT, which is administered by schools at a set time in October, the PreACT can be administered by schools any time between September 1 and June 1.

How can the PreACT help me?

Taking the PreACT might be some of the best preparation you could ever get for the ACT. You’ll be taking a test that is almost exactly like the ACT in a real testing situation, but without the pressure and stakes of the “real deal.” Your PreACT scores will give you valuable information on what you need to focus on in your ACT prep in order to reach your goals.

If you choose to opt in to having your information shared with colleges and scholarship agencies, taking the PreACT might also open up some doors for you on the admissions and scholarship front.

Check back here for updates as soon as we get more details!

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About Kristin Fracchia

Dr. Kristin Fracchia makes sure Magoosh's sites are full of awesome, free resources that can be found by students prepping for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agony and bliss of trail running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.

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