ACT Test

The ACT is standardized test admissions officers use to compare applicants from different schools and different states. Here's a brief overview of the test.

ACT Quick Facts :-

Frequency: 3-5 times depending on the city
Duration: 3 hours, 3½ hours including essay
Sections: English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing
Cost: $34 - $49.50
Max Score: 36
Avg Score: 21

Know more about ACT

What is the ACT and why is it important?
Created by ACT Inc., the ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make decisions regarding admissions. The idea is to provide colleges with one common criterion that can be used to distinguish all aspirants. The weight placed on ACT scores differs from school to school. Other vital factors that schools consider in their admissions decisions are your high school GPA, academic transcripts and letters of recommendation, interviews and personal essays. The ACT is offered every year in September, October, December, February, April and June.
What specifically does the ACT test?

The ACT consists of four sections:
  • English
  • Reading
  • Math
  • Science

In addition to the sections mentioned above it consists of an optional 30-minute writing test. Some schools may require the writing test, so be sure to ask before you take it.
How is the ACT scored?
You'll earn one ACT score (1 to 36) on each test (English, Math, Reading and Science) and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these four tests. Usually, when people ask about your score, they're referring to your composite ACT score. The composite score falls between 1 and 36. The national average is about 21. If, for example, you scored 31 in the English, 30 in the Math, 29 in the Reading and 30 in the Science, your composite ACT score would be 30.
You'll receive sub scores in English, Math and Reading ranging between 1 and 18. These scores provide you with more detail about your performance, but they are not actually used by colleges or universities. The ACT includes an optional essay, known as the writing test. If you take the writing test, you will receive a writing test subscore and a combined English/writing score.
When should I take the ACT?
Students have conventionally taken the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. However, more and more students are choosing to take their first ACT earlier, such as during the fall of their junior year. This gives them more flexibility to retake the ACT test one or more times, or to take the SAT or SAT subject tests.
How do I register?
Registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each ACT test date. You can also register online at


Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. So which should you take?
It's all about the numbers that speak. Some students end up scoring marginally higher on the SAT; others do better on the ACT. In lieu of a crystal ball, we created The Rising Careers designed to help you resolve which test is better fit with your abilities.

ACT questions tend to be simpler.

ACT questions are often easier to understand on the first go. In the SAT paper, you may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem. For instance, here are sample questions from the SAT essay and the ACT writing test:
SAT: What is your view of the claim that something unsuccessful can still have some value?
ACT: In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating?
The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
If you're an enthusiastic wordsmith, you'll love the SAT. If words aren't your cup of tea, you may do better in the ACT.
The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not.
You are not required to know anything about amoebas or chemical reactions for the ACT Science section. It is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a given set of data. But if you're a true science-phoebe, then SAT might be a better fit..
The ACT tests more advanced math concepts.
In addition to basic arithmetic, algebra I and II, and geometry, the ACT tests your brains for trigonometry, too. Having said that the ACT Math’s section is not necessarily complicated, since many students find the questions to be more straightforward than those that appear in the SAT.
The ACT Writing Test is optional on test day, but required by many schools.
The 25-minute SAT essay is a pre-requisite and is factored into your writing score. The 30-minute ACT writing test is discretionary. If you choose to take it, it is not included in your composite score — schools will see it listed individually. Many colleges require the writing section of the ACT, so be sure to check with the schools where you are applying before opting out.
The SAT is broken up into more sections.
In the ACT, you tackle each content area (English, Math, Reading and Science) in one big portion, with the optional writing test at the end. On the SAT, the content areas (Critical Reading, Math and Writing) are broken up into 10 sections, with the required essay at the beginning. You are required to do a little math, a little writing, some bit of critical reading and a few problems on math, etc. When choosing between the SAT and ACT, ask yourself if moving back and forth between content areas confuse you or keep you energized?
The ACT is more of a "big picture" exam.
College admissions officers are worried about how you did on each section of the SAT. On the ACT, they're most concerned with your composite score. So if you're weak in one content area but strong in others, you could still end up with a superior ACT score and thus make a strong impression with the admissions committee.