Each subtest is scored on a scale from 1-36. The final or composite score is the average of the scores learned on each of the subtests.
Common Questions about the ACT
The ACT exam measures a student's achievement in core academic areas important for success. It is a college admission exam that tests students on areas they learned in school including English, reading, mathematics, science, and writing (optional).
The exam is a paper based test that consists of four (40-60 minute) sections of multiple-choice questions in English, reading, mathematics, and science, and an optional writing test. Visit the ACT website for more information.
The ACT exam is administered at different times throughout the year. Please visit exam dates or view the SAT Exam Dates listed on the right.
The ACT is recommended and required by many 2-year and 4-year colleges, universities, and technical schools. Check with the colleges you are interested in attending to see if they require the test and ask them for the average test score. Any current high school student or high school/GED graduate who is considering enrolling in college can take the ACT exam. Some middle school students may also take the ACT for admission into specialized gifted and talented and academic programs.
There are four sections and an optional writing test:
- English (75 questions for 45 minutes) - Measures standard written english and rhetorical skills.
- Mathematics (60 questions for 60 minutes) - Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12.
- Reading (40 questions in 35 minutes) - Measures reading.
- Science (40 questions in 35 minutes) - Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in natural sciences.
- Optional Writing Test (1 question in 40 minutes) - Measures writing skills learned in high school English classes and entry-level college composition courses.
The fee for the test is $77.00 with the writing test and $55.00 without the writing test. Please note that the price changes frequently. Late registration and to change your test date costs between $24-$35.
Fee waivers are available. Check with your high school guidance counselor for more information. Each subtest is scored on a scale from 1-36. The final or composite score is the average of the scores learned on each of the subtests.
Visit the ACT website for cancellation and other fees.
The average score on the ACT is about 21 points with a standard deviation of about 5 points. For example, scoring 26 points is an 80th+ percentile score which means correctly answering 75 percent of the questions. 31 points is a 91th+ percentile score, etc.
A good score depends on the college you are interested in attending and their requirements. Each college is different and you should check with them to determine their average scores.
You can contact ACT at 319-337-1270 or visit their ACT website.
Yes, you can take the ACT up to 12 times. It is recommended that students take it twice, once as a junior and again as a senior. You do have the opportunity to determine which set of scores is sent to the colleges. ACT will only release the scores from the test date and test location you choose. You may not combine scores from different test dates for a new composite score.
Practice tests and materials are available free on the ACT website.
Register online for the exam via the ACT website.
If you are considering applying to the University of South Carolina, we offer a wide range of bachelor degree programs. Here are resources you need to help make your decision.
Apply to UofSC
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Finance Your Education
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Explore Career Options
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Preparing for the ACT is a great first step towards college. If at any time you have questions or need more information, you can ask an expert.