Introduction to ACT Test:
The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The ACT is the college admissions test administered by the American College Testing Program. All of the Ivy League colleges accept ACT scores. Students receive separate scores for each subject, as well as a composite score. Each score is on a scale from 1 to 36, with 36 being the best possible score. The ACT is "subject based" instead of "skills based." The ACT test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.
The ACT with writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 40-minute writing test. ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the US.
The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT with writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 40 minutes if you are taking the ACT with writing).
The ACT tests are prepared according to the:
- Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education (1999).
- Code of Professional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement, National Council on Measurement in Education (1995).
- Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education, Joint Committee on Testing Practices (2004).
Why should one take ACT Test?
- The ACT is accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the United States.
- The ACT multiple-choice tests are based on what you're learning. The ACT is not an aptitude or an IQ test. The test questions on the ACT are directly related to what you have learned in your high school courses in English, mathematics, reading, and science.
- There are many ways to prepare for the ACT. Taking challenging courses in high school is the best way to prepare, but ACT also offers a number of test preparation options including free online practice tests, testing tips for each subject area tested, and the free student booklet Preparing for the ACT.
- This booklet includes complete practice tests (with a sample writing prompt and example essays). ACT Online Prep™, the only online test preparation program developed by ACT, is another tool to help you be ready for test day.
- The ACT helps you plan for your future. In addition to the tests, the ACT also provides you with a unique Interest Inventory and a Student Profile Section. By responding to these sections, which ask about your interests, courses, and educational preferences, you provide a profile of your work in high school and your career choices to colleges.
- The ACT helps colleges find you. By taking the ACT, you make yourself visible to colleges and scholarship agencies, so it's another way to help you get ready for life after high school.
- Your ACT score is based only on what you know. The ACT is the only national college admission test based on the number of correct answers—you are not penalized for guessing.
- You choose which scores you send to colleges. When you register for the ACT, you can choose up to four colleges to which ACT will send your scores as part of the basic fee for your test option. If you take the test more than once, you choose which test date results the colleges will receive. ACT sends scores only for the test date you select.
- Optional Writing Test. Because not all colleges require a writing test for admission, ACT offers you the choice of whether or not you want to spend the extra time and money taking the writing test. Writing is an important skill for college and work, but schools use different methods to measure your writing skills.
The ACT Test:
The ACT test has 4 tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science reasoning. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short Essay.
The numbers of questions:
- English: 75
- Math: 60
- Reading: 40
- Science: 40
Total number of questions: 215
- Subject test scores range from 1 to 36; all scores are natural numbers.
- The English, mathematics, and reading tests also have subscores ranging from 1 to 18. (The subject score is not the sum of the subscores.) The "composite score" is the average of all four tests.
- The writing test score ranges from 2 to 12, a "combined English/writing score" ranging from 1 to 36 (based on the writing score and English score), and one to four comments on the essay from the essay scorers.
- The writing score does not affect the composite score.
- ACT includes an experimental section that can be any of the four major sections.
Subject Areas in SAT:
English: The first section is the 45 minute English test covering usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills. The 75 question test consists of a few passages with various sections underlined on one side of the page and options to correct the underlined portions on the other side of the page. There are also a few questions asking about the order of sentences in a paragraph and paragraphs in a passage and the author's tone in a section of text.
Math: The second section is the 60 minute, 60 question math test with pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, and elementary trigonometry. Calculators are permitted in this section only. Also, this is the only section that has five instead of four answer choices.
Reading: The 35 minute, 40 question reading section measures reading comprehension in four passages. The areas covered are fiction, social science, humanities, and natural science.
Science reasoning: The science reasoning test is a 35 minute, 40 question test. There are a few passages each followed by five to seven questions. There are a few Data Representation passages with 5 questions following each passage, Research Summary passage with six questions each, and a Conflicting Viewpoints passage with 7 questions.
Writing: The optional writing section, which is always administered at the end of the test, is 30 minutes long. All essays must be in response to a given prompt. The prompts are about a social issue applicable to high school students. No particular essay structure is required. The essays are scored on 2 to 12 scale by 2 readers. If the two readers' scores differ by more than one point, then a senior third reader decides. Although the writing section is optional, several schools do require an essay score and will factor it in to the admissions decision.
How do I register for ACT test?
Everything is online which starts with creating an account
What Can I Do With an Account?
- View scores
- Send additional score reports
- Register for next test
You'll know immediately if your preferred test center has space for you to test, and you can print your admission ticket from the website. How you sign up depends on where and how you plan to test.
Checklist - What You'll Need
- About 40 Minutes – In addition to choosing a test date and location, you will be asked to provide information that will be visualized on your score report to help you to explore possible careers that align with your stated interests.
- Desktop or laptop with an internet connection - Mobile and tablet not recommended
- Credit Card or other form of payment
- High school course details
- Headshot photo - Now or anytime before the photo deadline