We have the answers to your questions about the content, structure and the types of
questions you'll see on the ACT, as well as the costs and when to take the exam. Applying
to college is the next logical step and we have many resources to help you begin the
Common Questions about the ACT
What is 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.
When is the ACT exam offered?
The ACT exam is administered between September and June each year and is a paper based
Who should take the ACT?
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 junior or senior 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.
What sections are covered on the test?
There are four sections and an optional writing test:
English (75 questions for 45 minutes) - Measures standard written english and rhetorical
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.
How much does it cost?
The fee for the test is $56.50 with the writing test and $39.50 without the writing
test. Please note that the price changes frequently. Late registration and to change
your test date costs between $24-$25.
Fee waivers are available. Check with your high school guidance counselor for more
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.
What is a good score?
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
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
How do I contact the ACT ?
You can contact ACT at 319-337-1270 or visit their ACT website.
Can I retake the ACT?
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.
Can I take a practice test?
Practice tests and materials are available free on the ACT website.
ACT makes arrangements for test takers that need special accommodations. However,
you must submit an Accommodations Request Form. Visit the ACT website for information
about requesting accommodations and special testing centers.