What is the ACT (American College Test)


Nearly every college in Midwestern and Southern United States accepts the ACT as a part of its admissions process. That's why nearly 1.8 million students take the ACT every year!

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. Plus a 30-minute Writing test if you choose to write the ACT Plus Writing test.

ACT results are accepted by all colleges and universities in the United States.



The ACT test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.

  • The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science.
  • The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

NOTE: Although the writing section is optional, several schools do require an essay score and will factor it in to the admissions decision.

The required portion of the ACT is divided into four multiple choice subject tests: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Subject test scores range from 1 to 36; all scores are natural numbers. The English, mathematics, and reading tests also have subscores ranging from 1 to 18. (The subject score is not the sum of the subscores.) The "composite score" is the average of all four tests. In addition, students taking the writing test receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 12, a "combined English/writing score" ranging from 1 to 36 (based on the writing score and English score), and one to four comments on the essay from the essay scorers. The writing score does not affect the composite score. Sometimes the test includes an experimental section that may be a short version of any of the four major sections.