Essentials on ACT-Test Scoring, Dates and Tips

ACT Test Sections and Scores

ACT consists of 215 MCQs categorized into 4 subject areas: English, math, reading and science with additional optional writing test (students can appear and have factored into their overall score). Writing test is optional for you to take, it may be desired by few colleges and universities you're applying to. Meanwhile the college search helps you know what your school is looking for as ACT or ACT Plus Writing. If you want a college, where the writing test is mandatory, you must appear for it.

Students will get score for all the 4 sections ranging from 1 to 36, with 36 as the highest score and a composite score that is an average of those 4 scores.

For students taking the optional writing test, score is averaged with the required English test, with ⅔ of the score on the basis of the English test and ⅓ on the writing test and the national average in 2009 was 21.1.

ACT Test Dates and Costs

ACT is conducted six times in a year (i.e.. September, October, December, February, April and June); the ACT Plus Writing test is offered on all of those dates except for the month of September.

It is suggested that students appear for Act during junior year as they will be left with ample of time to retake it if required. It is important to consider that it can take even eight weeks to get your scores, so register for the test atleast before two months as against your deadlines for scholarships, colleges and universities.

ACT costs around $35 and the ACT Plus Writing is of $50.50. You can register by yourselves at the ACT website and also change your test date if in case required and check your scores.

ACT Tips & Tactics

There are many programs that can help up your scores to meet university standards or requirements for your prospective majors or desired degree, some of the useful links are:

  • Doorsteptutor
  • PrepMe
  • Princeton Review
  • Kaplan Test Prep
  • Sylvan Learning

Act has no negative marking, so guess freely.

ACT is a curriculum-based test-Questions are related to what you have learned in your high school English, math and science classes.

Consider retaking the test if you're not satisfied with your scores. ACT states that more than half the people who retake the test get improvement in their scores. Test can be retaken upto 12 times but most common scenario is taking the test once in junior year and again in senior year if you get low scores in junior.