College ACT Exam

Can You Afford to Miss the ACT?

Most colleges and universities in the US require that prospective candidates submit their ACT or equivalent college entrance test scores along with their college application. Thus, if you are seeking college admission in the United States, ACT is an important examination. By measuring the prospective candidates' academic achievements at high-school level, the college ACT exam provides colleges with an objective way to compare prospective candidates. Read on to understand why you cannot afford to miss the college ACT exam.

What is ACT?

Developed and owned by ACT Inc., a US-based organization working in the areas of education and human resource development, the ACT is one of the widely accepted, college entrance tests available today. Though initially recognized as the American College Testing program only, today ACT (pronounced 'ey-see-tee') also acts as a career planning tool. Here are some important facts about the college ACT exam:

  • The ACT exam contains four mandatory, and one optional assessment, sections:
    • English
    • Science
    • Mathematics
    • Reading
    • Writing (optional)
  • The test sections are curriculum-based and measure your skills and academic cognition achieved through high school program for college-level studies.
  • All four-year colleges and universities in the United States accept ACT scores for their admission procedures.
  • The college ACT exam is administered on six test dates within the US and Canada. You may also take the test at international test locations. The test is conducted internationally on five test dates. You can find the national test dates, international test dates, and test centers online at the official ACT website: (,
  • Online registration is the fastest way to register for ACT ( You may also register by mail ( Early registration is always recommended.
  • The test scores are used by many scholarship agencies, in addition to colleges and universities.
  • The ACT scores are available online, usually within two and a half weeks of the test dates. Score reporting might take a little longer, and is generally done within 3-8 weeks for the No Writing test and within 5 -8 weeks for the ACT Plus Writing test.
  • You may retake the ACT test, if required. The test can be taken up to 12 times in total.

For more information about the college ACT exam, check the official ACT website (;

ACT Mandatory Test Sections and Question Types

The four mandatory sections in the college ACT exam ensure that your academic growth is measured in the core areas as required for success in college-level studies. The sections and the question types are listed below:

  • English: The English section includes 75 multiple-choice questions to evaluate your skills in standard English usage and rhetoric. The questions are distributed among grammar usage, punctuation, sentence structure, style, and organization areas.
  • Science: The Science section of ACT measures your skills at analysis, interpretation, reasoning and evaluation, and problem-solving as required for natural science topics. There are 40 multiple-choice questions included from data representation, conflicting perspectives, and research summaries.
  • Mathematics: The 60 multiple-choice questions included in this section are from pre-, elementary, and intermediate Algebra; coordinate and plane Geometry; and Trigonometry topics.
  • Reading: The Reading section of the test measures your skills in reading comprehension. 40 multiple-choice questions are included in this section from different disciplines like Prose fiction, Social Studies, Natural Sciences, and Humanities.
  • For more information on the content areas, visit the official ACT website: (

The Writing Section and the Question Types

While the four multiple-choice sections are mandatory for all ACT aspirants, you need to take the Writing section only if it is required by the college or university to which you are applying. With the optional Writing section, the college ACT exam is known as ACT Plus Writing.

  • The Writing section measures your writing skills as focused at high-school level and as required for college-level courses.
  • In the Writing section, you need to provide a descriptive answer in response to a given writing prompt. Generally, the writing prompt discusses an issue in two conflicting viewpoints. You are required to provide your position in the answer essay - you may adopt either of the given perspectives or present another one of your own.
  • The viewpoints you take while answering the essay are not considered while evaluating your response.

For further details about ACT Plus Writing and question samples, visit the official ACT website (;

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