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ACT Exam | An Overview

Much like the SAT, there is another exam: ACT. Most colleges do not really prefer a particular exam between SAT and ACT, so you can attempt either of the two. Let’s take a look at the ACT exam.

ACT Exam : An overview


ACT is an acronym for American College Testing. This is a standardised test aiming to level the field for applications with the US and internationally. The same letter grade in two different schools or countries might not mean the same thing. ACT, being a standardized

ACT Exam : Dates and Notifications


ACT exam is offered seven times a year in the following months : September, October, December, February, April, June and July. You can choose a test date and write it up to 12 times in these months when it is offered. You can do that in the official page of ACT.

ACT Exam : Sections


ACT Exam has 4 sections with an optional essay section. Choosing to attempt the essay section depends on the school you are applying for. Some require the section while some don’t. Check out the school’s requirements before deciding whether to take the essay section. Apart from that following are the sections

  1. English Section : This sections consists of 75 questions to be attempted in 45 minutes
  2. Reading section : This sections consists of 40 questions to be attempted in 35 minutes
  3. Maths Section : This sections consists of 60 questions to be attempted in 60 minutes
  4. Science section : This sections consists of 40 questions to be attempted in 35 minutes

The essay section is for 30 minutes duration and this is an optional section. Considering the 4 sections, the ACT is 2hr 55min long and 3hr 35min with the essay section added.

ACT Exam: Scoring


ACT is score on a composite score ranging from 1 to 36, such as the individual sections themselves. Each section is score from 1 to 36 and the composite score is an average of your scores. The optional section does not count towards your score. The writing section provides additional scores for you to report to the schools you are applying for.

Understand how the scores are computed based on the example below

Section English Reading Maths Science Composite score
Score 28 30 31 29 (28+30+31+29)/4 = 29.5 ~ 30

The final score is an average of the 4 sections rounded off to the nearest whole number. Any score with a fraction less than half is rounded down while any score with fraction half or more is rounded up.

ACT test costs about $50.50 without the essay section and $67.00 with the essay section for US students. For international students, the fee is $150.00 without the essay and $166.50 with the essay section.

ACT exam doesn’t have penalty for incorrect answers.The exam comes in a pre-determined fixed order – English, Reading, Maths, and Science. Essay is after Science, if opted for.

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