The ACT is a college entrance exam administered by ACT, Inc. It consists of five sections: English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, and Writing.
Format and Content
1 It is NOT specifically designated how many questions will test each math topic, but the content tested is always the same. The primary topics tested are arithmetic, algebra I and II, geometry, and data analysis. Calculators are permitted.
2 Calculators are NOT permitted for the Science Reasoning section.
3 The essay portion of the exam is technically optional although some schools require it.
4 Multiple choice.
Total length with standard time
- 3 hours and 35 minutes with Writing
- 2 hours and 55 minutes without Writing
Total length with extended time
- 5 hours and 23 minutes with Writing
- 4 hours and 23 minutes without Writing
Students receive a score between 1 and 36 for each section other than the Writing section. The Writing section is scored out of 12. A composite score out of 36 is calculated by averaging the four section scores. There is NO wrong answer penalty on the ACT, so a student should never leave a question blank.
2020-2021 Testing Schedule
- February 6, 2021 (registration deadline is 1/19/21)
- April 17, 2021 (registration deadline is 3/12/21)
- June 12, 2021 (registration deadline is 5/7/21)
- July 17, 2021 (registration deadline is 6/18/21) [This date is not available in NY.]
- Registration without Writing Section: $55
- Registration with Writing Section: $70
- Late Registration: $35
- Change Fee: $35
The ACT, like the SAT, has a score choice option that allows a student to take the test multiple times without having to worry about colleges seeing all their results. Instead, they can select which test dates they want sent to schools.
A student CANNOT, however, select from within a test date certain section scores to send. For instance, they cannot send ONLY a math score from a certain test date.
Different schools have different policies in regards to score choice. Students should check the specific requirements for each of their preferred schools.