ACT Test

ACT Test


Who should take the ACT® Test?

Students applying to an undergraduate program at a university in the United States should take the ACT Test. Virtually every four-year college or university in the United States requires a standardized entrance exam as part of the admission process, and the ACT Test is accepted by all of them. The ACT Test is also recognized as an admission credential for international students at most prominent universities outside the United States. (including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia) that offer instruction in English.

Because the ACT Test is based on a core secondary school curriculum, certain U.S. colleges and universities that require or use scores from subject tests might fully or partially waive that requirement for students who submit ACT Test scores. We recommend you check directly with the colleges or universities that interest you to see if they offer this waiver.

How to register

Students visit, create their free ACT Web account, and follow the simple instructions to select a test date and testing location. You will need a valid bank card or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) to finalize your registration.

Check the calendar below or go to for test dates and fees.

2013-2014 Test Dates Registration Deadline
April 13 2013 March 8 2013
June 8 2013 May 3 2013
October 21 2013 September 2013
December 14 2013 November 2013
February 8 2014* January 2014

*The optional ACT Writing test is not offered on the February 2014 International test date.

The ACT Test consists of multiple-choice questions in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning, plus an optional Writing test that students need take only if required by the colleges or universities they are considering. The ACT Test directly measures student knowledge in the core curricular areas they are already being taught in school, so extensive outside test preparation is usually not necessary. ACT Test scores help colleges and universities make informed admissions decisions by providing one indicator of your academic readiness to do university-level work. The ACT Test score report also has free guidance components that help students select make informed decisions on universities and careers that fit with the student's needs and interests. You should remember that the ACT Test is just one of many factors that colleges and universities consider when making admission decisions.

What does the ACT Test cover?

The ACT Test consists of four multiple choice sections in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, plus an optional Writing section. Each multiple-choice section is scored on a scale of 1-36, as is the ACT Composite score (i.e., the score for all four multiple-choice sections). The optional Writing section is scored on a scale of 2-12.

The English section is a 75-question, 45-minute test, covering punctuation, grammar/usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style. It does not test vocabulary. The questions in this section refer to underlined portions of a passage and offer several alternatives to the underlined portion. It asks you to select the one that is most appropriate in the context of the passage.

The Mathematicssection is a 60-question, 60-minute test designed to measure the mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken by the end of 11th grade (middle year of Upper secondary.) It presents multiple-choice questions that require you to use reasoning skills to solve practical problems in mathematics. You need knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills to answer the problems, but you aren't required to know complex formulas and perform extensive computation. You may use an approved calculator.

The Reading section is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures your reading comprehension. You're asked to read four passages and answer questions that show your understanding of what is directly stated as well as statements with implied meanings. The test comprises four prose passages that are representative of the level and kind of reading required in first-year university courses; passages on topics in social studies, natural sciences, prose fiction, and the humanities are included. Each passage is accompanied by a set of multiple-choice test questions.

The Science Reasoning section is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures the skills required in the natural sciences: interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem solving. The test presents sets of scientific information, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions asking you to draw conclusions or make predictions based on the information provided.

The Writing section (optional) is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing skills - specifically those writing skills emphasized in secondary ("high") school English classes and in entry-level university composition courses. It consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue. You are asked to respond to a question about your position on the issue described in the writing prompt. In doing so, you may adopt one or the other of the perspectives described in the prompt, or you may present a different point of view on the issue.

How long is the ACT Test?

Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes. Accounting for administration instructions and breaks, you should plan to be at the test center for just over 4 hours. Students also taking the optional Writing section will be there an additional 30 minutes.

How should you get ready for the ACT Test?

Since the ACT Test is a curriculum test, the best way prepare ready for it is to take challenging courses, pay attention in class, and learn the material. You should also obtain a free copy of the 80‑page Preparing for the ACT booklet, which contains valuable information on the various test sections, tips and strategies for doing your best on the ACT Test, what to expect on test day, and real, full-length practice tests. You can usually get this publication for free at your local EducationUSA Advising Center or sometimes at local secondary schools. Sample ACT Test questions and other test prep resources are available for free online at

If you want more practice, you can also purchase a one‑year license to the ACT Online Prep™ or purchase a copy of The Real ACT Prep Guide. The book is available for sale online and in bookstores in most countries.

Students can also access the "ACT Question of the Day" by going to

Educational Opportunity Service

Educational Opportunity Service (EOS) is a free information service for students who take the ACT Test. By participating in EOS, you can let colleges, universities, and scholarship programs know you are interested in hearing from them. EOS also enables you to receive educational and financial aid information from colleges, universities, and scholarship programs.

To participate, indicate "yes" to EOS each time you register to take the ACT Test.

College and Career Planning, Financial Aid, and More!

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By ACT, Inc.
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