The American College Testing, ACT, is a widely recognized standardized test that is utilized for college admission purposes throughout the United States. It is designed to measure a student’s general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. Generally, students take the ACT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities, including all Ivy Leagues, accept the results from the test when making decisions about admission. The ACT has seen an increase in the number of test takers recently and as of 2012, the number of students who took the ACT surpassed those who took the SAT. As the ACT has evolved through the years, so has the way to prepare for it, and Dolphin Academic Prep is committed to keeping up with new trends to ensure that each students’ test taking experience yields the maximum result.

How is the ACT scored?

Each of the four subject area score ranges from 1 to 36. The composite score is the average of all four subject test portions with 36 being the highest score a student can achieve. In addition, students taking the optional writing test receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 12, a combined English and writing score ranging from 1 to 36, and one to four comments on the essay from those who read and score it. The writing score does not affect the ACT composite score! Each multiple-choice question correctly answered on the ACT is worth one raw point; there is no penalty for incorrect answers. According to the ACT, 57% of students who retake the ACT improve their scores, 21% score the same, and 22% see their scores decrease.

What does it measure?

The ACT measures four subject areas: English, mathematics, science, and reading. The test is curriculum based and directly relates to the skills students have learned at school. The ACT consists of 215 multiple choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break; test-taking time alone is 2 hours and 55 minutes. There is also an optional writing component to the test, called the ACT Plus Writing, that measures the skill in planning and writing a short essay; it requires an additional 30 minutes to complete. Depending on the college, the optional writing portion is something that you may or may not have to take.

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ACT or SAT Pencils

Not sure if you should take the ACT or SAT?

Check out the article ACT vs SAT! Still confused?

More information

For information on the ACT Plan, please click on the link to be directed to the exam’s page.

When is the ACT offered?

Check to see when the ACT is being offered.