What is the ACT Test?
The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test that assesses the academic readiness and college readiness of high school students in the United States. It is one of the most widely recognized and accepted college admissions tests. Its used by colleges and universities as a part of their admissions process.
The ACT is performed to measure a student’s proficiency in English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section is scored independently on a scale of 1 to 36. These scores are combined to calculate a composite score, which colleges use to assess applicants. The optional Writing section, scored separately on a scale of 2 to 12, is often recommended or required by many institutions. The ACT aids colleges in making informed admissions decisions, allowing for fair comparisons among students from diverse educational backgrounds. Furthermore, strong ACT performance can open doors to scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Many students prepare for this examination through dedicated study and practice to achieve their desired scores and enhance their prospects in the competitive college admissions landscape.
ACT Exam Full Form
American College Testing
Computer-based test and Paper-based
2 hours 55 minutes +40 minutes extra for the writing paper
Number of questions
215 Questions + 1 for Writing
Type of questions
Multiple Choice Questions
No negative marking
Number of time ACT exam is conducted
8 times in a year for national cities
Anyone above the age of 13 years
Why You Should Take the ACT Test
Taking the ACT (American College Testing) exam is a critical step for many high school students, and there are several compelling reasons why you should consider taking this standardized test:
1. College Admissions Requirement:
2. Scholarship Opportunities:
3. Comparative Assessment:
4. College Readiness Evaluation:
5. Admission to Competitive Programs:
6. Personal Growth and Challenge:
9. Comprehensive Assessment:
10. College Admissions Trends
How is the ACT score calculated?
Understanding ACT test scores is vital for students navigating the college admissions process. ACT scores provide colleges with valuable insights into a student’s academic abilities and potential for success in higher education. Here’s a straightforward explanation of how ACT scores work:
Scoring Scale: ACT scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 36 for each of the four required sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. These section scores represent a student’s performance in each subject area.
Composite Score: The composite score is the average of the section scores and also ranges from 1 to 36. It provides an overall assessment of a student’s performance on the ACT.
Optional Writing Score: If a student takes the optional Writing (Essay) section, they receive a separate Writing score, scored on a scale of 2 to 12. This score assesses the quality of the essay they’ve written.
Interpretation: A higher ACT score indicates better performance. For example, a student with a composite score of 30 has performed exceptionally well, while a student with a score of 20 has demonstrated proficiency but may have room for improvement.
Comparative Data: ACT provides a national percentile rank, which shows where a student’s score falls in comparison to the scores of all other test-takers. A percentile rank of 75 means a student performed better than 75% of all test-takers.
College Admissions: Colleges use ACT scores, along with other application materials, to evaluate a student’s academic readiness. Different institutions may have varying score requirements or preferences, so it’s essential to research the specific requirements of colleges of interest.
Score Choice: Students have the option to choose which ACT scores they send to colleges. This means they can select their best scores from multiple test sittings to present their most competitive application.
Components of the ACT exam
- English Section: The ACT English section assesses grammar and writing skills. We detail the types of questions students can expect and offer insights into effective approaches.
- Math Section: The Math section covers various math concepts. We highlight the content areas, formulas, and problem-solving techniques that are crucial for success.
- Reading Section: Reading comprehension is a key skill tested on the ACT. We discuss the types of passages, question types, and strategies for improving reading speed and accuracy.
- Science Section: The Science section may seem daunting, but it primarily assesses data interpretation skills. We demystify the science section, explaining how to approach it effectively.
- Writing (Optional): Section For students taking the optional Writing (Essay) section, we provide guidance on structuring essays, addressing prompts, and achieving a high score.
Test dates for ACT exam 2023-2024
2023-2024 Test Dates (National)
|Test Date||Regular Registration Deadline||Late Registration Deadline|
|September 9, 2023||August 4||August 18|
|October 28, 2023||September 22||October 6|
|December 9, 2023||November 3||November 17|
|February 10, 2024||January 5||January 19|
|April 13, 2024||March 8||March 22|
|June 8, 2024||May 3||May 17|
|July 13, 2024*||June 7||June 21|
See www.act.org/the-act/tir for more information.
Eligibility criteria for ACT exam
The ACT exam does not have specific eligibility criteria in the same way that some other standardized tests do. In general, the ACT is open to high school students, typically those in grades 9 through 12, who wish to take the test for college admissions purposes. However, there are some important points to keep in mind regarding eligibility and registration:
- Age: There is no age restriction for taking the ACT. Students of all ages, including adults who may be returning to education, are allowed to register and take the test.
- Grade Level: Most students take the ACT during their junior or senior year of high school. This is because the test is designed to assess college readiness. However, some exceptionally talented or advanced students may take the test earlier if they feel adequately prepared.
- Registration: To take the ACT, students or their parents/guardians typically need to register for the test online through the official ACT website. There is a registration fee associated with the test, but fee waivers are available for eligible students who demonstrate financial need.
- Accommodations: Students with disabilities may request accommodations for the ACT to ensure a level playing field. Eligibility for accommodations is determined through a formal process that may require documentation of the disability.
Fee for ACT exam
All fees are nonrefundable unless otherwise noted.
|ACT Exam Type||Fee (As of 2021)|
|The full ACT (no writing)||$181.50|
|The full ACT with writing||$206.50|
|Test option change||$25.00|
Add to your test fee (except for Test Center Change).
|Late registration||$38.00||Registration or test date change made during the late period.|
|Change fee||$44.00||Includes making a Test Date Change or Test Center Change|
|Score reports to 5th and 6th college choices||$18.50||Request online before the test date. Refundable on written request if you do not test.|
|Additional Score Reports||$18.50||You can request additional score reports online after registration.|
How to register for ACT exam?
Registering for the ACT exam is a straightforward process, and you can do it online through the official ACT website. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to register for the ACT:
Step 1: Create an ACT Account
- Visit the official ACT website at www.act.org.
- Click on “Sign Up/Log In” or a similar option to create an ACT account if you don’t already have one. Follow the prompts to provide your personal information, including your name, date of birth, email address, and other necessary details.
Step 2: Select Test Type and Date
- Once you have an ACT account, log in using your credentials.
- From your account dashboard, select “Register for the ACT.”
- Choose the type of ACT test you want to take:
- ACT (No Writing): This includes the four required sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science).
- ACT with Writing: This includes the four required sections plus the optional Writing (Essay) section.
- Select your preferred test date and test center location. The ACT is offered on multiple test dates throughout the year, so choose a date that works for you. Be sure to check the registration deadline for your chosen test date.
Step 3: Complete Registration
- Provide your background information, including your high school details, graduation date, and the colleges or scholarship programs you want to receive your scores (you can select up to four at no additional cost).
- Review your registration information to ensure accuracy.
Step 4: Pay the Registration Fee
- Pay the registration fee for the ACT. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the fee for the ACT (No Writing) was $55.00, and the fee for the ACT with Writing was $70.00. These fees are subject to change, so check the ACT website for the most up-to-date pricing.
- If you are eligible for a fee waiver due to financial need, you can apply for one during registration. Fee waivers cover the cost of the exam and, in some cases, additional services.
Step 5: Upload a Photo
- Upload a recent photo of yourself as part of the registration process. The photo will be used for identification purposes on your ACT admission ticket.
Step 6: Review and Confirm
- Review all the information you’ve entered and confirm your registration. Ensure that your personal details, test date, and test center are accurate.
Step 7: Print Your Admission Ticket
- After completing registration, you will receive an admission ticket with your test date, test center location, and other important details. Print a copy of your admission ticket and keep it in a safe place. You will need it on test day.
1. What is the ACT exam?
The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It assesses a student’s readiness for college-level coursework.
2. How is the ACT different from the SAT?
The ACT and SAT are both standardized tests used for college admissions. The main difference is in their content and format. The ACT includes sections in English, Math, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing (Essay) section, while the SAT has sections in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math, with an optional Essay.
3. When should I take the ACT?
Most students take the ACT during their junior or senior year of high school. It’s essential to check college application deadlines and plan accordingly.
4. How do I register for the ACT?
Register for the ACT online through the official ACT website. Create an account, choose your test date and location, provide personal information, pay the registration fee, and upload a photo.
5. What should I bring on ACT test day?
On test day, you should bring your admission ticket, acceptable identification, No. 2 pencils, an approved calculator, and snacks (if desired). Refer to your admission ticket for specific instructions.
6. Are fee waivers available for the ACT?
Yes, fee waivers are available for eligible students who demonstrate financial need. Fee waivers cover the cost of the exam and, in some cases, additional services.
7. How is the ACT scored?
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36 for each of the four required sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science). These section scores are averaged to produce a composite score, also on a scale of 1 to 36. The optional Writing section is scored separately on a scale of 2 to 12.
8. Can I retake the ACT?
Yes, you can retake the ACT as many times as you like. Colleges generally consider your best scores when evaluating your application.
9. How do I send my ACT scores to colleges?
You can request that your ACT scores be sent to colleges during the registration process. You can also send scores to additional colleges after you’ve taken the test for a fee.