Like the SAT, the ACT is a college admission test. ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. However, the ACT is more of an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities. The SAT also has a mandatory writing test. ACT has an optional writing test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you're applying to. Also, the SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.
People of all ages and grade levels are eligible to take the ACT. However, it is often recommended that high school students take the test as a junior. Advantages to testing in your junior year:
- You've probably completed the coursework corresponding to the test material.
- You'll have your test scores and other information in time to help you plan your senior year. (For example, you may decide to take an additional class in an area in which your test score was low.)
- Colleges will know of your interests and have your scores in time to contact you during the summer before your senior year, when many of them are sending information about admissions, course placement, scholarships, and special programs to prospective students.
- You'll have information about yourself and the schools you're considering prior to your campus visits, making your visits more focused.
- You'll have the opportunity to retest if you feel your scores don't accurately reflect your abilities in the areas tested.
What's on the Test
Test duration is from 8 am to 12:15 pm or until 1 pm if a student is completing the writing section.
All questions are multiple-choice! For math, you need knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills to answer the problems, but you aren't required to know complex formulas and perform extensive computation.
Measures standard written English and rhetorical skills. Includes punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style. For more details, click here http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/readdescript.html
Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12 ranging from pre-algebra to a bit of trigonometry. For more details, click here http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/mathcontent.html
Measures reading comprehension. For more details, click here http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/readdescript.html
Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. For more details, click here http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/scicontent.html
Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses. For more details, click here http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/writingdescript.html
Cost and Fee Waivers
For information related to costs for ACT, click here http://www.actstudent.org/scores/send/costs.html
If you can't afford the registration fee for the ACT (No Writing) or ACT Plus Writing, you may be eligible for an ACT Fee Waiver. Fee waivers cover only the basic registration fee for your test option, including up to four college choices (if you provide valid codes when you register). Waivers do not cover the late registration fee, test date or test center changes, standby fee, or any other services. If you are eligible, you may use a maximum of two separate fee waivers total. The waiver is used once you register, even if you do not test on the requested test date.
You cannot request a fee waiver directly from ACT. Please visit the college/career center for the fee waiver form. If you receive an ACT Fee Waiver Form, follow the "Student Directions" on it for your registration method (or if requesting Special Testing).
To be eligible, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- Currently enrolled in high school in the 11th or 12th grade.
- Either a United States citizen or testing in the U. S., U.S. territories, or Puerto Rico.
- Meet one or more indicators of economic need listed on the ACT Fee Waiver form.