College preparation: ACT

What is the ACT?

The ACT is an achievement test that measures what a student has learned in school. It is composed of five parts: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test.  Unlike the SAT the writing portion on the ACT is optional.  Match and science are focused on in this test in contrast to the SAT.

How is the ACT scored?

Your ACT score is based on the number of correct answers, however there is no penalty for guessing.  The ACT is more of a "big picture" type of test that focuses on how you do overall.  If you do not do so well in one section but ace another, your score may still add up to be strong.  A 36 on the ACT is perfect score, while 21 is the national average. Anything below a 15 is seen as below average.

When is it offered?

The test dates occur in September, October, December, February, April, and June.  However, just like the SAT you must register at least a month before the test in order to take the test.  If you register after the deadline, a late fee is required.

Do you have to take it?

Most schools only ask for the SAT or the ACT.  Look at what your college requires, however taking both tests is not a bad idea.  You may score higher on one than the other, or you may do well on both which increases your chances of acceptance.

How do you prepare?

Preparation for the ACT is similar to the SAT.

  • Private tutor
  • Classroom courses
  • Small discussions
  • Online courses
  • ACT books

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