All Your Questions Answered About the Online ACT

All Your Questions Answered About the Online ACT

Every year at Hellgate, Juniors are required to take the ACT, but this year it’s a little different. This year the ACT will be online and it has many students wondering about how it will work. Assistant Principal Susie Bageant is in charge of the ACT and she was able to answer many of the questions on our minds before this shift to a computerized ACT.


Q: Why are we switching to the online model?

A: The state is the one that decides that. So at the state level which is the Montana Department of Education, they decided we were doing online. My guess would be that it’s cheaper for the state, but I have no idea if that’s true.  

Q: How does the online ACT work?

A: Each student is going to have to bring their school device or borrow a school device. We will have labs and things like that available. There is a program from ACT that has to be downloaded onto that device and a special code to that program, and that’s how you take the test.

Q: How will the test be proctored?

A: It’ll be proctored in a very similar fashion. We’re doing a testing day, so it’s only the 11th graders here that day, so we can spread you out throughout the building. We’ll probably have even smaller numbers this year in each classroom so that if you need to use a plug to recharge your Chromebook, you can. Each student will be assigned a room and the proctor will have a code for that student and then the proctors will be in the room with you as well. 

Q: Are there concerns about cheating with the online model?

A: My understanding, and my understanding is limited, but my understanding is that once you get into the program, you cannot get out of it. So I don’t believe you have the opportunity to go anywhere else. If anyone takes a phone out their test is automatically negated, which means they get no score.  

Q: Will there be a way to take notes?

A: You will be allowed scratch paper. You will get a sign-in paper that I believe will have your code on it, you can use that as scratch paper. You can also use other scratch paper that’s provided by the proctor if you need it. You will, however, have to turn that in at the end of the test. 

Q: Will calculators still be allowed?

A: Yes. So you have two options. You can bring an ACT approved calculator, which I will be emailing everyone the calculator requirements, so you can know if yours is acceptable or not. You can bring that or there is going to be an online calculator in the program that we feel is probably similar to Desmos, but again, I haven’t seen it. So I would suggest that people bring a calculator they’re comfortable using. 

Q: Will the school provide online practice ACT resources?

A: ACT does. I just sent out to all the English teachers today the students’ codes and then the practice booklets, so you’ll be getting those in the next week or so. On MyACT they have tons of practice materials. has a ton of information, so all of that is provided for you through the ACT.

Q: What if we run into technical issues like internet cutting out?

A: I am also very concerned about this. The district assures us that we have the bandwidth necessary to run the test. Across the nation it’s been pretty successful without too many horrible glitches, but there will be a make-up day if that becomes necessary. 

Q: What would you say to the students who are doubtful about an online ACT?

A: I would say give it a try because I think the testing, to be honest, is going to be very similar. The only difference is how you are inputting your answer. I think it should be very, very similar to what we’ve done in the past.