ACT

ACT

What is the ACT?

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading, & Science Reasoning.  

The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test.

ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the U.S.

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 Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing).

The ACT is administered on six test dates—September, October, December, February, April, and June.

The basic registration fee includes score reports for up to four college choices, if you list valid codes when you register.

 For more information about the ACT, go to www.actstudent.org

 When should I test?

Advantages to testing in your junior year:

  • You've probably completed the coursework corresponding to the test material.
  • You'll have your test scores and other information in time to help you plan your senior year. (For example, you may decide to take an additional class in an area in which your test score was low.)
  • Colleges will know of your interests and have your scores in time to contact you during the summer before your senior year, when many of them are sending information about admissions, course placement, scholarships, and special programs to prospective students.
  • You'll have information about yourself and the schools you're considering prior to your campus visits, making your visits more focused.
  • You'll have the opportunity to retest if you feel your scores don't accurately reflect your abilities in the areas tested.

 Should I test again?

Many students test twice, once as a junior and again as a senior. You should definitely consider retesting if you had any problems during testing, such as misunderstanding the directions, running out of time, or not feeling well.

You may also want to consider retesting if you don't believe that your scores accurately represent your abilities, especially if you see a discrepancy between your ACT scores and your high school grades, or if you have completed coursework or an intensive review in the subject areas included in the ACT since you tested.

If you test more than once, you determine which set of scores are sent to colleges or scholarship programs. ACT reports scores from only one test date per report.

How will you do on a retest?

Research shows that of the students who took the ACT more than once:

  • 57% increased their Composite score on the retest
  • 21% had no change in their Composite score on the retest
  • 22% decreased their Composite score on the retest

For students with an initial ACT Composite score between 12 and 29, the typical ACT Composite score from the second testing is about 1 point higher (see Table below).

  • The lower your initial ACT Composite score, the more likely your second score will be higher than the first score.
  • The higher your initial ACT Composite score, the more likely your second score will be the same as or lower than the first score.
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SAT-ACT Conversion Table