All About the ACT

The ACT is a college entrance exam that evaluates a student's readiness for college. Through the ACT exam process college admissions boards can judge a student's current level of knowledge, as well as their ability to reason and think logically. The ACT is one of the most important exams in a students educational career, and is a part of most colleges and universities admission requirements.

What is the ACT?

The Act is an achievement test that determines a student's current level of knowledge. Students are tested on a variety of subjects, including Mathematics, Science, and English. The test is designed to gauge a student's understanding of these topics, and their ability to apply their knowledge and reasoning skills to a standardized set of questions.

act test

What is the format for the ACT?

The Act exam can contain up to five separate sections, including Math, English, Science, Reading Comprehension and Writing. Unlike the SAT, the ACT's writing section is optional. Students who opt to take the writing test will be taking the ACT Plus Writing exam rather than the standard ACT. The ACT consists of 215 multiple choice questions, plus the 1 optional writing prompt.

The Act typically begins at 8 AM and ends at 1PM. This is a timed exam, and students will be allowed to two rest breaks during the testing process.

ACT Test Structure

English 75 multiple-choice questions
Usage & Mechanics 40
Rhetotical Skills 35
Mathematics 60 multiple-choice questions
Pre-Algebra 14
Elementary Algebra 10
Intermediate Algebra 9
Coordinate Geometry 9
Plane Geometry 14
Trigonometry 4
Reading 40 multiple-choice questions
Analysis of four Reading Passages
Prose Fiction 10
Humanities 10
Social Studies 10
Natural Sciences 10
Science 40 multiple-choice questions
Content areas for Science are Biology, Earth/Space Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics
Data Representation 15
Research Summary 18
Conflicting Viewpoint 7

What does my ACT score mean?

The highest achievable score on the ACT is 36. A students score is determined by awarding points for all questions answered correctly. No points are deducted for wrong answers. Each section of the ACT is graded separately, and these scores are averaged to create a composite score for the entire exam. This is your final score, and it is this score that provides college admissions boards with an accurate measure of your skills in the various areas that have been tested.

How does the ACT benefit me?

The ACT can benefit students in several ways. First and foremost, a good score will give you a greater chance of being accepted to the college of your choice. Your final ACT score also gives you a good idea of your academic standing, which can be extremely helpful when planning your educational path. Your ACT score will highlight areas in which you may need to improve, and you can plan accordingly by enrolling in any necessary review courses.

The ACT also offers students an "interest inventory" feature. This feature compares your final test scores against accepted national averages and helps you to determine what careers are best suited to you.

How can I take the ACT?

Students can register for the ACT by visiting the ACT website. There you will be given a test date, testing location and start time. You will be required to pay a registration fee when you sign up for the exam. Registration fees are currently $30 - $45, and this price includes the cost of having your scores sent to four colleges or universities of your choice.

Taking the ACT can be a valuable experience for students planning to continue on to college. While the thought of one more exam may seem frustrating at first, the value of the ACT should not be dismissed. With a solid ACT score and a good high school academic history you can face the college admissions boards secure in the knowledge that you are a good fit for their institution.