ACT 2020

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ACT or American College Testing is a standardised test conducted to check preparedness of high school students for college admissions in US. The exam was introduced in 1959 as a competitor of SAT. All major universities in US which offers undergraduate admissions accepts both ACT and SAT scores.

  1. ACT Test is conducted 8 times in a year for national cities and 6 times for international cities
  2. There is no upper age limit criteria for ACT. Anyone above 13 years of age can apply for the exam
  3. It has four sections – English, Math, Reading and Science with Writing as an optional section.
  4. Each section is awarded on a range of 1 to 36 and final score is an average of all four sections. Writing test score is given separately

ACT Test Dates

The test dates are different for National and International students. Students are advised to apply 1 month prior to the test dates. Internationally the exam is conducted 6 times in a year while it is held 8 times in US and US territories, Canada and Puerto Rico.

ACT National Dates

National test dates are for students belonging to US and US territories, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Test DateRegistration Deadline(Late Fee Required)
8-Feb-2010-Jan-20January 11-17, 2020
4-Apr-2028-Feb-20February 29-March 13, 2020
13-Jun-208-May-20May 9-22, 2020
18-Jul-2019-Jun-20June 20-26, 2020
14-Sep-2016-Aug-20August 17-30, 2020
26-Oct-2027-Sep-20September 28-October 8, 2020
14-Dec-208-Nov-20November 9-22, 2020

ACT Test Dates in India

In India, ACT is conducted 6 times in a year. The test dates for current session are mentioned below:-

ACT Test DateACT Registration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline
February 8, 2020 January 10, 2020January 11-17, 2020
April 4, 2020February 28, 2020February 29- March 13, 2020

ACT Eligibility

  1. ACT Test can be attempted by any candidate irrespective of age and class
  2. Even students of grade 6, 7 and 8 can apply for the test
  3. The minimum age limit to apply for ACT is 13 years

ACT Exam: Registration

Students willing to appear for ACT exam will need the following in order to register successfully:

Basic Requirements:

  1. About 40 minutes
  2. Computer with a good Internet connection
  3. Debit/ Credit card/ Net Banking etc.

Personal & Academic Requirements

  1. High School Course details
  2. Parent Email Address
  3. Photograph (Headshot) Check ACT Photo Requirements  

Technical Requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, or 8) Mac OS (10.5 or higher)
  2. Browsers: Internet Explorer (version 8 or higher), Chrome (version 18 or higher), Firefox (version 7 or higher), Safari (version 5 or higher)

ACT Exam Fees

February 2020 Session: The last date to apply online is January 17. Registrants are notified that all the fees are non-refundable unless otherwise noted.

Given below is the fee for ACT as per the paper type opted:

Exam TypeFee ($)Details
ACT (no writing)50.5Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges (if codes are provided when you register).
ACT (with writing)$67.00 Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges (if codes are provided when you register).
Test option Change$16.50 The writing test fee is refundable on written request if you are absent on the test day or switch to ACT (no writing) before testing commences.

ACT Preparation

ACT has release free 6 practice tests on the official website. One test can be attempted online other 5 are in pdf form.

  1. You can also purchase ACT review guide which contains live lectures, available at the official website
  2. Join ACT Academy- Students can also join ACT academy at ACT official website. It is free of cost

Difference between ACT and SAT

Students who wish to enroll in any of the colleges in the States must clear ACT or SAT exams. Both of these exams follows the same pa. They are nationally recognised standardized test, that measures students’ proficiency in various critical skills areas like problem-solving and reading comprehension – that are necessary for college success.

Despite all of these similarities, there are still many ways in which both the exams differ from each other. For one, the SAT is overall slightly longer than ACT. Additionally, the number of questions and time limits are different for corresponding sections.

Given below is the difference between the top most proficiency tests in the USA:

Total Time2 hrs 55 mins w/o Writing 3 hrs 35 mins with Writing3 hrs w/o Essay 3 hrs 50 mins with Essay
Order of Sections1. English 2. Math 3. Reading 4. Science 5. Writing (optional)1. Reading 2. Writing and Language 3. Math No Calculator 4. Math Calculator 5. Essay (optional)
Time Per SectionEnglish: 45 mins Math: 60 mins Reading: 35 mins Science: 35 mins Writing (optional): 40 minsReading: 65 mins Writing & Language: 35 mins Math No Calculator: 25 mins Math Calculator: 55 mins Essay (optional): 50 mins
No. of QuestionsEnglish: 75 questions Math: 60 questions Reading: 40 questions Science: 40 questions Writing (optional): 1 essayReading: 52 questions Writing and Language: 44 questions Math No Calculator: 20 questions Math Calculator: 38 questions Essay (optional): 1 essay
ScoringTotal score range: 1-36 Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score is the average of your four section scores. The optional Writing section uses a scale of 2 -12 and does not count toward your final score.Total score range: 400-1600 The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score. The optional Essay uses three separate scales of 1 - 8 and does not count toward your final score.
Who Accepts Scores?Accepted by all colleges and universities in the USAccepted by all colleges and universities in the US

What is a Good Score in ACT?

Top ScoresCompetitive ScoresGood ScoresBelow Average Scores
English29-3624-2820-2319 or lower
Maths28-3624-2720-2319 or lower
Reading30-3625-2921-2820 or lower
Science27-3624-2621-2520 or lower

ACT Test Day Instructions

Test takers should go through test day instructions provided on the official website under “test day tab”

  1. Printed Copy of ticket
  2. 1 photo Id proof (Meeting ACT guidelines)
  3. Sharpened soft lead Number 2 pencils. No other writing instruments are allowed
  4. A watch without any alarm can be brought in test center premises
  5. For mathematics test you can bring a calculator (Read specifications for Calculator)

Items prohibited at the test center

  1. Tobacco in any form
  2. Electronic device except calculator
  3. Pen, Highlighters etc
  4. Textbooks, reading materials

Short Articles that can be Created

  1. ACT test for different countries
  2. ACT guidelines of Id proof
  3. ACT review guide
  4. Dilemma Faced by students (Taking writing test)
  5. Scores- How scores are calculated

ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test used by most colleges and universities in The United States for making admission decisions. Students willing to apply into any US college are required to appear for ACT or SAT, an equivalent test. They can register for the test through online or offline mode. International (Non-US) students can register online only.

  1. The registration fee for US students is USD 50.50 for ACT without writing and USD 67 for ACT with Writing.
  2. International students need to pay USD 150 for with writing and USD 166.50 for without writing.
  3. Late registration fee for both international and domestic students is USD 30.

It is recommended to students to register early as it can get the aspirants exam day and center of their choice and also save from the late fees. Before moving to the registration process students can have a view at the available ACT 2020 Dates.

ACT Dates 2020

The ACT Test Dates varies for US and Non- US students. Below is the tabulated test dates for US and International test dates:

Dates for US

ACT Test DateACT Registration DeadlineLate RegistrationACT Score Release Date
February 8, 2020January 10, 2020January 11-17, 2020April 23 – June 7, 2020
April 4, 2020February 28, 2020February 29-March 13 , 2020June 18 – August 2, 2020
June 13, 2020May 8, 2020May 9-22, 2020July 23 – August 26, 2020
July 18, 2020June 19, 2020June 20-26, 2020September 24 – October 10, 2020
September 26, 2020August 16, 2020August 17-30, 2020November 12 – 26, 2020
October 26, 2020September 27, 2020 September 9-22, 2020December 24 – January 7, 2020.

ACT International Dates 2020

ACT Test DateACT Registration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline
February 8, 2020 January 10, 2020January 11-17, 2020
April 4, 2020February 28, 2020February 29- March 13, 2020

How to Register for The ACT?

High school students can register for ACT test by the following methods:

  1. Online Registration.

  2. Registration through Mail.
  3. Standby Admittance Registration.

Online Registration

Students will have to visit the official website for ACT registration –

Step 1 – Assemble Your Documents

  • The registration process will consume around an hour of time.
  • Keep all your documents handy to refer while putting information in the registration form.
  • The spellings and numeric data should be accurate.
  • The details that will be needed are name, communication address, email address, social security number, parents’ name, their emails, high school classes and grades, digital head shot and credit card for fee payment.

Step 2 – Visit the Official Website  

  • The official website for ACT Registration is
  • Students should use a laptop or computer with updated web browser such as Internet explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
  • It is not recommended to visit the website through a tablet or mobile phones.

Step 3 – ACT Account Creation 

  • Before registering, an ACT account has to be created by inputting your name, address, date of birth, social security number, email address followed by choosing a login Id and password.
  • Students are advised to note down their login ID and Password as it will be required to view the score or apply for an additional test.
  • This account will able you to register for the test, check and share your score to colleges as well. Without this account, registration process cannot be commenced.

Check ACT Pattern and Syllabus

Step 4 – Register for ACT

  1. Start registration process by Clicking on “Register to Test” which will take you to the first page of the registration form.
  2. It is the most vital page as in here you mention the details of your identity and communication.
  3. Make sure not to make any mistakes while filling this page.

Step 5 – Complete Your Profile

The conducting body of ACT needs to know about the exam takers and their demographical status to provide them with right suggestions of careers and majors.

Students can complete their profile by mentioning details of thier high school, educational and career plans and interests, financial aid needs and demographic background.

However, nearly all questions are optional in this section.

Step 6 – Select ACT Test Date

  1. Once you finish the profile section you will be directed to the test registration section.
  2. Students have to select the test date of their choice from the available schedule.
  3. While choosing the date students should keep in mind the weather, traffic rush, strikes or any other factor that can cause a difficulty for them.
  4. In this section you will be asked to mention your high school classes, grades and GPA.

Step 7 – Selection of Writing Section 

  1. ACT exam pattern includes four sections – English, Math, Reading and Science.
  2. Along with these four mandatory sections Writing test is an optional section.
  3. Its score is given separately. Students have to choose whether they want to opt the writing test as well or go for the conventional test only.
  4. It depends on what colleges are being sought by the student. Some colleges require the writing test as well while others don’t.
  5. You can check on the official website about these colleges. Those who want to apply for writing test have to click on “ACT Plus Writing”. 

Step 8 – Select the colleges to share your scores with

  1. Students can send their ACT score as and when released to four colleges of their choice before appearing for the test.
  2. Sending the scores to the colleges after taking the test will cost students USD 12 per college.
  3. Hence, it is advisable to students to list a maximum of 4 colleges in this section to save money.
  4. Sending scores to more than 4 colleges will again cost you USD 12 per college.
  5. However, you can send the scores any time by logging into your ACT account. 

Step 9 – Choose the ACT Test Center

  1. Although the test is held in the school itself but if the school is not conducting the test on the day of your choice you can pick any other test center near your locality.
  2. Students can enter their ZIP code in the form and can check available test centers with the number of vacant seats.
  3. While selecting the exam center students must review the location and atmosphere about the place.

Step 10 – Review the Form Once

  1. After filling all the details, students must recheck the form, it should be free from any error or misinformation.
  2. Post reviewing the form students can submit the form to move to the next step which is fee payment.

Step 11 – Payment of ACT Registration Fee

  1. After submitting the form, you will have to pay the application fee.
  2. Students will need a credit card to pay for the exam.
  3. As of 2019, ACT will cost you USD 50.50 for ACT without writing and USD 67 for ACT plus writing. 
  4. However, for Non – US students the no writing fees stands at USD 150 and with writing it is USD 166.50.
  5. There is a fee waiver available subject to the fulfillment of the eligibility criteria laid down by the conducting body.

Step 12 – Upload Your Photo

The final step before printing your ticket is uploading your photo of face and shoulders. The same photo will be printed on your hall ticked so that the invigilator can confirm your identity at the exam venue.

  1. The Photo should have a plain and light colored background with good lighting. You must not wear a cap/ hat/ sunglasses or head wears.

  2. The photo should be in a portrait mode and JPG, JPEG, PNG or BMP format. It must be 2” X 2” in physical and less than 5 MBs in digital size.

  3. However, you can upload your photo at a separate time but before the deadline. Failing to upload the photo before the deadline will lead to cancellation of registration.

You are done with the online registration process. Take a print of your ACT ticket and save it for further use. It must be carried by the students to their respective exam centers.

Mail – in Registration

Students who are unable to register through online mode and those who don’t have a credit card/ a fee waiver or are younger than 13 years of age can register by mail only. However, International students must register online only.

Step 1 – Request a Register- by- Mail Form

  1. Students will have to request a Register-by-Mail Form at their schools/colleges or career counsellor’s offices.
  2. If it is not available there, you can also request it online at

Step 2 – Fill the Form

  1. The Register-by-Mail Form is the same as online form.
  2. The same information that are asked in the online form has to be filled in this form.
  3. Fill the form with all the personal and academic details along with choice of test center, test date and choice of paper.
  4. Students will also have to submit a recent photograph of your face and shoulder or you can upload the photo online by logging into your account.
  5. However it is not mandatory to have an ACT account while filling the form offline but it is advisable to create an account even if you are registering through mail.

Step 3 – Mail the Physical form 

  1. The filled form should be sent at the specified address at least 10 days before the ACT deadline to avoid late fees as delivery of form will take time.
  2. Your hall ticket will be sent in the mail. If you have created your account you can access the ticket from there as well.

Standby Admittance Registration

Students who miss the deadlines or needs to sit for the test on an urgent basis can register for standby admittance.

Step 1 – Login in your ACT Account 

  1. Students need to register a week prior to the exam day and must have possessed a ticket to appear in the exam.
  2. In this mode of registration students are not guaranteed a seat but raises their chances of taking the exam.

Step 2 – Select a large Test Center 

Choosing a large testing center will increase your chances of getting a seat.

There are seats reserved for standby. So a large center will have a more number of seats.

Step 3 – Visit Test Center Early

  1. Students who arrive at the exam center early are more likely to get a seat.
  2. As test centers follow ‘First Come, First Serve’.
  3. Hence, it is advisable to students to arrive as earliest as possible to the exam center.

ACT Test Cost

The ACT cost varies for US and Non-US students and also choice of paper that is with or without writing section. As of 2019, the ACT cost is tabulated below:

Act CostUS Students (in USD)Non-US Students (in USD)
ACT without Writing50.5150
ACT with Writing67166.5
Late Registration3030
Test Date Change3030
Test Center Change3030

There is a fee waiver available for eligible students which can be availed by visiting the official website and apply for the aid.


American College Testing (ACT) is a systemized test to assess the preparedness of high school students for universities across US. It is held in US and around the globe by ACT, the conducting body of same name.

  1. It is a straightforward test, based on the syllabus and difficulty level of upto high school. Check ACT 2020 Registration
  2. It is a multiple choice question type test except the Writing section.
  3. The medium of exam is English only for Non – US countries as well.

Below is the comprehensive ACT exam pattern, scoring scheme and Syllabus.

ACT Pattern Highlights

ACT has 4 tests – English, Math, Reading and Science as mandatory. It offers Writing test as optional called ACT Plus Writing.

  1. Scores for the optional paper is awarded separately. Many colleges ask for the writing test which make is recommendable.
  2. Each section is graded on a scale of 1 to 36 and composite score is the aggregate of all 4 tests.
  3. Writing test is scored on a scale of 2 to 12 and it does not affect the average as it is awarded separately.
  4. No negative marking is there in the test for wrong answers.

Main points about the test is tabled below:

Content of the TestEnglish, Math, Reading and Science. Optional test – Writing.
Content of the Test English, Math, Reading and Science. Optional test – Writing.
Test OptionsOption 1 – ACT without Writing Option 2 – ACT Plus Writing
Duration of the test2 hours 55 minutes (40 minutes extra for writing paper)
Number of Questions 215 (plus 1 for Writing)
Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions
Negative Marking No Negative Marking

The total test duration of the test is 2 hours and 55 minutes while additional 40 minutes is given to the students who opt for writing test. There are 215 questions of all tests combined and 1 essay question is attempted by the students after finishing the MCQs questions. Subject-wise distribution of questions and duration is tabulated below: 

Name of the TestNo. of QuestionsDuration of TestType of Test
English7545 minutesMCQs – 4 choices
Mathematics 6060 minutesMCQs – 5 choices
Reading4035 minutesMCQs – 4 choices
Science4035 minutesMCQs – 4 choices
Writing1 essay40 minutes1 writing prompt

The students who are approved as disabled or with low English proficiency will be given 50% additional time to attempt each section. For English they will have 70 minutes, 90 minutes for Mathematics, and 55 minutes for Reading and Science each. These students if taking Writing test will have 60 minutes to finish it.

ACT Scoring Guide 2020

ACT, the conducting body of American College Testing converts the marks of the students for each correct answer into a scale of 1 – 36 to make sure that no one is being benefitted or harmed by the difficulty level of the tests on different dates as it is not feasible to set the question papers with exact same difficulty level.

For each subject your raw score are converted to a scale score of range 1 – 36. The scale score of 4 subjects is then aggregated and divided by 4 and rounded to the nearest whole number which gives you the ACT Composite Score.

Writing test is evaluated by two examiners on a scale of 1 – 6 based on 4 domains discussed below in the article. The final score is added and you are awarded on arrange of 2 – 12. This score is given separately so it does not affect the composite score. The scoring scheme is tabulated below:

Name of the TestScoring Scheme
Name of the TestScoring Scheme
English 1 – 36 marks
Mathematics1 – 36 marks
Reading1 – 36 marks
Science1 – 36 marks
Writing1 – 12 marks

There is no negative marking in the test for any subject.

ACT Syllabus 2020

ACT contains 4 tests – English, Reading, Mathematics and Science along with an optional Writing test. It examines your knowledge you gained during your schooling years since the syllabus is embodied with the topics taught in the high school. The difficulty level of questions asked is similar to that of senior secondary level.

Here is the Subject – wise descriptive syllabus:

ACT English Syllabus

In the English test, four or five passages and essays are given followed by questions based on them. The question will refer to a sentence/ stanza or paragraph given and offer 4 options to choose the correct one. Some question will also have the “No error” option. The test examines your editing, omitting, rephrasing and revising abilities.  The English test can be divided in three sections with specified weightage:

  1. Production of Writing (29 – 32%): This section tests your understanding of the purpose and focus on a piece of writing. It involves topic development, organizing and cohesion which means how well and correctly you understand the written part.
  2. Knowledge of Language (13 – 19%): This section will check your use of language and precise choice of words, style and tone.
  3. Conventions of Standard English (51 – 56%): This section check your command over sentence structure and formation, punctuation and usage of grammar and mechanics to edit texts.

ACT Reading Syllabus

In the Reading test, three long prose passages and two short prose passages will be given. The passages will have a relevant title, author and source and important background information as well so that student can have the idea about the purpose of the passages. The questions will not test the English proficiency of the students but their logical reasoning, understanding sequence of events, analyzing relationships and interpretation of text using evidences and significant details. The Reading test can be divided in three parts:

  1. Key Ideas and Details (55 – 60%): This section requires students to determine idea and theme of the text, summarize information accurately, analyze relationships and draw logical inferences, consequences and conclusions.
  2. Craft and Structure (25 – 30%): This sections asks you to understand what is in the author’s mind, why has he used these words to describe the person or situation or is he being sarcastic. Students will need to understand author’s purpose, perspective, point of view and choice of words based on the given information.
  3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (13 – 18%): This section will test you on how you differentiate between facts and opinions, use evidence to identify related and different texts and how the arguments and claims made using your reasoning.

ACT Math Syllabus

In the Mathematics test students will be given two types of grade 12 level questions – straightforward and complex. The former will test your knowledge of formulas, topics, concepts and theorems while the later will test your skills of solving complex problems, applying varied concepts understanding connections and demonstrating fluency. The Mathematics test can be divided in two sections:

  • Higher Mathematics (57 – 60%): This section contains the basic and straightforward topics which you have studied upto grade 12. The topics with approximate weightage are:
  1. Number and Quantity (7-10%): Real and complex number systems, numerical quantity reasoning, integers, rational exponents, vectors and matices.
  2. Algebra (12 – 15%): Linear, polynomial, radical, exponential relationships, graphs, multiple type of expressions and simple matrix equations.
  3. Functions (12 – 15%): Definitions, notations, representations and application, linear, radical, piecewise, polynomial and logarithmic functions along with graphical representations.
  4. Geometry (12 – 15%): Shapes, surface area, volume, missing values in triangles, circles, and other shapes, trigonometric ratios and equations of the conic sections.
  5. Statistics and Probability (8 – 12%): Data collection methods, bivariate data, probabilities, sample space and distributions.
  • Essential Skills (40 – 43%): This section includes the complex problems such as rates and percentages, proportional relationships, area, surface area, volume, average, median and expressing numbers in different ways. An important topic in this part is Modeling which is how to use modelling skills to solve mathematical topics.

ACT Science Syllabus

In the science test, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, interpretation and problem solving skills of the students is tested which is required in natural science. The questions will be based on actual scientific scenario from biology, chemistry, earth/space science, geology, astronomy, meteorology and physics. Only basics are required, no advance knowledge in required. The Science test is divided in three sections:

  1. Data Interpretation (45 -50%): This section involves manipulation and analysis scientific data, tables, graphs and diagrams.
  2. Scientific Investigation (20 – 30%): This section involves experimental tools, procedures, designs, controls, variables, comparisons, extensions and modification related to science.
  3. Experimental Models, Inferences and Results (25 – 35%): This section involves judgment of scientific information and formulate conclusions and predictions based on scientific phenomenon.

ACT Writing Syllabus

The writing test will check the writing skills of the students which is taught in high school. In this the students will be given any topic to write an essay on. Topic will be related to any complex issue of the society, political, social, legal or economical. The essay should require students to explain the issue, its causes, effects and solutions. The writing will be judged on the following domain:

  1. Ideas and Analysis: In this the ideas generating and engagement with the topic will be tested. Critical views on the issue, addressing the readers and audience are the key points of scoring.
  2. Development and Support: In this the way of presenting arguments, discussions, ideas are checked, how the writer illustrate through examples and establish implications and make the reader to think on the issue is tested.
  3. Organization: This domain test the capability of organizing the article in a manner to engage the audience, the series of facts, sequence of events and their relations and explanation.
  4. Language Use: The last factor tests the level of language used by the writer, clarity, words, grammar, style and tone to communicate effectively.


ACT score is accepted by US colleges and universities to grant admission to US and International students. The score of test takers is posted on the official website –

  1. It can be accessed through students’ ACT Web Account.
  2. It is released around two weeks after the test day.
  3. Writing test score is released separately and does not affect the composite score.
  4. The composite score ranges from 1 to 36.
  5. The average ACT score for 2017 and 2018 is 21 and 20.8 respectively.

A small variance in the score can vary the number of colleges offering admission and financial aid substantially. In this article, you will come across all the important points regarding ACT score.

ACT Scores Releasing Dates 2020

The test dates along with the expected score reporting dates for US and Non-US students are tabulated below:

US ACT Scoring Dates

National Test DatesACT Scores Dates (except Writing score)
8-Feb-20February 25-April 3, 2020
4-Apr-20April 14-May 29, 2020
13-Jun-20June 23-August 7, 2020

International ACT Scoring Dates

Non – US Test DatesACT Scores Dates (except Writing score)
February 7-8, 2020February 12, 2020
April 3-4, 2020 April 8, 2020

The dates are tentative and presumes that test was taken in computer based testing mode.

How to See ACT Score?

ACT scores are uploaded on the official website – once available. It will not be sent through email/mail/SMS/chat or fax. Nor any customer care executive can dictate the result on phone line. It can only be accessed through ACT account. Tests are examined and scores are added online every week.

  1. For US students, all test scores except writing score are generally available within two weeks from the day of test. However, it can take up to 8 weeks due to some events.
  2. For International students, tests scores is released within two working days if the test was taken through computer-based testing. If it was taken in pen and pencil mode then the scores are available from two to ten weeks after the test date.
  3. Writing score is made available nearly two weeks after the declaration of mandatory tests

Average ACT Scores

The average composite score along with average score of all tests including writing test from year 2015 – 2019 has been tabulated below. Students can also take a look at the trend of number of test takers over the years:

YearTest TakersEnglishMathReadingScienceWritingComposite score
20181,914,81720.220.521.320.8- **20.8

*Writing score for 2016 was ranked on a scale of 1 – 36.

**ACT has not released any information regarding 2018 writing test.

ACT Scoring - How is ACT Scored?

ACT scoring guide for multiple choice tests and writing test is different. For the former, it awards a raw score of 1 for one correct answer and no marks for wrong answer.

  1. For a test of 40 questions a highest raw score of 40 can be attained, similarly, a maximum raw score of 60 can be obtained in a 60 questions test.
  2. These raw scores from each test (except writing test) are converted to a scale of 1 – 36.
  3. It is done to nullify the effects of difficulty level variability across different test dates as it is not feasible to set question papers of exact same difficulty level.
  4. The composite score is the average of converted scaled scores of four tests rounded off to the nearest whole number.

The writing test is scored on a scale of 2 – 12. It is evaluated by two examiners on a scale of 1 – 6 on four domains – ideas and analysis, development and support, organization and language use and conventions.

  1. If there is a difference of more than one point between the two examiners awarded score than a third reader called to check the test and agree on a in between score.
  2. The final score for writing test is achieved by adding both evaluators’ awarded marks.
  3. Students’ English Reading and Writing scores are again converted on a scale to formulate his English Language Arts (ELA) score.
  4. ELA will not be generated for ACT without Writing aspirants.

Note: Opting for writing test does not affect students’ composite score. 

ACT Calculator Chart – Raw Score to Scale Score

Below table explains how English, Reading, Mathematics and Science raw scores are converted into a common scale score of 1 to 36:


ACT is a test which is accepted by US colleges and universities for admission process. Students must prepare well to get a school of their choice.

ACT has four mandatory papers namely English, Reading, Mathematics and Science and an optional Writing test. Since many colleges require the writing test as one of the eligibility for admission, most students prefer to opt for ACT plus writing option.

Students must start with their preparation from their classrooms itself because the test is based on syllabus of upto high school curriculum. Paying attention to the lectures and curriculum books can be very helpful to students to score good marks.

ACT Exam is held on multiple dates, students can shift their dates depending on their preparation level. Read further to get your hands on preparation tips for the test.

How to prepare for ACT?

ACT measures students’ knowledge accumulated during the schooling years. The syllabus includes the topics and concepts that are taught in high school. Difficulty level of the test is similar to that of grade 12. Students who have paid attention in their classroom and consistently score good marks in primary, upper primary and senior secondary classes can very easily score good marks in ACT test. The test does not measure aptitude or IQ of students, it only examines their readiness for college. It checks whether a student is thorough with the basic concepts from each subject required to join college. Below are the subject-wise preparation tips to score good marks in the test:

ACT Preparation Tips for English Test

The English test consists of 75 questions which has to be attempted in 45 minutes. It tests editing, rephrasing, sentence structure and formation, punctuation and usage of grammar, tone and style skills. Following are the preparation tips for English test:

Be aware of the writing style in each passage: Try to understand the best context of the paragraph before answering the questions. Make sure the preceding and succeeding sentences of the underlined phrase are making sense.

Focus on the underlined phrase: The question will refer to an underlined phrase, students must answer keeping in mind that particular sentence. Read the question twice or thrice to catch the error and correct it promptly.

Try “No Change” Option Once: Not every question has a mistake to be corrected, some of them are corrected and come with “NO change/NO Error” options. First check if the sentence really has a mistake then continue with finding the right answer.

ACT Preparation Tips for Reading Test

The Reading test consists of 40 questions which has to be attempted in 35 minutes. It tests reading, logical reasoning, interpreting and analyzing skills. Following are the preparation tips for the Reading test:

Go through the Questions First: Reading questions first before the article serves as a trick to save time. When you read paragraph knowing the questions, you catch the answer immediately. Otherwise you again have to read the paragraph in order to search for the answer.

Answer is hidden in the text: Students must know that in the reading test answer to all the questions can be found out from the text only. With little bit of smart work and logical reasoning and thorough reading of the text the question can be easily solved.

Read the text thoroughly: Since the question will be based on the text, one should read the paragraph very carefully. Understand and interpret the text in the best suited manner in order to come up with the answer.

Refer to the text while answering: Your final answer among the given options should be referred to the text only. The text should serve as an evidence for your answer. The other options can seem to be righteous but might not related to the text. 

ACT Preparation Tips for Mathematics Test

The Mathematics test consists of 60 questions which has to be attempted in 60 minutes. It tests mathematical knowledge taught upto grade 12 and complex problem solving ability of the students. Following are the preparation tips for the Reading test:

Use Permissible Calculator Wisely: Not all the questions in the math test require the use of calculator and some questions are best done without the help of it.

Don’t Jump to Answer: Sometimes the final answer is not one of the options but the intermediate step is the answer so it recommended to students to solve the question step by step and check for the correct option.

Answer should be reasonable: One of the issues in math test is that sometimes it not only check the mathematical knowledge of the students but also the rationality. For example the area of a square cannot be negative but equation can be given in such a manner that the answer comes in negative value which is not reasonable. Hence look for a genuine plausible answer.

Go Backwards: The shortest way to solve equations is to move backwards which means instead of solving the equation just put the given options one by one in the equation. The option that satisfy it is the correct answer.

Recheck the Answer: Once you reach the answer, put it in the question and recheck whether it satisfy the equation or not because many times possible wrong answers are given in the options which you might think is correct.

ACT Preparation Tips for Science

The Science test consists of 40 questions which has to be attempted in 35 minutes. It tests scientific interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem solving ability of the students. Following are the preparation tips for the Science test:

Read the Experiment: Before trying to solve the question, students should go through the given experiment or problem with all the given data and its experimental design, controls and variables. If you miss any point your answer can be wrong.

Don’t Miss Graphs and Figures: Science test is full of graphs, tables and figures. A picture of an eye or an amoeba can be given and you can be asked to identify its certain organ or nerve. Scientific table can be given with missing spot that has to be filled by students. So, focus on figures and tables as well for the test.

Analyze the Experiment: Students can be presented with an experiment that may have positive as well as negative externalities. You will be asked to evaluate it and make a decision if it should be sustained or banned.   

Know the formulas: Students must be familiar with formulas and theories used in physics and chemistry. Formulas of Gravitational mass, OHM’s law and PH values of substances should be memorized by students to score well in the test.

ACT Writing Test Preparation Tips

The writing test consists of one essay question on any social or general issue that has to be finished in 40 minutes. The students are judged on four domains – Ideas and analysis, Development and Support, Organization and Language use and Conventions. Following are the preparation tips for the Writing test:

Make a Format: The topic that is given in the test is generally a social, political, legal, economical, health or environmental issue that can be addressed by a high school student. So, to write on any issue the basic format can be in this form. First introduce the topic, tell its causes and effects and conclude it with a solution. Following this or any pre planned format will save your time.

Practice before hand: Before sitting for the test write a few article on common issues such as women empowerment, Child labor, Income inequality, global warming and so on. It will train your brain to find words and thoughts quickly and you will not feel short of words during the test.

Read before writing: The question can be of one word, like write on BREXIT or it can be a passage giving sufficient background knowledge about the issues and you may be asked to write either in favor/against of it. You may also be asked to write on a specific aspect, so make sure you go through the complete question before starting to write.

Proofread Your Article: Save enough time to proofread your article before submitting it. When we look for points we may skip the focus from using correct grammar. Since the article will be examined on four domains all should be kept in mind while writing.

CT Books and Study Material 2020

The best source of preparation for the test is your school curriculum books. Make sure you are thorough with all the concepts and topics that are in your high school books. The test is set from the same syllabus and difficulty level which makes it a must. Some other books for extra practice are given below for your reference:

ACT English Preparation Book

ACT Practice Tests Sample Papers

ACT Practice Tests are highly recommended for high school students. It gives you an idea about the exam pattern, type of questions, twisted problems, syllabus and difficulty level. Students can identify their weak and strong areas by practicing previous year question paper or sample papers and focus on the weaker areas. It helps them to evaluate their performance and preparedness for the test so they can make changes in their preparation plans and strategies. Here are a list of practice test for students to practice:

ACT Practice Test 1ACT Practice Test 2
ACT Practice Test 1Download
ACT Practice Test 2Download
ACT Practice Test 3Download

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