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ACT to start giving tests by computer

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WASHINGTON — Goodbye, No. 2 pencils. Hello, iPads.

Starting as early as spring 2015, the ACT college admissions exam will go digital, reflecting students’ tech savvy and the demand for quicker results.

The tests will still have the familiar multiple-choice options for college hopefuls but they will also expand to include interactive portions, such as a simulated science lab for students to conduct experiments or space for students to explain concepts in their own words.

‘‘The days of paper-and-pencil admission testing are changing,’’ Jon Erickson, president of ACT’s education division, said during an interview ahead of the company’s announcement this week that it would shift to iPads, laptops and desktop computers and away from the familiar optical scan bubble sheets.

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