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About the ACT

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, mathematics, reading and science and an optional writing test. The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school.

The scores on the ACT exam range from 1 to 36, with a national average score of 21. The ACT is administered on six test dates: September, October, December, February, April, and June.

The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes including a short break. If the optional writing test is taken, that adds approximately 30 minutes. Calculators may be used on the mathematics section of the exam.

ACT FAQs

What is the ACT?
The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, mathematics, reading and science.

What does ACT stand for?
Originally, ACT stood for "American College Testing." In 1996, however, the official name of the organization was shortened to simply "ACT." This change in the official company name was made to better reflect the broad array of programs and services we now offer beyond college entrance testing.

Why take the ACT?
The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

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

What is the optional writing test?
The Writing Test is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing skills—specifically those writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses. The test consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue.

When is the ACT administered?
The ACT is administered on six test dates in the months of September, October, December, February, April, and June. The exam is administered within the United States, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and Canada.

How many questions are there and how long will the test take?
The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes including a short break:
• English: 75 questions - 45 minutes
• Mathematics: 60 questions – 60 minutes
• Reading: 40 questions – 35 minutes
• Science: 40 questions – 35 minutes

When should I take the ACT?
Students have traditionally taken the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. However, more and more students are choosing to take their first ACT earlier, such as during the fall of their junior year. This gives them more flexibility to retake the ACT test one or more times, or to take the SAT or SAT subject tests.

How is the ACT scored?
You'll earn one ACT score (1 to 36) on each test (English, Math, Reading and Science) and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these four tests.

What is the highest possible ACT score?
The highest possible ACT score is 36.

What is the national average score?
The national average is approximately 21.

How much does the ACT cost?
The ACT exam costs $39.50 and includes reports for you, your high school and up to four college choices.

How much does the ACT plus Writing cost?
The ACT Plus Writing exam costs $56.50 and includes reports for you, your high school and up to four college choices.

How do I register for the ACT?
You may register online.

Can I use a calculator on the ACT?
You may use a calculator on the ACT mathematics test, but not on any of the other tests in the ACT. You are not required to use a calculator. All problems on the mathematics test can be solved without a calculator.

Are parents allowed to attend classes with their student?
We do not allow non-paid individuals/parents to audit the class. Only paid students and instructors are allowed in the classroom.

About ACT Exam Prep

For information about ACT Exam Prep - click here.