A few months ago Aditya Wadhwani, took the SAT. The SAT, earlier the Scholastic Assessment Test, has long been the standard exam for those applying to universities in the US. He scored 2110 out of 2400, a good score by any standard. Wadhwani, 18, didn’t stop there however. He had heard about another exam – the ACT – and word had it that it was easier than the SAT and like the SAT, was also accepted by all American colleges.
When it came down to comparing his scores, Wadhwani found that his ACT score of 34 out of 36, was better than his SAT score.
“My ACT score was much higher, and I believe the exam itself is easier than the SAT,” said Wadhwani, who has sent both his scores to US universities. “I didn’t have to do any extra tutoring for the ACT either.”
The ACT, a college-entry test comprises English, reading, mathematics and science questions, is increasingly being seen as an easier test for Indian students, with its emphasis on numerical abilities over linguistic and verbal ones. So far, Indian students have overwhelmingly chosen to take the SAT.
The sole testing centre for the ACT at Lala Lajpat Rai College in Mahalaxmi opened in 2005, and has seen an increase in test takers of late. Around 40 candidates took the test in all available slots in 2010, 60 did so in 2011.
Though the ACT does not give out specific data on the number of tests and test takers from different countries, officials said there had been a “steady increase” from India in the test. Further, in the past three years they had been besieged by applications for opening new centres.
“There has been a steady increase in the number of students taking the ACT in India and ACT is actively exploring options to expand the availability of the ACT American university admissions test in India,” said Suraj Raghavan, Senior Consultant, International Client Outreach and Partnerships at ACT, on a visit to the city this week.
Raghavan is on his first official trip to the country to shore up interest in the test, and to meet with counsellors and students.