The American College Test (ACT) measures your readiness for college entrance, and it consists of four required sections: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. The test also includes an optional writing component. There is no penalty for marking answers incorrectly on the multiple-choice part of the test, so it is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered during this section.
- The forty-five minute English section is composed of 75 questions.
- The math section is 60 minutes with 60 questions.
- The reading section is a 35-minute test with 40 questions.
- The science reasoning test is a 35 minute test with 40 questions.
ACT scores on all of the required sections range from 1 to 36 in each subject. The composite ACT score is composed from the average of all of the subtest scores. Accordingly, a perfect ACT is a 36. Any score less than 15 is considered low, and an average ACT score is 20 or 21. Scores over 30 are considered high. Most Ivy League schools require a score of 30 or above for admission. Along with your numerical scores, you will also receive a national rank percentage for each section.This rank will tell you how your scores compare with the scores other students who took the test.
The optional writing section takes 30 minutes. In this section, students receive a prompt about a social issue that applies to high school students. This section does not require any one particular essay structure or format. ACT writing scores range from two to 12. Students receive a combined English/writing ACT score ranging from 1 to 36. Since this English/writing score is separate from the English sub-score, the writing score has no effect on the overall composite score.
You should receive your ACT score in the mail a few weeks after you take the test, or you can access your score online. The ACT is offered on several dates throughout the year, and students may take the ACT as many as twelve times. See the chart below for specific dates and registration deadlines. After you decide on a specific testing date, then you can find a testing site near you and register online. The regular ACT costs $42.50, and with the optional writing test, the total cost is $58.50. With both options, you will receive your ACT score in the mail, and the testing organization will send your score to your high school and up to four colleges. You can request additional scores for $12 per school.