The ACT has announced a slight change for 2021: the introduction of a new type of reading question. If you’ve got questions about this change, we’ve got answers!
What is the new question type?
The new question type is called a Visual and Quantitative Information (VQI) question, which is a very fancy way of saying that it’s a question about a graphic. One of the reading passages on the ACT may include some sort of graphic information—a graph, a chart, a table, a map, or some other visualization of information. And some of the questions that accompany that passage will reference that graphic information.
Is it really new?
This isn’t really new for ACT test-takers. After all, the Science section already includes questions that ask you to reflect on both textual and visual information. And anyone who has prepared for the SAT will find this new question type to be familiar as well: SAT reading has long included quantitative analysis questions that reference graphic information. In short: yes, it’s new to the ACT reading section, but you’ve definitely come across similar questions before.
How can I prepare?
Your preparation for the ACT Science section should have you more than ready to tackle questions about graphs, but if you think you need a little more practice, check out the practice VQI questions the ACT has published. Want even more practice? Every SAT reading section includes a passage that is accompanied by a graphic, and those passages all include at least one or two questions that ask you about the visual information.
When will it show up on the test?
No one knows for certain because the ACT has merely said “in 2021.” The new question type has appeared in experimental sections several times and will likely become commonplace in the coming year.