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About the ACT

Gain an Insight to the ACT.

Find Out More About the ACT

What is the ACT?

The Building Blocks of the Test

There are four compulsory sections to complete in the ACT Test: English, Math, Reading, and Science. These four sections are each scored out of 36 and your composite ACT score is the average of all four components. The essay is optional though some top universities consider it essential in your application. ACT Essay scores are reported separately from overall test scores.

ACT English

(45 minutes)
(75 questions)
Skills Required
• Usage and Mechanics
• Rhetorical Skills

Passages
• Various Topics

Question Types
• Punctuation
• Grammar and usage
• Sentence structure
ACT Math

(60 minutes)
(60 questions)
Skills Required
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills

Focus
• Pre-Algebra
• Elementary Algebra
• Intermediate Algebra
• Coordinate Geometry
• Plane Geometry
• Trigonometry

Question Types
• Preparing for Higher Math
• Integrating Essential Skills
• Modelling
ACT Reading

(35 minutes)
(45 questions)
Skills Required
• Key Ideas and Details
• Craft and Structure
• Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Passages
• Various Topics

Question Types
• Reference and Reasoning skills
• Identifying and Interpreting Main Ideas
• Sequencing
• Cause and Effect
• Tone and Method/Style
ACT Science

(35 minutes)
(40 questions)
Skills Required
• Interpretation of data
• Scientific Investigation
• Evaluation of Models, Inferences and Experimental Results

Passages
• Data Representation
• Research Summaries
• Conflicting Viewpoints

Question Types
• Recognize and understand basic features and related concepts of the provided information
• Critically examine the relationship between the information provided and the conclusions
drawn or hypotheses developed
• Generalize from given information to gain new information, draw conclusions,
or make predictions
ACT Writing
(Essay Question)

(40 minutes)
(1 question)
Skills Required
• Good command of the English Language
• Argumentative Essay Writing
• Critical Thought
• Analysis and Evaluation of Current Affairs and Debates

Learn the Difference Between These Two Tests

The ACT vs. the SAT

A common question we often hear is “What’s the difference between the SAT and ACT?” Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test which they would fare better in. Some students even choose to attempt both before submitting the test with the best score.

 

Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the ACT and SAT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.

 

Here are some key similarities and differences between the ACT and SAT:

 ACTSAT
ScoringACT English (out of 36)
ACT Reading (out of 36)
ACT Math (out of 36)
ACT Science (out of 36)

Essay
(Optional - scored separately - bonus 12)

Composite score (average of all 4 sections)
SAT Reading and Writing (out of 800)
SAT Math section (out of 800)



Essay
(Optional - Scored separately - bonus 24)

Composite score of 400-1600
FormatComputerized Paper & Pencil
DatesApril
June
September
October
December
March
May
October
December
DurationEnglish 45 mins
Mathematics 60 mins
Reading 35 mins
Science 35 mins
Reading 65 mins
Writing and Language 35 mins
Math (No calculator) 25 mins
Math (w calculator) 55 mins
Seconds per QuestionEnglish (36)
Math (60)
Reading (52)
Science (52)
Reading (75)
Writing (45)
Math (75)
Math FormulasTo be memorisedProvided
Calculator AllowedIn entire testIn one sub-test
Science SectionYesNo
ReadingBeing able to remember the locations
of details in reading passages gives you
a greater advantage on the ACT. No evidence
support questions.
Questions always in chronological
order and a number line is provided.
Evidence support questions here.
Writing / EnglishMore focused on grammar, punctuation,
and sentence structure, big idea questions.
More focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
MathWider range of Mathematical concepts—
such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
Focus on Algebra, along with other
topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.
ScienceComfort with scientific terms and experience gathering
scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a
greater advantage on the ACT.
- No Science Section -
Scientific data and passages present in
Reading and Writing sections.
EssayAnalyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.
Read a passage and explain how the author
uses certain strategies to build an argument
and persuade an audience.

For those who are good at critically analyzing texts.

What You Need to Know About the ACT Scoring System

The ACT Scoring

How is the ACT scored? 

The ACT score range is between 1 to 36 for your total score. The average score across all four sections are taken. Your ELA score is the composite of your English and Reading section, while your STEM score is the composite of your Math and Science section.

What makes a good ACT score?

It is difficult to measure what a good ACT Score is. However, you should aim to score within the 95th percentile on average due to competitive university admissions. Every year, each test taker’s score is updated with the most recent year’s percentiles. To gain admission to the Ivy League or top-tier universities, we recommend that you try to get a score of 34 and above to get a competitive edge over other university applicants.

ACT Composite ScorePercentile
3699+
3399
3196
3095
2992
2890

Section ScoresEnglish PercentileMath PercentileReading PercentileScience Percentile
3699+99+99+99+
3599979999
3397949798
3092898995
2888848492
2682787887

Required ACT Scores at Top Colleges

Ivy League UniversitiesAverage ACT Scores
Yale University33
Harvard College34
Princeton University34
Columbia University34
University of Pennsylvania33
Brown University33
Dartmouth College32
Cornell University32

Top Private UniversitiesAverage ACT Scores
Duke University33
University of Chicago33
Vanderbilt University34
Stanford University33
Columbia University34
Northwestern University33
Carnegie Mellon University33
Tufts University33
New York University30

Registering for the ACT

Registration Information

How to Register for the ACT

  1. Sign in to your free ACT account or register for a new account.
  2. Provide your full name and other identifying information. Ensure that this information is exactly the same as seen on your photo ID.
  3. Select your preferred test date and center.
  4. Choose to register for the ACT with or without the Writing section (essay). See which colleges recommend or require it.
  5. Upload a photo ID that meets ACT’s specific photo requirements.
  6. Check out, and print your Admission Ticket.

Late Registration Protocol

 

If you missed the regular ACT registration deadline, you can still register during the late registration period. Here’s what you need to know about ACT late registration.

 

  • The late registration period typically extends for 14 days following the regular registration deadline. For specific late registration deadlines, visit our ACT Test Dates page.
  • The late registration fee is US$29.50 (in addition to the regular registration fee).
  • The process for registering during the late registration period is the same as it is during the regular registration period. Go to the ACT website to register online or by postal mail.

Further Details about the ACT Test Registration

Important Note: New Computerized Format

As of September 2018, ACT.org has announced that all ACT tests taken internationally will be in a computerized format. 

For more information on the ACT and its move to a new test format, please click here.

Exam Dates

Exam DateRegister ByLate Registration
September 8 2018August 3 2018August 17 2018
October 27 2018September 21 2018October 10 2018
December 8 2018November 2 2018November 25 2018
February 9 2019January 11 2019January 18 2019

*While the deadline to register for the ACT is stated as being a month before the actual test, we strongly recommend that you sign up for the test as soon as you know you are going to take it. This is because the spots usually run out even before the deadline. To avoid disappointment, please register in advance. Click here to create an account on the ACT.org website.

International Test Fees

TestFees
ACTUS$46.00 + International Testing Fee (US$57.50)
ACT with WritingUS$62.50 + International Testing Fee (US$57.50)

*For further information about additional costs and fees, please click here.

International Test Locations

*Due to ACT’s move to a computerized format, their international test locations are still being updated. Please click here to see their most updated test locations. Otherwise, please log on to act.org to check their locations. 

Take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding the ACT.

FAQs

FAQs about the ACT Exam

What is the ACT?
The ACT is a college readiness assessment that is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. To find out more about the ACT, click here.
What is tested on the ACT?
For more information regarding the contents and format of the ACT, click here.
What is a good score?
Admissions are competitive, and hence you should aim for a high percentile rank. The percentile rank indicates the percentage of tests taken with scores lower than you for the most recent three-year period. Every year, each test taker’s score is updated with the most recent year’s percentiles. “Good” is subjective, and the definition of a “good score” depends on your objective. Most schools publish average scores of the admitted class. If you are from an over-represented group (e.g. Indian Male Engineer), or if you reside in a region known for higher scores (e.g. Singapore), then you should aim to score commensurately higher than these averages for your target schools. For more information regarding the scoring of the ACT, click here.
How can I register for the ACT?
For instructions on how to register for the ACT, click here.
When and where can I take the ACT?
For more information regarding the dates and locations for ACT seatings in Singapore, click here.
How much does the ACT cost?
The test fee is US$109.50 with the essay, and US$93.50 without. Your score is officially reported only to the schools selected by you. You can send the scores to additional schools by paying a fee of US$37 per test date per report or US$40.50 for a priority report to be sent within the United States. For more information regarding the ACT fees, click here.
What accommodations does the ACT provide for those with disabilities?
If you have a disability that prevents you from sitting for the ACT under standard conditions, you may request for accommodations. A decision regarding your accommodation request may take up to three to four weeks. You must apply for and receive an accommodation decision before scheduling your test date. For more information on test accommodations, click here.

FAQs about ACT Preparation

How can I prepare for the test?
There are various resources available to help you prepare for the test. For more resources to assist with studying for the test, click here.
How long does it take me to prepare for the ACT?
The duration of your preparation necessary is dependent on multiple factors:
• Your target ACT score
• Your initial ACT score
• Number of hours you can devote to preparation every week
• Speed at which you internalize the concepts and apply the necessary approaches.

For some advice on how you can study for the test, click here.
What are the course fees for ACT preparation with IvyPrep?
Our course fees depend on the program you sign up for.
Click on the following links to view the different courses and their fees:
ACT Masterclass
ACT Private Tutoring
How much self-study do I have to do?
In order for you to get a 30+ score, you will need to work smart. There will be work for you to do at home (post-class homework/assignments) with the specific purpose of getting you used to the concepts and techniques we cover. You should also take the initiative to clarify any doubts with the tutors and schedule practice tests so that you can continually track your improvement and learning.

The ACT

Find Out More About the ACT

What is the ACT?

The Building Blocks of the Test

There are four compulsory sections to complete in the ACT Test: English, Math, Reading, and Science. These four sections are each scored out of 36 and your composite ACT score is the average of all four components. The essay is optional though some top universities consider it essential in your application. ACT Essay scores are reported separately from overall test scores.

ACT English

(45 minutes)
(75 questions)
Skills Required
• Usage and Mechanics
• Rhetorical Skills

Passages
• Various Topics

Question Types
• Punctuation
• Grammar and usage
• Sentence structure
ACT Math

(60 minutes)
(60 questions)
Skills Required
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills

Focus
• Pre-Algebra
• Elementary Algebra
• Intermediate Algebra
• Coordinate Geometry
• Plane Geometry
• Trigonometry

Question Types
• Preparing for Higher Math
• Integrating Essential Skills
• Modelling
ACT Reading

(35 minutes)
(45 questions)
Skills Required
• Key Ideas and Details
• Craft and Structure
• Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Passages
• Various Topics

Question Types
• Reference and Reasoning skills
• Identifying and Interpreting Main Ideas
• Sequencing
• Cause and Effect
• Tone and Method/Style
ACT Science

(35 minutes)
(40 questions)
Skills Required
• Interpretation of data
• Scientific Investigation
• Evaluation of Models, Inferences and Experimental Results

Passages
• Data Representation
• Research Summaries
• Conflicting Viewpoints

Question Types
• Recognize and understand basic features and related concepts of the provided information
• Critically examine the relationship between the information provided and the conclusions
drawn or hypotheses developed
• Generalize from given information to gain new information, draw conclusions,
or make predictions
ACT Writing
(Essay Question)

(40 minutes)
(1 question)
Skills Required
• Good command of the English Language
• Argumentative Essay Writing
• Critical Thought
• Analysis and Evaluation of Current Affairs and Debates

ACT vs. SAT

Learn the Difference Between These Two Tests

The ACT vs. the SAT

A common question we often hear is “What’s the difference between the SAT and ACT?” Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test which they would fare better in. Some students even choose to attempt both before submitting the test with the best score.

 

Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the ACT and SAT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.

 

Here are some key similarities and differences between the ACT and SAT:

 ACTSAT
ScoringACT English (out of 36)
ACT Reading (out of 36)
ACT Math (out of 36)
ACT Science (out of 36)

Essay
(Optional - scored separately - bonus 12)

Composite score (average of all 4 sections)
SAT Reading and Writing (out of 800)
SAT Math section (out of 800)



Essay
(Optional - Scored separately - bonus 24)

Composite score of 400-1600
FormatComputerized Paper & Pencil
DatesApril
June
September
October
December
March
May
October
December
DurationEnglish 45 mins
Mathematics 60 mins
Reading 35 mins
Science 35 mins
Reading 65 mins
Writing and Language 35 mins
Math (No calculator) 25 mins
Math (w calculator) 55 mins
Seconds per QuestionEnglish (36)
Math (60)
Reading (52)
Science (52)
Reading (75)
Writing (45)
Math (75)
Math FormulasTo be memorisedProvided
Calculator AllowedIn entire testIn one sub-test
Science SectionYesNo
ReadingBeing able to remember the locations
of details in reading passages gives you
a greater advantage on the ACT. No evidence
support questions.
Questions always in chronological
order and a number line is provided.
Evidence support questions here.
Writing / EnglishMore focused on grammar, punctuation,
and sentence structure, big idea questions.
More focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
MathWider range of Mathematical concepts—
such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
Focus on Algebra, along with other
topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.
ScienceComfort with scientific terms and experience gathering
scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a
greater advantage on the ACT.
- No Science Section -
Scientific data and passages present in
Reading and Writing sections.
EssayAnalyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.
Read a passage and explain how the author
uses certain strategies to build an argument
and persuade an audience.

For those who are good at critically analyzing texts.

Scoring

What You Need to Know About the ACT Scoring System

The ACT Scoring

How is the ACT scored? 

The ACT score range is between 1 to 36 for your total score. The average score across all four sections are taken. Your ELA score is the composite of your English and Reading section, while your STEM score is the composite of your Math and Science section.

What makes a good ACT score?

It is difficult to measure what a good ACT Score is. However, you should aim to score within the 95th percentile on average due to competitive university admissions. Every year, each test taker’s score is updated with the most recent year’s percentiles. To gain admission to the Ivy League or top-tier universities, we recommend that you try to get a score of 34 and above to get a competitive edge over other university applicants.

ACT Composite ScorePercentile
3699+
3399
3196
3095
2992
2890

Section ScoresEnglish PercentileMath PercentileReading PercentileScience Percentile
3699+99+99+99+
3599979999
3397949798
3092898995
2888848492
2682787887

Required ACT Scores at Top Colleges

Ivy League UniversitiesAverage ACT Scores
Yale University33
Harvard College34
Princeton University34
Columbia University34
University of Pennsylvania33
Brown University33
Dartmouth College32
Cornell University32

Top Private UniversitiesAverage ACT Scores
Duke University33
University of Chicago33
Vanderbilt University34
Stanford University33
Columbia University34
Northwestern University33
Carnegie Mellon University33
Tufts University33
New York University30

Registration

Registering for the ACT

Registration Information

How to Register for the ACT

  1. Sign in to your free ACT account or register for a new account.
  2. Provide your full name and other identifying information. Ensure that this information is exactly the same as seen on your photo ID.
  3. Select your preferred test date and center.
  4. Choose to register for the ACT with or without the Writing section (essay). See which colleges recommend or require it.
  5. Upload a photo ID that meets ACT’s specific photo requirements.
  6. Check out, and print your Admission Ticket.

Late Registration Protocol

 

If you missed the regular ACT registration deadline, you can still register during the late registration period. Here’s what you need to know about ACT late registration.

 

  • The late registration period typically extends for 14 days following the regular registration deadline. For specific late registration deadlines, visit our ACT Test Dates page.
  • The late registration fee is US$29.50 (in addition to the regular registration fee).
  • The process for registering during the late registration period is the same as it is during the regular registration period. Go to the ACT website to register online or by postal mail.
Info

Further Details about the ACT Test Registration

Important Note: New Computerized Format

As of September 2018, ACT.org has announced that all ACT tests taken internationally will be in a computerized format. 

For more information on the ACT and its move to a new test format, please click here.

Exam Dates

Exam DateRegister ByLate Registration
September 8 2018August 3 2018August 17 2018
October 27 2018September 21 2018October 10 2018
December 8 2018November 2 2018November 25 2018
February 9 2019January 11 2019January 18 2019

*While the deadline to register for the ACT is stated as being a month before the actual test, we strongly recommend that you sign up for the test as soon as you know you are going to take it. This is because the spots usually run out even before the deadline. To avoid disappointment, please register in advance. Click here to create an account on the ACT.org website.

International Test Fees

TestFees
ACTUS$46.00 + International Testing Fee (US$57.50)
ACT with WritingUS$62.50 + International Testing Fee (US$57.50)

*For further information about additional costs and fees, please click here.

International Test Locations

*Due to ACT’s move to a computerized format, their international test locations are still being updated. Please click here to see their most updated test locations. Otherwise, please log on to act.org to check their locations. 

FAQs

Take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding the ACT.

FAQs

FAQs about the ACT Exam

What is the ACT?
The ACT is a college readiness assessment that is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. To find out more about the ACT, click here.
What is tested on the ACT?
For more information regarding the contents and format of the ACT, click here.
What is a good score?
Admissions are competitive, and hence you should aim for a high percentile rank. The percentile rank indicates the percentage of tests taken with scores lower than you for the most recent three-year period. Every year, each test taker’s score is updated with the most recent year’s percentiles. “Good” is subjective, and the definition of a “good score” depends on your objective. Most schools publish average scores of the admitted class. If you are from an over-represented group (e.g. Indian Male Engineer), or if you reside in a region known for higher scores (e.g. Singapore), then you should aim to score commensurately higher than these averages for your target schools. For more information regarding the scoring of the ACT, click here.
How can I register for the ACT?
For instructions on how to register for the ACT, click here.
When and where can I take the ACT?
For more information regarding the dates and locations for ACT seatings in Singapore, click here.
How much does the ACT cost?
The test fee is US$109.50 with the essay, and US$93.50 without. Your score is officially reported only to the schools selected by you. You can send the scores to additional schools by paying a fee of US$37 per test date per report or US$40.50 for a priority report to be sent within the United States. For more information regarding the ACT fees, click here.
What accommodations does the ACT provide for those with disabilities?
If you have a disability that prevents you from sitting for the ACT under standard conditions, you may request for accommodations. A decision regarding your accommodation request may take up to three to four weeks. You must apply for and receive an accommodation decision before scheduling your test date. For more information on test accommodations, click here.

FAQs about ACT Preparation

How can I prepare for the test?
There are various resources available to help you prepare for the test. For more resources to assist with studying for the test, click here.
How long does it take me to prepare for the ACT?
The duration of your preparation necessary is dependent on multiple factors:
• Your target ACT score
• Your initial ACT score
• Number of hours you can devote to preparation every week
• Speed at which you internalize the concepts and apply the necessary approaches.

For some advice on how you can study for the test, click here.
What are the course fees for ACT preparation with IvyPrep?
Our course fees depend on the program you sign up for.
Click on the following links to view the different courses and their fees:
ACT Masterclass
ACT Private Tutoring
How much self-study do I have to do?
In order for you to get a 30+ score, you will need to work smart. There will be work for you to do at home (post-class homework/assignments) with the specific purpose of getting you used to the concepts and techniques we cover. You should also take the initiative to clarify any doubts with the tutors and schedule practice tests so that you can continually track your improvement and learning.