Wednesday, December 13

What is the ACT?

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What is the ACT? Well before taking any test, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about it.  Whether you decide to take the SAT, the ACT, or both exams, you should have all the information available about the test in order to approach it confidently.  Here are six important questions about the ACT exam, and their answers.
1. How often is the test administered?

The ACT exam is administered six times each year.  An individual may take it more than once if he or she desires.  This test is administered every September, October, December, February, April, and June.  It’s a good idea to schedule two sessions; that way if your score is below what you’d like, you can take it again several months later after studying or hiring a tutor for help.
2. How long is the test?

The ACT exam is three and a half hours including the essay portion of the test.  It’s a good idea to take several practice tests to prepare yourself for the duration.  The more experience you have sitting and focusing for three and a half hours at a time, the better!
3. What is the highest score?

The highest achievable score for the ACT exam is 36.  The average score is 21.  Before signing up to take the ACT exam, it’s a good idea to check the average scores accepted at the universities and colleges you’re interested in applying to—that way, you’ll know the score you need to achieve in order to be accepted, as well as the score the university or college is looking for in order to award scholarships.
4. What does the ACT test?

The ACT exam tests four subject areas: English, Reading, Math, and Science.  It also offers an optional writing test.  It’s important to know if the colleges and universities you’re applying to require the writing portion—not every college or university does.
5. How is the ACT scored?

Each section is worth 36 points.  The final act score exists as a composite of the four scores.  If you take the optional writing test, the ACT will report a subscore for the writing section and a combined English/writing score.
6. When should a student register to take this exam?

Just like many students take the PSAT, it’s a good idea to sign up for two test dates.  Many students take their first ACT exam in the spring of their junior year and then again in the fall of their senior year.  This way, if a student is unsatisfied with one or more of their scores in any of the four areas tested, he or she will have ample time to take a prep course, or hire a tutor to work on improving the next test’s score.
Knowledge is half the battle!  Now that you know a bit more about the ACT exam, it’s time to conduct a bit of research to discover if the college or universities you’re interested in attending require or highly recommend taking this test.  If they do recommend taking the ACT, make sure you know what score they prefer potential students to earn on the test.

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