ACT: Test Logistics

The ACT is a standardized test, like the SAT, that high school students take for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. All four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept the ACT.

Duration: 3 hours and 35 minutes with Writing Test (2 hours and 55 minutes without)

Scoring scale: 1-36

  • Each multiple-choice section receives a score from 1-36
  • Your composite (total) score is the average of those 4 scores
  • 90th percentile: 28

Four Multiple-Choice Sections:

  • English: 45 minutes and 75 questions
  • Math: 60 minutes and 60 questions
  • Reading: 35 minutes and 40 questions
  • Science: 35 minutes and 40 questions

Notes on the Math Section

  • Figures are not drawn to scale unless specifically stated

The Optional Writing Test

  • 40 minutes, 1 prompt
  • Scoring on the Writing Test:
    • Writing test receives 4 subscores (ranging from 2-12 each),
    • A combined writing score (1-36), and
    • Comments on your essay

Registration, Cancellation, and Rescheduling

  • 6 test dates per year in the U.S.
  • Registration fees: $39.50 (no writing), $56.50 (with writing)
  • Limited Fee Waivers available based on financial eligibility
  • Standby testing option ($49 fee) if you miss the deadline to register
  • Fees are generally nonrefundable
  • $24-25 late registration or test date change

Test Day

  • Test start time listed on admission ticket (usually 8:00 AM)
  • Be sure to bring:
    • Photo ID
    • ACT admission or standby ticket with your photo printed on it
    • No. 2 pencils with erasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens)
  • You may choose to bring
    • Calculator (permitted on the Math Section only, devices with Computer Algebra System Functionality are prohibited)
    • A watch to pace yourself (be sure the alarm is disabled!)
    • Snacks and drinks (not permitted inside the test room)

Sending Scores

  • Your registration fee includes score reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges (must provide codes when you register)
  • Additional score reports: $12 each
  • Scores reported 2-8 weeks after test date (5-8 weeks for ACT with writing)


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