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What is the ACT Test?

What is the ACT Test

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The ACT (American College Testing) test motivates students to perform to their best ability. Test scores reflect what students have learned throughout high school and provide colleges and universities with excellent information for recruiting, advising, placement, and retention.

It  is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by ACT, Inc.

What is the ACT Test?

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The purpose of the ACT:

The purpose of the ACT test is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important ACT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.

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Who Typically Takes the ACT ?

The ACT test is designed for the 10th, 11th, and/or 12th grade levels to provide schools and districts with the data necessary to position students for success after high school.

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ACT Sections:

There are four ACT sections:

  1. English
  2. Reading
  3. Math
  4. Science

The ACT English test puts an examinee in the position of a writer who makes decisions to revise and edit a text. Short texts and essays in different genres provide a variety of rhetorical situations. Passages are chosen for their appropriateness in assessing writing and language skills and to reflect students’ interests and experiences.

The ACT mathematics test assesses the skills students typically acquire in courses taken through grade 11. The material covered on the test emphasizes the major content areas that are prerequisites to successful performance in entry-level courses in college mathematics. Knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills are assumed as background for the problems, but recall of complex formulas and extensive computation are not required.

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The ACT reading test measures the ability to read closely, reason logically about texts using evidence, and integrate information from multiple sources. The test questions focus on the mutually supportive skills that readers must bring to bear in studying written materials across a range of subject areas. Specifically, questions will ask you to determine main ideas; locate and interpret significant details; understand sequences of events; make comparisons; comprehend cause-effect relationships; determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements; draw generalizations; analyze the author’s or narrator’s voice and method; analyze claims and evidence in arguments; and integrate information from multiple texts.

The ACT science test measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The test presents several authentic scientific scenarios, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions. The content of the test includes biology, chemistry, Earth/space sciences (e.g., geology, astronomy, and meteorology), and physics. The questions require you to recognize and understand the basic features of, and concepts related to, the provided information; to examine critically the relationship between the information provided and the conclusions drawn or hypotheses developed; and to generalize from given information to gain new information, draw conclusions, or make predictions.

What is the ACT Test?

The optional ACT writing test is an essay test that measures writing skills taught in high school English classes and entry level college composition courses. The test consists of one writing prompt that describes a complex issue and provides three different perspectives on the issue. You are asked to read the prompt and write an essay in which you develop your own perspective on the issue. Your essay must analyze the relationship between your own perspective and one or more other perspectives. You may adopt one of the perspectives given in the prompt as your own, or you may introduce one that is completely different from those given.

When should you take the ACT?

Most high school students take the ACT, SAT, or both during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. It’s important to leave time to re-take the test if you need to raise your score before you apply to college.

The ACT exam is offered nationally every year in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July. View all upcoming ACT test dates.

How long is the ACT?

The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long. If you choose to take the ACT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 35 minutes long.

How to register for the ACT?

Registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each ACT test date. You can get registration materials from your school counselor, or you can register online on the  ACT website.

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