What’s the ACT?
The ACT (American College Testing) is a competitor to the SAT test in that it is a standardized test that measures skills needs to be admitted into United States colleges and universities.
The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break. If you opt to take the optional writing section the test length increases to about 4 hours.
In comparison to the SAT, the ACT is designed to be an achievement test that measures what a student has learned in high school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.
The ACT consists of four mandatory sections and one optional writing test:
|English||75 questions||45 minutes||Measures written English and rhetorical skills.|
|Mathematics||60 questions||60 minutes||Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in high school.|
|Reading||40 questions||35 minutes||Measures English reading comprehension.|
|Science||40 questions||35 minutes||Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills as required in the natural sciences.|
|Optional Writing Test||1 prompt||40 minutes||Measures general writing skills.|
ACT Scoring System
Separate scores are given for each part of the test’s four section, which form the basis for a total composite score of up to 36 points.
The composite scores are calculated for each test section based on raw scores. Then these scores are converted to scale scores. There are seven sub scores that ranged from 1 to a maximum of 18. However sub scores are not used to compute the overall test score result.
Most college and university admissions to selective schools will require a score between 27 and 31.
When, Where, How?
The ACT exam can be taken no more than 12 times in total. Many students take the test twice, once as a junior and then again as a senior in high school. In general students who retake the test perform noticeable better.
The ACT is offered 6 times per year, within the following months:
The test fee various depending on the option you choose. If you opt to take the ACT with no writing component the fee is $39.50. If you however decide to take the ACT with the Writing section, the fee increases to $56.50.
Online registration is the fastest method to sign up. There are many testing centers through the United States. The easiest way to find the nearest one to you is using the ACT testing center search.
- ACT Online Registration
- Official ACT Frequently Asked Questions
- ACT Testing Center Search
- ACT National Percentile Information