How to Prepare for the ACT, Everything You Need to Know About the ACT: The Basics

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What is the ACT?

The ACT is a standardized test designed to measure college readiness. There are 5 sections divided by subject that contain questions that require use of your reasoning, problem solving and critical reading skills. The ACT sections are:

There Are 5 Sections Divided by Subject That Contain Questions That Require Use of Your Reasoning, Problem Solving and Critical Reading Skills
SectionQuestionsTime
English75 multiple-choice questions60 minutes
Math60 multiple-choice questions60 minutes
Reading40 multiple-choice questions35 minutes
Science40 multiple-choice questions35 minutes
Writing (optional)Persuasive essay40 minutes

When Can I Take the ACT?

The exam is offered 7 times a year (6 times for test-takers who live in New York) . Plan to take the ACT at least two months before the application deadlines for colleges and any scholarships you plan to apply for. Registration is available either by mail or online. You need around 40 minutes to complete your registration online; be prepared with a recent headshot of yourself and a credit card or other form of payment.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the ACT?

Registering for the ACT without the writing section costs $ 52, and registration for the ACT with the writing section costs $ 68. Additional fees may apply for late registration, changing your testing date or center, or sending your score to more than four colleges. Fee waivers for the ACT are available for qualifying students; check with your school counselor for more information on requesting a fee waiver for the ACT.

Should I Take the ACT or the SAT?

Acceptance or requirement of scores varies by college, so check with your specific school for their preference. Often the choice will be up to you.

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