The ACT is an internationally administered, standardized test that helps universities to evaluate candidates for undergraduate study. The ACT comprises four subject areas — English, mathematics, reading, and science and includes an optional essay. Also administered in paper-and-pencil, the ACT lasts 2 hours and 55 minutes (excluding the Writing Test) or 3 hours and 25 minutes (including the Writing Test). The weight placed on ACT scores varies from school to school. Other important factors that schools consider in their admissions decisions are: Your high school GPA, Your academic transcript, Your letters of recommendation, Your interviews, and Your personal essays.
What specifically does the ACT test?
The ACT has 4 tests: English, Reading, Math and Science, as well as, an optional 30 minute essay. Some schools may require the essay, so be sure to ask before you take the test.
How is the ACT scored?
You’ll earn one ACT score (1 to 36) on each test (English, Math, Reading, and Science), and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these 4 tests. Usually, when people ask about your score, they’re referring to your composite ACT score. The composite score falls between 1 and 36. The national average is about 21.
If, for example, you scored 31 on the English, 30 on the Math, 29 on the Reading, and 30 on the Science Test, your composite ACT score would be 30.
You’ll receive sub-scores in English, Math, and Reading that range between 1 and 18. These scores provide you with more detail about your performance, but they are not actually used by colleges or universities.
The ACT includes an optional essay, known as the Writing Test. If you take the Writing Test, you will receive a Writing Test sub-score and a Combined English/ Writing score. Visit ACT.org for detailed information about how your ACT essay will be scored.