Guide to the ACT for College Admissions

ACT scoreIf this blog is in your search results then you probably have heard of the ACT. And if you haven’t come across it earlier, relax you have arrived at the right place. The ACT is gaining popularity in recent times and most of the colleges in the US have started accepting the ACT score as eligibility criteria for the applicants. 

ACT is a standardized college admission test in the United States widely used for college admissions. The ACT is designed in a way to examine the student’s preparation for college and allows the colleges to compare the proficiency of the applicants for better enrollment. This article will give you answers to all your queries related to the ACT.

What is the ACT?

The ACT is a standardised exam in the US which stands for American College Testing. The ACT is accepted by all the universities in the US for undergraduate programs, and it is not just limited to the US. Many universities outside of the US also accept the ACT score as a part of their undergraduate admission selection procedure. 

The ACT is controlled and conducted by the American College Test, a non-profit organization in the US. The test mainly focuses on four academic areas: English, Mathematics, Reading and comprehension, and Science reasoning. An optional writing test is also included which doesn’t affect the overall score. 

ACT: Mode of Examination

The ACT offers both online and pen-and-paper modes for students. The ACT focuses on four main sections, i.e., English, math, science, reasoning, and reading. The time constraint for the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes. Students with an optional writing section will get 3 hours and 35 minutes.

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Which are the colleges that accept the ACT score for admission?

Almost all universities in the US accept the ACT score as a deciding factor for admission to their undergraduate programs. More than 200 colleges outside the US have also started accepting the ACT score for selecting students.

The maximum score for the ACT is 1-36. As per the ACT report the average score in 2023 was 19.5, with a gain of awareness the average score is rising every year and it is advisable to start preparing for the test as early as possible. 

Some of the colleges in the US accepting ACT scores are

  • The IVY League universities
  • Public universities like UCLA, University of Florida, University of Michigan, etc
  • Private universities like Standford University, MIT, Duke University, etc
  • Liberal art colleges like Williams College, Amherst College, etc
  • Regional universities like the University of Washington, University of Alabama, etc
  • Specialized Institutes like Caltech, RISD, United States of Naval Academy, etc.

How to Prepare for ACT

To start preparation for the ACT, the very first step is to be familiar with the syllabus and format of the examination. 

The examination mainly has four sections with an optional writing section. 

  • Mathematics section:  60 questions, 60 minutes, MCQ-type questions. Covers Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc.
  • English section: 75 questions, 45 minutes, MCQ-type questions. Covers grammar, rhetorical rules, sentence correction, etc.
  • Science section: 40 questions, 35 minutes, MCQ-type questions. Covers biology, physics, chemistry, space science, etc.
  • Reading Section: 40 questions, 35 minutes, MCQ-type questions. This section covers four main sections:   Fiction or literary, social sciences, humanities, and natural science. 

The Key Points to Remember while Preparing for the ACT

  • Maintain regularity
  • Prepare a customized preparation plan
  • Follow up on the syllabus and exam-related topics of the ACT
  • Keep yourself away from stress

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What is the registration fee for the ACT?

Ans: The registration fee for students is around $68 (without the writing section)  and $96 (with the writing section).

Q2: Who is eligible for the ACT?

Ans: Every student from grades 6-9 and high school graduates are eligible for the ACT.

Q3: Am I eligible for a fee waiver?

Ans: To be eligible for a fee waiver you must meet some of the criteria like currently enrolled in high school, family living in federally subsidized public housing, testing in the US or US territories or Puerto Rico, etc.

Q4: What is the best way to study for the ACT?

Ans: The best way varies from person to person. However, the most common steps to consider are syllabus awareness, regularity, and stress management. 

Q5: Can I retake the ACT?

Ans: Yes, one can appear for the ACT for the utmost 12 times.

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