Know Before You Go: Preparing for an Above-Level Test

To participate, students must have at least one score in the 95th percentile or above on a core subject of a grade-level test, such as the Iowa Assessments. By definition, an above-level test was designed for older students, so it is best-suited to students who are maxing out grade-level tests in at least one subject.

This video (and a blog post about it) provides a helpful introduction to above-level testing:

Please read the relevant information below before your test date.


For 4th-6th Graders

Will I-Excel Be Too Difficult?

Sometimes even if students meet the 95th percentile guideline on a grade-level test, they or their parents may be nervous about taking such a challenging test (content designed for 8th graders). The guideline is intended to prevent students from being overly stressed or frustrated by the testing experience. Students can try out sample questions for free to gauge the level of the test and whether it is a good fit. Just contact assessment@belinblank.org to request a link to the sample test questions.

Preparing for the Test

Once registered, you'll receive a link to the sample test questions in your confirmation email. We recommend that students complete these questions to get used to the format of the test. Beyond this, students do not need to study or otherwise prepare for the test. Above-level testing is meant to measure what a student knows and is ready to learn, and the most useful scores result when students understand the format but do not study for the test.


For 7th-9th Graders

Get Your Scores Faster

We recommend making a copy of your admission ticket (mailed to you from ACT before your test date). It has your ACT ID number, which you can use to view your scores online after the test. Generally, scores are available online well before the paper score report is mailed to you.

Will ACT Be Too Difficult?

Sometimes even if students meet the 95th percentile guideline on a grade-level test, they or their parents may be nervous about taking such a challenging test. The guideline is intended to prevent students from being overly stressed or frustrated by the testing experience. Students can try out sample questions for free to gauge the level of the test and whether it is a good fit.

Preparing for the Test

ACT provides a document called Preparing for the ACT Test that can help students become familiar with the format and types of questions they will see on the test.

Students must bring their printed ACT admission ticket and acceptable identification to the testing location. If the child taking the test does not yet have an ID issued by a city/state/federal government agency or school, they will need to fill out the Talent Search Student Identification Form and bring it to the testing location in place of an ID. More instructions for preparation and the day of the test are available on our ACT Academic Talent Search Instruction Folder.

Applying for Accommodations

If your child has a disability and requires special testing accommodations, you will need to apply for accommodations through ACT's online system.