Ask Test Masters: Do the ACT Science and Writing Sections Really Matter?2 min read

Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!Reader Maria asks, “How much do the ACT Science and Writing sections matter?”

Dear Maria,

Because the ACT Writing section is optional and the ACT Science section doesn’t actually test your knowledge of science (instead testing you on your reading comprehension and your ability to interpret charts and graphs), it’s easy to understand why you might wonder whether they matter. Trust us, they do.

Unlike the ACT Writing test, the ACT Science section is not an optional part of the ACT exam. Even if you are applying to a liberal arts university, or for a liberal arts program, scoring poorly on the ACT Science will lower your Composite Score and reduce your chances of being accepted to your university of choice. Also, an ideal college applicant should be able to demonstrate academic versatility, which can be accomplished by scoring well on both the English and Reading, and Math and Science sections of the ACT.

Electing to take the ACT Writing section will result in two additional scores, your Writing Subscore and your Combined English/Writing score. The Writing section is graded on a scale of 2-12; the grade you receive on this scale is your Writing Subscore. The Combined English/Writing score is generated using a formula that weighs your English-section score as two-thirds and the Writing section as one-third; the Combined English/Writing score is then reported on a scale of 1-36. Your Combined English/Writing score and Writing Subscore do not affect your Composite Score.

So, to your question, does the Writing section matter? The short answer is yes. Almost every university or college you apply to will require you to submit a writing sample of some kind (in addition to your admission essay and/or personal statement); many, in fact, will require you to take the Writing test. Even if your university of choice does not require you to submit a graded writing sample, taking the Writing test will separate you from applicants who have not (in much the same way as taking an SAT Subject Test does), and thus increase your chances of being accepted. Either way, it is in your best interest to take the ACT Writing test.

In conclusion, both the ACT Science and ACT Writing sections matter, a lot!

Hope this helps!

Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!
Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!

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