The ACT is a curriculum-based test on the knowledge a student accumulates in high school: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus an optional 30-minute Writing Test.
The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). (Many colleges, including the University of California, require the ACT Plus Writing test for students who plan to submit their ACT score to satisfy the examination requirement for college admission.)
A separate score is reported on a scale of 1-36 for each of the four subject area tests. (Your Writing test subscore will be included in your English score.) Your composite ACT score will be a number from 1-36, an average of your scores on all four tests.
The ACT is administered by ACT, Inc. It is offered each year in February, April, June, September, October, and December.
The ACT is administered on six test dates within the US, US territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada. In other locations, the ACT is administered on five test dates.
The basic registration fee includes score reports for up to four college choices, if you list valid codes when you register.
Registration deadlines tend to fall about five weeks before each test date, and you can register to take the ACT online.
The ACT tests are prepared according to the:
Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education (1999).
Code of Professional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement, National Council on Measurement in Education (1995).
Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education, Joint Committee on Testing Practices (2004).