About the ACT Test: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many universities have made the ACT test-optional, either temporarily or permanently. Because of this, you’re thinking if you should still take the test. On the other hand, what should you do if you decide to take it?

The following information can help you better understand the test. College admissions are heavily dependent on standardized test scores. However, they can do much more than that, such as secure tens of thousands of dollars in financial aid or a job. More on that later.

ACT Test
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About the ACT Test

The ACT is a standardized test that measures high school students’ college readiness. It’s usually taken in high school, and it tests skills that are very important for doing well in college.

Multiple-choice questions in English, mathematics, reading, and science are included in the ACT; a writing examination is also available as an additional option. It takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete the four main sections and 3 hours and 35 minutes to complete the writing portion of the test.

Each of the four sections of the ACT is graded on a scale of 1 to 36, with 1 being the lowest and 36 being the highest; the composite ACT score is the average of these four sections. In most cases, when someone asks about your score, they are referring to your aggregate ACT score. The composite score falls between 1 and 36.

English, mathematics, and reading subscores can range from 1 to 18. These scores give you more information about your performance, but they aren’t used by colleges or universities in the admissions process.

The writing section of the ACT is an optional essay. If you take the writing test, you will receive a writing test subscore and a combined English/writing score.

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ACT Test Vs. SAT: How to Choose the Right Test

In spite of the fact that the SAT and ACT are both standardized tests, they are diverse in their ability to measure a student’s preparation for college. The SAT and ACT have been in a constant state of competition for decades.

The SAT is a test of aptitude for learning, whereas the ACT is a test of academic preparation and achievement. Both of these tests have evolved over time.

Which test should you take if both are equally difficult? Determine where your inherent talents lie first. The ACT test is preferred by students who appreciate writing, literature and speaking in public. On the other hand, the SAT is preferred by those who are more interested in mathematics.

It’s quite fine to take both the SAT and ACT tests. You’ll have to prepare for both tests, but at least you’ll be able to submit your best one. Yet, note that universities prohibit students from taking the exam more than three times.

Why You Should Take This Test

There are many reasons to take the ACT:

  • The ACT is accepted as a college entrance exam by every college and university in the U.S., as well as by an additional 225 schools and universities across the world.
  • More than two million high school seniors took the ACT in 2016, making it the most popular standardized test for college admissions in the country.
  • There is a writing section on the ACT, but it isn’t required to get into college.
  • You’ll get noticed by scholarship agencies and colleges if you take the test.
  • It serves as a predictor of one’s college preparation.
  • It’s fine to guess because only the right responses are counted. There’s no penalty for guessing incorrectly, but if you do, your score won’t be affected.
  • The information provided in the score reports is clear and concise.
  • Along with assessing your college readiness, the ACT also includes sections on your personal profile and long-term educational and career goals.

ACT Test Dates in 2023

Knowing when the ACT will be offered is essential for creating an effective study strategy. Instead of registering for the next available test date, you should look for a time that works best for your schedule and your needs.

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In most cases, the ACT is administered on Saturdays, but religious exemptions or special administrations of the test may allow you to take the test on a different day.

ACT Test Dates
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The ACT has confirmed the following test dates, registration deadlines, and score distribution dates for 2023:

February 11, 2023

  • Normal Deadline: January 6, 2023
  • Late Deadline: January 20, 2023

April 15, 2023

  • Normal Deadline: March 10, 2023
  • Late Deadline: March 24, 2023

June 10, 2023

  • Normal Deadline: May 5, 2023
  • Late Deadline: May 19, 2023

July 15, 2023

  • Normal Deadline: June 16, 2023
  • Late Deadline: June 23, 2023

ACT Test Results

After you take the ACT, there’s still a lot of anticipation! You’ll have to wait for the results of your test. Despite the fact that the scores aren’t available instantly, you don’t have to wait too long to get your results or have them sent to universities.

A student’s ACT test results release date can range from a few days to a few weeks. Most students, however, will receive their multiple-choice exam scores within 10 days of taking the test. In most cases, scores are released on either Tuesday or Thursday. Early in the morning, Eastern Time, they’re usually out by 1 a.m.

A few weeks after your multiple-choice scores are released, your essay score will be added to the total. Your ACT score report won’t be sent to colleges until all of your scores are done and released, even if they come out in two parts: multiple choice and writing.

Average ACT Score

The ACT has a scoring range of 1–36 points. The better you did, as you might expect, the higher your score was. However, is there a definite threshold at which a “good” ACT score is defined?

An understanding of how ACT scores are calculated is necessary to provide an answer to this question. The percentile you fall into on the ACT is based on your overall composite score, which ranges from 1 to 36. The higher your percentile rank, the better your grades.

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There’s a normal distribution for ACT test scores. Most test-takers fall somewhere in the middle of this range, which indicates that student performance tends to be centered around this middle ground. Only a very small percentage of test-takers score at the extremes of the scale.

The average ACT score is 20. If you got a 21, you did better than half of the people who took the test. Depending on your point of view, that’s quite impressive. An overall score of 24 ranks you in the 74th percentile, which is better than three-quarters of all test participants.

MyACT: Student Portal to View and Print ACT Scores

MyACT is where you can get your student report online. If you registered for the tests online, you’ll log in using the same username and password. Your ACT results will be included in your student Report, as well as information about college and career options.

To check and print your ACT test, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go to https://my.act.org.
  2. Once you log in to your MyACT account, click on the “SCORES” link at the top of the page.
  3. Then, click on the date of the test. This will open the score report.
  4. Currently, a PDF version of the score report isn’t available in MyACT. However, you may print an unofficial copy of your ACT test score by using your browser’s print option. To do so, right-click anywhere there is a blank space on the screen and click “Print.”
  5. When the printer dialog box opens, you can print a hard copy for scanning.
  6. Alternatively, you can save it as a PDF to upload. To save as a PDF, select “Save as PDF” in the printer destination box. You can use sodaPDF to convert and save your document.

Final Words

While many students find the ACT challenging, it is still worth taking for many reasons. What’s next? If you decide this is the right test for you, you should start preparing yourself in advance.

However, if you’re pressed for time due to school work, a job, or extracurricular activities, it may be in your best interest to not take the ACT. In that case, you may want to check out test-optional colleges that don’t require the ACT.

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