About the ACT Test

The ACT (American College Testing) is a curriculum-based, standardized entrance exam that colleges and universities use to asses a student’s academic aptitude and readiness to enter college. Introduced in 1959, the ACT is accepted by most colleges and universities, however the weight placed on ACT scores varies from school to school.

Questions on the ACT are based on testing standards developed by national governing organizations, as well as national and state standards for education. The ACT measures a student’s skills in five subjects: English, mathematics, science, reading and writing (optional). Students typically take the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year.

ACT Format

The ACT is composed of four multiple-choice sections—English, Math, Reading, and Science—and one optional essay section—Writing. The test is given at set time periods during the year and must be scheduled in advance. Students are allotted approximately 3.5 hours for the standard exam and just over 4 hours for the ACT Plus which includes the essay writing portion.


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