ACT stands for American College Testing. It’s an entrance exam that a student takes to get admission in the U.S. colleges and universities wherever applicable. The non-profit ACT administers this test. The purpose of ACT is to measure a school student’s readiness for college and provide a standardised score that admission officers can use to compare all the applicants. Along with the ACT test scores, colleges and universities also consider high school grades, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation from teachers and mentors, interviews, and essays (some colleges may ask for it). The significance of ACT scores in the application process depends on college to college. However, in most of the cases, the higher scores in the ACT test provides a better leeway in getting admission to a top college.
When should you take the ACT test?
Whether you are aspiring for the ACT or SAT, it is advisable to take these tests during the spring (March to June) of junior year (eleventh) or fall (September to December) of senior year(twelfth).
The simple rule is when you take a test at a senior level, you should leave some time to retake the test if you need to improve your score before applying to college. Hence, it would help if you appeared first for a test date between April to June. This kind of practice will render you plenty of time to improve mistakes and formulate a better plan for clearing the exam with the top scores or at least a good score.
What does ACT test entail? How long is the exam duration?
It comprises four prominent sections:
- Writing is optional
If you take the writing test, it can get you additional scores. The duration of the exam is 2 hours and 55 minutes. But if you choose to write an optional essay, the time will stretch up to 3 hours and 35 minutes. The ACT scores range on a scale of 1 to 36.
What is the ACT test fee for 2020-21?
- Without writing – 55$ (scores sent up to four colleges, which you select during the test registration)
- With writing – 70$ (scores sent up to four colleges)
- 1 section retest – 44$
- 2 section retest – 48$
- 3 section retest – 52 $
For additional fees, please click here to check.
In case you change your mind regarding the college selection, you need to send an online request to ACT and ask them to send your score report to the new colleges. However, for this request, you will be charged a nominal amount by ACT.
How to register for the ACT test?
The next registrations will open in July. Visit the ACT website and register.
If you are an international aspirant, you need to create a Non-US account.
How to prepare for the ACT test?
Join the ACT Academy for Maths, Science and English section, which is free and personalised and practice through test papers.
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Difference between SAT and ACT
Both the SAT and ACT are doors that open your way to college admissions in the U.S.
ACT vs SAT – Which one should you take?
Nowadays, many students are taking both the tests because the content and style are similar in both the tests. However, what may be challenging for you while taking both tests is – time pressure and types of questions that come in both the tests. Hence, the best way to decide is to look at the practice papers of both the tests or try to solve the questions and find out which exam is more suitable for you. You may be comfortable in appearing for both the examinations.
Some experts say that students who have a robust English background can flourish in ACT, whereas the students who are good in Maths may do best in SAT.
If you plan to take both the tests, it is advisable to do it in the fall of the junior year and prepare at length for the preferred exam.
Along with the above factors that we discussed, the test timings and cost can be other components, which you may consider while deciding.