The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. While the ACT hasn’t been around quite as long as the SAT, it is accepted by every college in the U.S. Students are not required to submit scores for both tests when applying to colleges, although some students may want to. The ACT is offered seven times a year by ACT, Inc., a private testing company. In addition to the seven nationwide test dates, some school districts administer the test on their high school campuses during a regular school day. Students should contact their counselor for more information about “on campus” test dates. Students may take the ACT up to 12 times, and score reports are sent for each test date individually. Students must sign up for the SAT themselves online. Neither test prep companies nor school counselors can register students for the test.
There are four main sections on the ACT: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The fifth section, Writing , is optional, but required by some colleges. There are 36 possible points on each of the main four sections. The composite score (the main score colleges look at) is an average of these four scores. If students opt to take the Writing Test, it is scored separately. (You can read about how the ACT Writing Test is scored here.) The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long. The optional Writing section comes at the end of the test and is an additional 40 minutes.
The ACT offers some special accommodations for students with disabilities. For information, please visit the ACT website or talk to your school counselor. Applications for accommodations must be submitted 4-6 weeks before test date.
For more questions about the ACT, please visit our FAQ page!