The ACT (American College Test): Everything You Need to Know

The term “American College Test” refers to a standardized entrance examination that the American College Test program administers. This test comprises several multiple-choice questions to evaluate the student’s knowledge base on verbal and quantitative reasoning and science and another optional writing test to assess critical writing skills. Students mostly take this examination in their junior or senior year of high school.

The objective of the ACT is to measure high school student’s readiness for college and give colleges a common data point that they can use to compare all applicants. College admission officers review students’ standardized test scores alongside their high school GPA, their classes in high school, admission interviews, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation from mentors or teachers, and personal essays. The importance of ACT scores in the application process varies from one school to another. Usually, the higher students score on the ACT, the more options they’ll get for attending and paying for college.

The majority of high school students take the ACT during the fall of their senior year or spring of their junior year. Students should leave enough time to re-take the test if they need to raise their scores before applying to college.

The ACT has four sections, namely English, Math, Science, and Reading. It also has an optional writing test. Some schools may require students to complete this writing test. The total duration of the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes.

·         English: 45 Minutes

·         Math: 60 Minutes

·         Science: 35 Minutes

·         Reading: 35 Minutes

If students need to take the optional 40-minute writing test, the total length will be 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Each section’s score is measured on a 1 – 36 point scale. The composite score is the average of four section scores. If students take the optional writing test, they’ll receive a separate score on it. Therefore, the writing score doesn’t affect the composite score. The ACT scores remain valid for five years from the year in which a student took the test. ACT results are typically released within eight weeks from the test administration, and students can view them online. If students take the ACT with the writing test, their writing scores will be published online as soon as they’re ready.

The ACT is offered only a few times each year between September and July. So, students don’t have the luxury of selecting a date at their convenience. They need to plan the exam prep according to the test dates.

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