Standardised Tests

Know everything about ACT Test

What is ACT?

To get into colleges in the United States, students must take the ACT. ACT stands for American College Testing. The ACT, Inc. is responsible for administering the ACT tests. Students wishing to enroll in US and Canadian university's undergraduate programs must complete this standardized test. The ACT exam assesses a candidate's verbal, mathematical, writing, and scientific abilities. The ACT test covers the four academic ability areas of English, arithmetic, reading, and scientific thinking. Moreover, a direct writing test is available as an option.

The conventional paper-based ACT was replaced with a computer-based version in 2015. This modification affects the exam method; it does not impact the test's syllabus, final score, or multiple-choice forms. More than 225 universities outside of the United States and all four-year colleges and universities in the country recognize it.

Why should one take the ACT?

In fact, you may take both exams (ACT & SAT). This choice also improves your chances of achieving the excellent grades required for merit-based scholarships.

And, If you must pick, though, consider the following:

  • You have less time for each ACT question, but the questions are easier.
  • The ACT is typically more advantageous for quick readers who can easily solve many of the easier issues.
  • On the ACT, people who excel at interpreting charts and graphs and have a mastery of scientific language will have an advantage.
  • On the ACT, those who can swiftly recall the placement of information in the sections they read will have a significant edge.
  • There is only one math component on the ACT (approximately 25% of the overall score is dependent on math), and calculators are permitted.

Now, if the ACT seems like a suitable fit for you, there are a few things you should be aware of discussed in this article.

Let's look at the ACT Examination Pattern.

The ACT test has four components: English, Math, Reading, and Science.

Additionally, there is an optional portion called the Writing section, which has one writing prompt of 30 to 40 minutes that outlines a topic and asks for two points of view on it. This component is not scored for the student.

Who is eligible for the ACT?

As the ACT is primarily intended for high school students, there are no specific eligibility requirements. All age groups and grade levels are permitted to take the ACT.

Important Dates

The ACT exam is conducted between September and July. In contrast to the situation with other tests, you will not have the opportunity to choose a date suitable for you to take an exam.

You should register two to three months before your exam date. Early registration gives you a timetable to study for the exam.

How to register for the ACT

  • Create an ACT Web account to enroll yourself online.
  • Select a date and location for the test.
  • Create a student profile. Fill up the application and send it with all of the required documents.
  • You'll get a confirmation email right away.
  • Pay the exam fees.
  • In most cases, the registration deadline is three to four weeks before the exam date.
  • Late registration deadlines are usually two to three weeks before the exam date. There is a late registration fee for that 

ACT Fee.

ACT Score Validity

The ACT total score is valid for five years following the year you took the exam.

Scoring in ACT

The ACT is assessed on a scale of 1 to 36 points for each section. All four tests are averaged to produce the composite score. Students who want to take the optional writing test will be given a writing score ranging from 1 to 36. Even yet, the writing score has no impact on the final score.

What is the average ACT score? Or How does your ACT score compare to the national average? 

The ACT reported that the national average composite score was 20.7. Average scores can be a good starting point if you want to see how you compare to others. However, it's usually better to look at the schools you want to attend to see their average scores, their Minimum for attendance (usually a 20 at most public universities), and the scores that receive merit scholarships.


What Matters More: My ACT Score or My GPA?

When reviewing a student's application for college admission, admissions committees look at a wide variety of criteria. Even while the ACT is a very significant test, it cannot tell colleges and universities everything they need to know about the sort of student and person you are on your own.

On the other hand, the ACT is highly sought after by admissions committees since it helps them determine how well prepared they are for college. Students are judged more "fairly" based on their performance on the ACT since it is a nationally administered test. In contrast, the state high school curriculum may differ.

ACT Results

The ACT exam scores are normally available online within eight weeks following the test. If you appeared for the ACT with writing, your writing scores would be available online about two weeks following the general scores.

Is it possible for a candidate to retake the ACT?

You are permitted to take the ACT a maximum of twelve times. To get the top possible score on the exam, many students take it not once but twice or even thrice before they enroll in the university.

So, finally, what is a good ACT score?

Now, we will analyze what constitutes a good composite ACT score.

A score can vary anywhere from 1 to 36 in the ACT. You've probably already guessed that the greater your score, the better you did. But is a definite threshold determining whether or not an ACT score is considered "good"?

To address this question, it is vital to comprehend how ACT scores are calculated.

Your composite score, which ranges from 1-36, corresponds to a percentile that compares your performance to that of all ACT test-takers. A greater percentile indicates that your score is higher than that percentile. (Therefore, a score in the 75th percentile means that you performed better than 75 percent of students.)

The ACT score distribution follows a normal distribution. Most test-takers score somewhere between slightly below and slightly above the mean. Fewer test-takers obtain scores at the extremes of the scale.

The average score on the ACT is 20. If you scored 21, you performed better than fifty percent of test-takers. Depending on one's view, this is rather nice. A score of 24 ranks you in the 74th percentile, above 75 percent of test-takers.

A score of 16 places you in the 28th percentile, which means you, scored higher than around a quarter of test-takers. It is not a very impressive score. A score of 24 indicates that you performed better than around 74% of students.  A score of 28 places you in the top 88 percent of test-takers, while a score of 30 places you in the top 93 percent! A score of 34 or above is in the 99th percentile, which is an excellent mark. All composite scores in the range of 1-8 fall within the 1st percentile, whereas all in the range of 35-36 fall within the 99th percentile.

You can also notice that there aren't many people scoring towards the bottom and top of the scale because the percentile difference between scores is so small.

To summarize, compared to all test-takers:

  • ACT score < 16 is equal to the bottom 25%
  • ACT score of 21 implies you are right in the middle! (average score)
  • ACT score of 24+ means you are in the top 25%
  • ACT score of 29+ implies top 10%
  • ACT of 31+ comprises of top 5%
  • ACT score of 35+ implies top 1% of test-takers.

So, in a nutshell, 

What Kind of ACT Score Is Considered to Be Good for You?

Until this point, we've talked about how your score on the ACT stacks up against the scores of every candidate else who took the test. However, determining what constitutes a strong ACT score for you, specifically about the colleges you are willing to apply to, is essential. A score of 29 places you in the top 10 percent of test-takers. It is an excellent score for admission to colleges such as Texas A&M University, Penn State University, Virginia Tech University, and Baylor University. However, a score of 29 is considered relatively low when applying to highly prestigious schools like the Ivy League, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.

In comparison, a 29 would be an exceptionally high score for less selective institutions such as CSU Long Beach (average ACT score: 23), CSU Northridge (average ACT score: 19), and University of Southern Indiana (average ACT score: 23), (average ACT score 22). If they were your target scores, you wouldn't need a 29; a score slightly over average (in the range of 21 to 23) would suffice.

Therefore, what constitutes a high ACT score for one person may not be the same as what constitutes a good score for another. It mainly depends on the type of college one seeks admission to.

It is also important to note that the higher your results on standardized tests, the greater the chance you will be granted scholarships based on merit.

Another factor to consider is that a higher ACT score might be advantageous if your GPA is below what a school requires. (However, this won't assist you much if you're applying to a selective college; they expect candidates to have excellent grades overall.)

Remember that the most crucial factor in determining your good ACT scores is! You will not necessarily need the same grades as your peers and friends.